Buffa’s Sued Because of Music

Here we go again: Buffa’s Bar on Esplanade has been sued by Sidney Torres IV about the intolerable music that emanates from Buffa’s back room.

Buffa’s has presented music at the bar for at least 30 years, testified the owners of the building.

Here’s the situation, as simply as I can put it (see this article and this one for more details).

Buffa’s has had music for a very long time. When the city decided to crack down on unpermitted music venues a couple of years ago (remember the issues at Mimi’s in the Marigny, which also had to defend itself against a lawsuit from neighbors?), the bar owner, Chuck Rogers, wanted to do everything right, and so applied for a license for live music, and he received it.

Torres owns the house next door at 1011 Esplanade (purchased in 1999) and is trying to sell it. Apparently, it’s been on the market for several months, and Torres has claimed that two potential buyers refused to buy after hearing loud music emanating from Buffa’s.

So basically, Mr. Torres is annoyed that he cannot sell a house that he purchased 15 years ago that was then and still is a bar that has music.


I just do not understand the mind-set of people who knowingly buy or rent a property in close proximity to a bar or music club, and then complain when the bar does the business it’s set out to do. It’s always interesting to read that the people who end up suing always say that they “love music.” I wonder where they think the music comes from?  Yes, they love the music, but they just don’t want it played next door. Then why in the hell do you buy a property that’s immediately next to a bar? I don’t get it.

Okay, then: New Orleans is known for its music, its street music, its music clubs and bars. Where, pray tell, should our musicians play? They get arrested if they play on the street. They lose their gig if some neighbor decides the music is not to their liking. How is this spate of lawsuits against music conducive to keeping New Orleans’ reputation as a music city?

I could understand if there was never music at that location, but Buffa’s has had music for a long time (so had Mimi’s).

Remember, that the people who can afford to hire bigwig attorneys to quiet the music have money, which most small businesses—the majority of bars and music clubs—do not.

So who’s going to win here?

The big guys with the dough—who should have known better than to buy a house next to a freakin’ bar? Or the music clubs who foster, nurture and give our musicians the opportunity to play and entertain the real music “lovers”?


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  • Dago T

    I live in Des Moines. About 10 years ago, I wrote a Letter to the Editor, DSM Register, concerning people (Yuppies) who were complaining about train noise they could hear from their swanky condos. My letter said:

    “Buying a condo adjacent to train tracks and then complaining about train noise is as dumb as buying a condo adjacent to train tracks and then complaining about train noise.”

    I’ve had lots of letters printed. People I know say this is the funniest, and best, one I’ve ever written.

    Same principle applies in the Buffa situation.