Saturday, March 14, 2015


Nadine Ramsey is reintroducing the noise ordinance.
As written, Ramsey's ordinance leaves enforcement under the New Orlean Health Department and New Orleans Police Department (rather than hand it over completely to the health department, which Palmer had proposed). Both departments would be responsible for noise monitoring, reviewing permits and handing out violations.

Ramsey's ordinance also does not remove the current law's curfew in place for street musicians, which Palmer and others called unconstitutional, as it is not equally applied to all people making noise after a certain time. Last year, City Attorney Sharonda Williams said that the city cannot and will not enforce the curfew — though it still remains on the books, along with the rest of the 60-year-old noise ordinance.

As The New Orleans Advocate's Jeff Adelson reported earlier this year, the city hired a new sound specialist following outgoing consultant David Woolworth, who wrote an extensive report with recommendations to the City Council and had suggested its rules and sound limits were too restrictive and difficult to enforce. The new consultant, Monica Hammer, has a background in noise pollution and its impacts on public health (compared to Woolworth's background in music) and is working with the city's health department to "inform residents about the health effects of noise and ways they can protect themselves" along with training and department procedures in accordance with the current laws and forthcoming noise ordinance.
The change in consultants was concerning although it doesn't have to mean anything.  And, if you read the rest of that Gambit article, you'll see that the mayor's office and MACCNO oppose the curfew and favor taking NOPD out of the enforcement picture.  So the ordinance Ramsey introduced this week will look different from whatever is eventually passed, whenever that happens. She even says as much here.
"I am introducing this instrument for the purpose of initiating a thorough public debate on this important issue in my district," Ramsey wrote in a statement to Gambit. "With a couple of important exceptions, the ordinance introduced yesterday, like the ordinance considered in April of last year by my predecessor, only affects the Vieux Carre Entertainment (VCE) and Vieux Carre Entertainment-1 (VCE-1) zoning districts. I am not necessarily committed to everything being proposed by this ordinance and intend to ensure that this issue is fully and publicly vetted by all interested parties."
The word choice is cute, though.  Did she do that on purpose? 

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