The City Council has worked for five years to improve the city's sound ordinances. The lack of enforcement over time and of enforceable laws negatively impacts the quality of life in neighborhoods citywide and the health of musicians and employees, and also stymies development. At times, new businesses hoping to open music venues are subjected to onerous requirements through provisos or other means in order to assuage neighbors' reasonable fears that government will not enforce nuisance laws should those new businesses operate in a harmful manner.
In the fall of 2011, Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer engaged acoustician David Woolworth to conduct a thoughtful and comprehensive study of New Orleans sound ordinances and to work with many interest groups to propose rational changes in the City's laws. This resulted in a comprehensive report, which was released to the public in August 2013. It is now time to take the action step of turning this work into law. In December 2013, Councilmember Head drafted and the Council introduced a narrow amendment to the city's sound ordinance to focus on a subset of noise issues (brick and mortar structures), place the measurement location at the property line of emanation, and provide sound level allowances depending on area zoning classification. We'd like to thank the neighborhood groups, musicians, and citizens who helped us get to this point.
There has been much public consternation over the perceived intent and impact of the ordinance, and fear that the hard work and recommendations of the many constituency groups with Mr. Woolworth were not followed. In order to allay those fears, Mr. Woolworth has suggested, and we agree, that an even more limited focus on VCE only is appropriate. Mr. Woolworth and Councilmember Gisleson Palmer in particular, have worked closely with the French Quarter Management District to craft recommendations tailored to the VCE district.
The Alliance for Good Government, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the Forum for Equality and the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee added their endorsement to the re-election campaign for Councilwoman-at-Large Stacy Head.
Ms. Head has also been endorsed by the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, Greater New Orleans Republicans, Regular Democratic Organization (RDO), Black Organization for Leadership Development (BOLD), Cab Drivers for Justice/Local 234, and neighborhood civic groups IDEA, SOUL and LAVA.
Early voting for the Feb. 1 primary starts this Saturday at City Hall and satellite locations in Lakeview, east New Orleans and Algiers. For more information, contact the Stacy Head Headquarters at (504) 345-9183.