We received the following letters in response to Alex Woodward's cover story "Sounding Off" (Nov. 27, 2012):
Thank you for your insightful article. The Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association (FMIA) represents those that work, live and play in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. We were pleased that you highlighted Siberia's recent success in obtaining the proper permit to allow live music. The FMIA has continuously supported Siberia throughout its application for live music, recognizing its place in the St. Claude and Marigny community. Siberia stands as a model for how responsible bar and live music venue owners should work with the community to address the neighborhood's concerns.
The FMIA is fully committed to the needs of the arts and cultural organizations, while also respecting the quality of life of those residing in our historic neighborhood. It is important that neighborhood organizations and arts and cultural organizations work together to address quality of life issues. It is also vitally important that venue owners respect their neighbors, both residential and other businesses. This is especially needed as the Faubourg Marigny and Frenchmen Street become increasingly popular destinations. We feel that through open dialogue and proper enforcement of zoning, the needs of both residents and arts and cultural organizations can be met.
Miles W. Swanson, Esq.,
Vice President, FMIA
A homeowner speaks
The story "Sounding Off" covers a coalition permitting live music, yet leaves out the critical perspective of a resident or business owner impacted by the lack of enforcement of zoning and music permit laws.
I am a working mother with two children who lives across the street from Mimi's in the Marigny. I am an avid supporter of live music. I count musicians as friends. My kids attend the excellent neighborhood music program run by Shamarr Allen of the Silence is Violence project. I bought my house based on this lively neighborhood, with its mix of homes and small businesses. I researched the zoning and permits held by nearby establishments before buying.
Mimi's, permitted as a bar/restaurant, was an attraction. I had previously lived across from a bar/restaurant in the Irish Channel. I expected the same pleasant experience. However, after making the biggest investment of my life in my home, I found I made a big mistake about Mimi's.
On weekends, the music goes until 4 a.m. and is so loud I am still awake even with earplugs and a white noise device.
The Mimi's crowd spills outside, often unruly, until 6 a.m. Not a weekend goes by that neighbors don't call the police. People loiter on our doorstep and leave behind cigarette butts, cups, bottles and broken glass.
As for my children, they have been late to school and other morning events because, wearing earplugs, I miss the alarm. They endure loud cursing, shouting and step over trash and drunk people still loitering on our doorstep when we leave in the morning. Surely the mayor would not want his children to have the same experience.
Lack of enforcement of zoning [laws] and proper permits shows extreme disregard for the neighbors who keep the Marigny alive by living, working and raising kids here. The outsiders that descend on Mimi's until 4 a.m. do not care about our neighborhood, but we do.
Mimi's purports to be a neighborhood bar; it is anything but neighborly. We all celebrate the music, but there is another side to this story that cannot be ignored.
There is more information at www.hearthenolamusic.org.
Lorelei Dickey Cropley