Update, July 7: Buffa's court date has been rescheduled for July 22.
Thanks to everyone who showed up yesterday showing their support and signing notarized documents showing Buffa's has had live performances in excess of the 10 year period required by the city to qualify for a non-compliance exemption. With your help, we hope to put this matter to rest once and for all on the 22nd.
Mimi's in the Marigny — one of the central venues in the ongoing conversation about music permitting and noise ordinances — has suspended its live music schedule. As first reported this afternoon on NOLA.com, Mimi's music programming is taking a brief hiatus, though staff there haven't confirmed why.
Meanwhile, Buffa's Bar & Restaurant announced on its Facebook today that the watering hole and entertainment spot now faces a lawsuit from 1011 Esplanade Avenue Inc., alleging that it has violated the city's noise ordinance. The post also says the suit challenges Buffa's mayoralty permit allowing live music, though the venue has been a longtime fixture for music in the neighborhood.
In 2012 we provided the city with 53 letters from Buffa's patrons and musicians substantiating the long history of live music at Buffa's. The city accepted these letters as proof and we assumed that would be the end of it, as long as we paid for the permit each year.
At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Buffa's will host a notary public to notarize signed affidavits supporting the business, and it invites the public, "especially if you either performed or attended a live performance prior to the year 2000. Bring your letter to Buffa's this Sunday and have it notarized. If you already wrote a letter on our behalf, we will have a copy ready for you to review and an affidavit stating it is truthful."
Buffa's and 1011 Esplanade Avenue Inc., an address held by Sidney Torres IV, will take up the suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court next week. Holly, an employee at the bar who did not give her last name, said the staff was puzzled, not only because the music in the back club was not too loud and because Torres, who has lived next door to the bar for several years, has been a customer in the past, and has "always been really nice to everyone here."
Holly mentioned that Torres has been a customer at Buffa's before, and "he even brought Kid Rock, so I don't know what all this is about."
The news comes nearly two years after a string of music venues and bars were forced to shuffle schedules as the city of New Orleans began cracking down on permits. Mimi's was able to resume its music programming shortly after, but early last year, it suspended its schedule again following a lawsuit from neighbors and residents. Last fall, Mimi's received its permit to host live music, though neighbors and residents who filed the lawsuit promised to fight it.