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Kermit's Speakeasy Meeting Addresses "War on Music"

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The meeting at Kermit Ruffin's Speakeasy yesterday gathered community members, lawyers and Mitch Landrieu's advisor Scott Hutcheson to discuss "a plan of action to stop the city from taking live entertainment away from small clubs." Everybody in the press and their brother's cousin's memaws were there to document the music lovers' outrage against what has been touted as Landrieu's "war on music," ending live shows at venues? like popular Circle Bar, Siberia, and Mimi's in the Marigny? that aren't zoned to feature live music. Not too mention the confusing, lengthy, and costly process of getting legal live music back.

Hutcheson promised the process is going to be better and faster. But if the 125-person crowd could have shot wasps out of their eyes, Hutcheson would have left the meeting looking like Jabba the Hut. Even Kermit Ruffins said, "I got real pissed," referring to the crackdown and the past year and a half he spent working with the city to get the Mother-in-Law legal for live music again. He proposed a 1,000 person march on city hall in October.

The meeting called on City Hall to create a 60 day moratorium on enforcement of permits to give venues a "time to comply." Lawyers proposed creating a committee, without government influence, to represent the community's permitting concerns. While city attorneys will have to deal with the moratorium, Hutchenson told the crowd Landrieu's office is also busy setting up a "one stop shop" for permits, and is releasing a guide to help with the confusing zoning laws.

Mitch Landrieu released a statement saying, "We are a city of music, and we are a city of neighborhoods. We will work to strike a balance so that they can exist together.

· Kermit Ruffins & The Live Music Crackdown
· Owen Courreges Coverage of Meeting [UptownMessenger]
· How to Make Music a City Process [OffBeat]
· Crowd Questions City's Stance on Live Music [OffBeat]
· Citizen's Make Some Noise [NoDef]
· All Nightlife Coverage [EaterNOLA]

Crowd gathers for Kermit's permit meeting. [Photo: Matt Uhlman]


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