Mayor Mitch Landrieu kicked off a beautification campaign last week targeting "bandit signs," which seem to grow like weeds on neutral grounds every election season. But the newly enforced law also applies to concert posters, advertisements, yoga class flyers, and anything stapled or slapped on light poles and other public rights of way — parks, playgrounds, trees, light fixtures, street signs and parking meters.
A nine-person task force consisting of city employees from the Department of Sanitation and Parks and Parkways and New Orleans Police Department Quality of Life officers looked for and removed signs for five days, ending Friday, Sept. 16. Those duties now are back in the hands of the 22 sanitation employees and 70 Parks and Parkways employees whose duties include litter and sign control.
Bands and venues promoting their next big gig may want to stick strictly to coffee shop bulletin boards and Facebook. In an email to Gambit, Landrieu press secretary Ryan Berni said, "The individual(s) or business depicted on the sign or poster will be held responsible for the illegal sign. ... The entities listed on the sign are responsible." In other words, everyone on a typical concert bill (venue, artists, and promoter) can be targeted for fines.
Aspiring politicos also should take note: The candidates represented on the signs — and their committees —also will be held responsible for possible fines, Berni said. Candidates, as always, have 48 hours before and after an election to remove their signs.
The penalties are $25 per sign, or $50 per sign if attached to a tree; possible community service; fines of $150 to $5,000 (and possible community service or jail time) for littering or illegal dumping. Berni said artists with proper permitting for neighborhood artwork are in the clear. — Alex Woodward