The following is in response to Jan Ramsey’s blog post, “New Orleans Means Music,” on OffBeat.com, wherein she talks about the noise ordinance and recommends that venues keep their doors closed.
I would be okay with closing doors. Last Tuesday I was inside the Blue Nile (downstairs). The door to the Blue Nile was closed because the music inside was softer than the brass band outside. Near the back of the room, I could hear the band from 30/90—inside the Blue Nile—with the Blue Nile’s door closed. I get that it was an unfair fight that night, since we were doing acoustic improvised music, not loud R&B, but still.
—Jeff Albert, Mandeville, Louisiana
I suspect that the ambient noise level on the streets of the French Quarter, during the daytime, would be too high for the Health Department. Noise level measurement is a difficult task, especially at varying distances. My father used to tell me that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” As you know, we have been discussing this for around 30 years or so. I think that I invented the phrase: “Moving to the French Quarter and complaining about the noise is like moving to Florida and complaining about the sand.”
—Gary Edwards, New Orleans, Louisiana
TP ABANDONS MUSIC
The following is in response to Jan Ramsey’s October 2015 Mojo Mouth column, “Same As It Ever Was,” wherein she talks about the TP’s decision to no longer have a full time music writer.
OffBeat’s contribution to music reporting here is huge and spiked with great moments. Its nurturing of Scott [Jordan], Keith [Spera], Doug [MacCash], Alex [Rawls] and other journalists has been a great public service, but I think Jan [Ramsey] is wrong to tell us that before OffBeat, no one was trying to cover this important beat. I can’t tell you exactly who the Times-Picayune had covering music in the early ’80s, but I can report that when Gambit editor Gary Esolen hired me to write a music column and keep an eye on the music business, part of his rationale was that, when it came to music coverage, the TP was “eating Gambit’s lunch.” I did as much as one part-time reporter could do for a couple of years, but then the duty of covering music was passed along to Geraldine Wyckoff, who did the job considerably longer and better than me, right on through the ’80s and, I believe, beyond. And let’s not forget that a magazine called Wavelength arrived on the scene in 1980.
—Rock Adam, a.k.a. Ralph Adamo, New Orleans, Louisiana
In my memory, the TP never had a full-time music writer until Scott Aiges, who started covering the scene a couple of years after OffBeat started. Wavelength started in 1981 and was the house pub for the record store Leisure Landing; it was a great publication that lasted about 10 years and also nurtured local writers and the music scene. It closed in 1991. Gary was, and is, a visionary. He was right on the money with music.
We couldn’t agree more with Alden Drew’s letter [August 2015]. But we do disagree with one point: Excessive sound is a nationwide issue. We travel around the country listening to music and earplugs are always in our pocket, if needed. Sound techs should consider that excess volume detracts from the experience. We saw a wonderful group in Wisconsin this weekend and one band member commented that “it would be crazy to give electricity to an acoustic band.” More musicians should think that way.
—Steve and Linda Steinhoff, Palmyra, Wisconsin
An awesome story about an amazing young band. Look out world, Sweet Crude is the future of indie rock!
—Joey Marceaux, Hammond, Louisiana