The New Orleans City Council met Jan. 9 for its first full council meeting of 2014, but three buzzed-about agenda items — an update to the city's noise ordinance, new rules for Carnival parades and parade-goers, and domicile requirements for New Orleans Police Department officers — were deferred to other dates, following a lengthy recess midway through the agenda's first presentations that delayed the meeting until the early afternoon.
The noise ordinance, however, gets another shot in City Council chambers at a Housing and Human Needs Committee meeting at noon Friday, Jan. 17. A group of musicians and advocates against the ordinance — which was introduced Dec. 19 — will hold a rally at 11 a.m. outside City Hall.
The ordinance proposes measuring decibel levels from the sound-emanating property line; lowering the decibel level limits in the French Quarter's commercial areas from 80 to 75; and capping the maximum decibel level at 85 on Bourbon Street. It's the first redraft of the current ordinance in several decades, and it's the product of City Council's two-year study of sound issues, commissioned by District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, who had hired acoustician David Woolworth of Oxford Acoustics to issue a report and recommendations in August 2013. The draft ordinance also incorporates recommendations from a "seven-point plan" presented by a group of neighborhood organizations.
Following the ordinance's Dec. 19 introduction, Palmer released a statement, saying, "A proposal was introduced today in an attempt to offer a starting point for public consideration and discussion. The ordinance that was introduced today did not originate from my office, but I signed on to it because I support its intention: to carry on an important dialogue and get us closer to a sound ordinance that is fair and objective."