The battle between music clubs and the people that live near them continues. Noise complaints appeared to have been at the heart of the city's crackdown on Bacchanal last summer, and have been levied against a number of bars on Bourbon Street in recent months. Bourbon Live, a club on Bourbon Street that was the subject of a lawsuit stemming from such complaints, had its hearing today in front of a municipal court judge. Bourbon Live was cited by police for violating the city's noise ordinances with its amplified music back in December, but the judge today found the bar not guilty. This is separate from the hearing for the bar Bourbon Heat, which has been delayed several times.
Meanwhile, Jan Ramsey of Offbeat reports that the city's Quality of Life Officer is cracking down on Frenchmen Street bars for noise violations. Mojito's Rum Bar & Grill, a restaurant and bar that features live music in its tropical courtyard, has suspended its live music. [Update: Not actually suspended. Just moved indoors.] Nearby bars/music clubs Vaso and BMC have apparently also been cited for noise violations. The manager of Checkpoint Charlie says the businesses are being targeted by a neighbor who "even complains when we don’t even have music. He’s complained about brass band music at Checkpoint, which we don’t even have."
Now, these places can be loud, but this is New Orleans, y'all, we can't stop the music. Live music here is tied up with food and culture and life in a way that it simply isn't anywhere else in the country. That's why this city is so awesome. The Bourbon Street bars aren't part of that as much as the ones of Frenchmen Street are. That street, with its combination of music, drinks, brick-and-mortar restaurants and probably-illegal street food, is the perfect little encapsulation of New Orleans as a whole. We can't lose that.
Many residents' complaints about noise are likely quite valid; some of these places can be very noisy way too late at night. That's something that can be fixed without just stopping (or excessively restricting) the music in the city's entertainment districts. As Ramsey writes, "There's got to be a middle ground."