As Gambit first reported March 15, the New Orleans City Council will once again tackle the noise ordinance, after two years of planning and public meetings failed to get the votes last year for new laws regulating noise in the French Quarter. This time, District C Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey — who replaced Kristin Gisleson Palmer as the council member representing the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny — has introduced an ordinance that largely picks up where the council had left off, with some tweaks.
"We will work with the French Quarter residents, musicians, business owners, other interested citizens and organizations like the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans (MACCNO) in hopes of facilitating a consensus," Ramsey wrote in an email to Gambit last week, adding, "I do not anticipate a specific time line for consideration of this proposal."
As written, the measure covers Bourbon Street and parts of Decatur Street. Unlike its previous incarnation, enforcement would fall to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) as well as the city's Health Department.
NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble told Gambit the department supports making the Health Department the ordinance's enforcement agency. Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration — which was not consulted for Ramsey's noise ordinance draft — has said the Health Department should be responsible for noise issues, citing manpower constraints at NOPD.
In 2014, the measure's undoing was an amendment to repeal a curfew for street musicians, as it does not equally apply to anyone making noise on the streets. The City Council debated the issue but ultimately decided there needed to be more discussion before a final vote. The Landrieu administration agreed not to enforce the curfew, though it remains on the books. Landrieu press secretary Brad Howard told Gambit, "It is essential that whatever is adopted repeals the unconstitutional curfew for street musicians, which was a core objective of our past efforts."