Are Soundscapes the Key to Better Sound Management in New Orleans?

Last December, David Woolworth of Roland, Woolworth & Associates organized “A Workshop on Sound for New Orleans.” The city hired Woolworth as an acoustic expert when City Council considered updating the noise ordinance in 2014. A soundwalk he led on Bourbon Street late one afternoon illustrated the simplistic nature of the proposed solution as many Bourbon Street venues violated the proposed decibel threshhold before the crowd arrived and the street got genuinely loud.

The Sound of Smoking

When Jimmy Anselmo wanted a liquor license so that the new owners could open Jimmy’s Music Club, they had to sign a good neighbor agreement that was designed to minimize noise. “The club's patio, which must close earlier than the rest of the club, cannot have speakers, and alcohol cannot be served on the patio,” Keith Spera reported in The Times-Picayune.

Current Noise Ordinance Withdrawn, to be Refocused

[Updated] The controversial sound ordinance that was introduced to City Council December 19 was slated for public debate tomorrow before the Housing and Human Needs Committee. Opponents feared that the lower decibel levels that it proposed, along with the further sound reduction that would have accompanied changes in where and how sound was measured, would harm the New Orleans music community. 

Bourbon Street Wants to Lead the Noise Fight?

The revised sound ordinance will be discussed by City Council’s Housing and Human Needs Committee Friday at noon in Council Chambers at City Hall, so everybody’s doing what they can to pre-tilt the scales. The most ironic effort comes from a coalition of Bourbon Street and French Quarter business owners, who sent a letter to Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell last week asking her to oppose the revised ordinance. It says in part:

No Go?

Recently, Dennis Persica wrote at The New Orleans Advocate:

Despite all of the recent public fretting, the go-cup is not being killed off. It’s only being regulated — regulated a lot more than, say, guns or campaign contributions.

The Sound of Science

David Woolworth is quick to point out that his work is contributing to a "sound ordinance," not a noise ordinance. "There’s sound and unwanted sound, which some would consider noise," he said in an interview Monday. "The same thing you might like, somebody else might not like."

Treme: An Inside Job

[Spoilers abound] Early in this week's episode of Treme, Davis (Steve Zahn) shows tourists the battered, neglected remains of Perseverance Hall, a venue where Buddy Bolden once played. That structure is contrasted later with the clean, white architectural models for the jazz center project designed for the Memorial Auditorium. The meaningful difference between the two - people saw how money could be made off the latter. 

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