I Can’t Hear You

Perusing my Facebook page last night, I saw a reference to a problem at the Marigny Opera House, a renamed old church in the Bywater. By candlelight (no electricity, apparently), someone started playing acoustic music, and a few shows have been performed there.

The neighbors shut it down.

Huh?

Dave Hurlbert, who operates the church said: “A petition by a few neighbors was circulated, opposing the performance of live music in the church. And so I am asking for a show of support from our neighbors who welcome the idea of our restoring the building and sharing it with the neighborhood along its original lines: as a place for spiritual fulfillment through acoustic, live music.

“All our music is acoustic, without amplification, and it is not audible outside the church when we close the windows. All our performances end around 10pm – per the neighborhood noise ordinance. As far as being like Bourbon Street: we’re a non-profit foundation, and we ain’t got a bar. People actually come to listen to music. Last week we listened to Andre Bohren play Chopin!”

New Orleans music

Without music, New Orleans doesn't exist.

I just don’t get the mentality of neighbors who want to do away with music, in the nation’s most musical city, the birthplace of jazz. It doesn’t seem to me that the acoustic music was causing a major disturbance in the neighborhood. What I have heard however, is that the neighborhood was taking a “pre-emptive” strike before things at the church escalated into a full-blown “problem.”

Problem? Why shouldn’t people be allowed to enjoy music in a neighborhood location if it’s in compliance with city standards? This isn’t even a bar, and it doesn’t serve alcohol.

On another side of the coin, today I spoke with brothers Huey and Angelo Farrell, who operate Bourbon Heat at 711 Bourbon Street. They renovated the dilapidated former Tricou House (which was a regular music venue for many years), and created a lovely tropical courtyard on the first floor, two bars, and a dance club/music venue/bar on the second floor. Angelo Farrell renovated the building and originally leased it to another Bourbon Street operator who has a reputation on the street for blasting music out of clubs (illegally). The Farrells have parted ways with this operator and are now running the venue themselves.

Angelo Farrell is a contractor whose renovation work has been focused in the Vieux Carre. He’s renovated award-winning buildings in the Quarter. He did run into a political issue with a proposed condo conversion at Royal and Canal Streets, which apparently may have him on the outs with some of the political and neighborhoods groups that wield an inordinate amount of power when it comes to business development and operation in the French Quarter .

Be aware: these neighborhood activist groups in the Quarter and city agencies have the wherewithal to control what happens to both residences and business operations in the French Quarter.

Regarding music at Bourbon Heat: “We decided to only do smooth jazz, no live music, in the courtyard,” Huey Farrell says. “We have a dance crowd upstairs at the moment, and we’d like to add live music soon.”

“We want Bourbon Heat to be different from a lot of the places on Bourbon,” said Angelo Farrell. “People who come to the Quarter sort of expect two things: that great tropical French Quarter courtyard, and a place to dance and let loose. We have both of those in one venue.”

Everything seemingly should work for Bourbon Heat, except that a neighbor who lives two houses down complained, and the bar is working to address noise issues that could potentially have a negative effect on whether or not the bar can remain open. “I own a house that I live in part-time. It’s literally right next door to the courtyard. I can’t hear any noise in the house,” said Angelo. “The woman who complained lives two houses away and is much closer to other bars on Bourbon.  Yet she complained about our place. Why do these people have so much power? The vast majority of residents in the French Quarter don’t complain. They know that they are living in an area of the city that has a lot of music, tourist activity and associated noise, and they accept it as part of life in the Quarter. Why do a few so-called neighbors have the power to shut down a business when it’s accepted by most as being okay.”

Good question.

Music is not noise. You know the old saying: “If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen”? I say that if you don’t appreciate living in the French Quarter, with everything that means, including music, tourists, noise, and other inconveniences, then the Vieux Carre should not be your place of residence.

The proposed revisions in the noise ordinance are still pending, and they need to resolved. Not everyone is going to get what they want. The city hired an acoustic expert/consultant who’s making the rounds, talking to all the people involved: clubs, residents, street musicians, musicians, and other interested parties before he makes a recommendation on what acceptable levels of noise should be included into the revised city ordinance.  The city has to find a way to make equitable rules for different areas of the city that have entertainment, or could potentially host entertainment. The city should make them enforceable and then shut down the biggest scofflaws: souvenir and T-shirt shops who blast music onto the street, and operators on Bourbon Street who drown out everyone else on the street with obnoxiously loud music. Get these people out of here. There’s an acceptable level of street and music noise on streets like Bourbon and Frenchmen. It’s part of the ambience. It shouldn’t be done away with. It should be tolerable to visitors and residents alike. Personally, what I’m perceiving is that a few residents don’t want music, and they’re trying to win game. It’s a power trip.

What will come of the ongoing battle to create a good noise ordinance? I have no idea. But I do think this whole situation has been dragging on way too long, and it’s getting worse. It’s almost as though there’s a “noise mafia” of powerful neighborhood groups that are calling the shots on what can and can’t happen with music in the city. And these people aren’t music lovers, apparently. Many of them don’t even live here full-time. They call themselves preservationists and lovers of New Orleans, but they look at the French Quarter, the Faubourg Marigny and the Bywater as their own private gated communities. Let’s face it: they have money and power to make things happen in a way where they call the shots. I have been told by numerous businesses that Stuart Smith, a wealthy plaintiff attorney who lives (part-time) on St. Philip Street and part-time in Miami (!), has filed lawsuits against several prominent French Quarter businesses because live music is too loud and is not to his liking. He says he’s a preservationist. So Mr. Smith, why do you think you should control the city’s music? In the name of preservation?  How about proactively getting some of the derelict property owners in the Quarter to repair their properties? Isn’t that what a preservationist usually does?

Once again: You gotta take the bitter with the sweet. If you don’t like the music and culture of the city, then move to the suburbs. Or Miami.

The city of New Orleans has to step up and strongly declare that we are a music city and that any music played anywhere that’s played within city guidelines and proscribed decibel levels trumps some cranky rich neighbor’s complaints. Even about something that “might” happen in the future!

  • Guest

    Interestingly the new http://hearthenolamusic.org/ was registered on Monday by the same person who registered Stuart Smith’s blog site (http://stuarthsmith.com.)

  • Guest

    Interestingly the new http://hearthenolamusic.org/ was registered on Monday by the same person who registered Stuart Smith’s blog site (http://stuarthsmith.com.)

  • Wow Jan..you tell em!   Perfect analogy, if you can’t stand the heat, get the hell out!!  I would give anything to live in the French Quarter and be able to absorb the music and lifestyles that make it what it is on a daily basis.  These wanna be whatevers need to move on and let the people who love the French Quarter for what it is become better and better.  Focus on fixing and healing, not on destroying one of the things ( um, music? ) that makes the city of New Orleans great!

  • Wow Jan..you tell em!   Perfect analogy, if you can’t stand the heat, get the hell out!!  I would give anything to live in the French Quarter and be able to absorb the music and lifestyles that make it what it is on a daily basis.  These wanna be whatevers need to move on and let the people who love the French Quarter for what it is become better and better.  Focus on fixing and healing, not on destroying one of the things ( um, music? ) that makes the city of New Orleans great!

  • Janramsey

    Busted! Yes, her name is Elizabeth Poti, and she is the internet media manager for Smith Stagg LLC, Stuart Smith’s law firm. What a “coincidence”!
    Mr. Smith is obviously the puppet master in all the noise lawsuits and the opposition to music from the VCPORA and the French Quarter Citizens group. He’s made his money suing big corporations who have polluted communities. Now he’s working to clear the New Orleans air of the music that “pollutes” the city!

  • Anonymous

    I was involved in a situation years ago in Tucson that is not analogous but might be instructive. I was the festival coordinator for the Tucson Blues Festival back in the 1980’s.  It was (and still is) held in a park that is in central Tucson.  There is a natural amphitheater where the band shell is located and over the hill in the direction the direction pointed to by the band shell and the PA is a neighborhood.  The neighbors complained because there were too many music events and the music was too loud.  A city council meeting was held.  The music event producers lined up on one side of the issue and the neighbors lined up on the other.  More music because it’s a good thing.  No, less music because it’s too loud.  More, less, more, less.  It seemed to me that artificial battle lines were being drawn but no creative solutions were being offered.  Someone had to win and someone had to lose.  When it was my turn to speak, I suggested that the sound system be re-engineered so that delay speakers could be added at various points in the natural amphitheater which would spread the sound more evenly among the crowd without the need to blast the PA to the max in order to reach those at the back of the field.  The result would be better sound for the attendees and less sound into the neighborhood.  This was been done and, for the most part, produced the desired improvements.  Not all neighbors are thrilled but the intrusiveness of the sound is much reduced and the sound at the venue is improved.  As I said, this is not quite analogous to the N.O. situation but I’m trying to make a point that might apply.  If someone (Jan?) could bring the sides together to try to resolve the issues being raised by both sides, there may be some technological fixes or other adjustments that have not yet been considered.  I don’t mean to be singing Kumbaya here, and this story was a long time ago.  But sometimes the search for creative solutions and common ground can bear fruit.

  • Janramsey

    Thanks, John. The biggest problem is enforcement of laws. It makes no difference what’s finally decided on decibel levels, if it’s not enforced, it will be moot. Most of the people in the Quarter know there’s going to be noise, of all kinds. There’s traffic noise, people noise and music. If you live in or near and entertainment area, you have to expect it. The majority of businesses in the Quarter are as respectful as they can be, but there are a few who are not, blatantly not. The city does not shut them down. They spoil the ambience for everyone, as all the clubs think they have to crank up the noise because the loudest venue will attract the most visitors. So they “compete” and everyone turns it up. These are bad neighbors and need to be stopped. But no one stops them.
    The VCPORA/Stuart Smith website looks as though it’s trying to find a good middle ground. But it’s not. The do not want any new music venues.
    Moreover, Mr. Smith sent this little missive out today, via Cheron Brylski’s company, thekreweoftruth.com (puh-lease!). My notes are in [ALL CAPS]:

    When the Party Gets Too Loud: New Orleans Residents Wither Under Noise Pollution
    By Stuart H. Smith  (504) 593-9600http://www.stuarthsmith.com/when-the-party-gets-too-loud-new-orleans-residents-wither-under-noise-pollution
    The French Quarter in New Orleans is the heart and soul of the southern party scene [NEW ORLEANS IS A CULTURAL MECCA AND THE MUSICAL CENTER OF THE COUNTRY. IF YOU THINK IT’S ONLY A PARTY SCENE, YOU’VE BEEN IN THE WRONG CITY]. All the essential ingredients are here, in abundance: great drinks, even better food, revelers of every stripe and music – live, loud music deep into the night. From Jazz Fest to Mardi Gras and all the gumbo and crawfish festivals in between, the French Quarter knows how to throw a party.Although the Quarter is perhaps the city’s most famous party spot, there are other areas of New Orleans – like Marigny, Oak Street, Freret and Magazine – that also lay claim to vibrant late-night music scenes.Locals have a love-hate relationship with Bourbon Street, which cuts through the center of the French Quarter, mainly because rampant commercialization has made it a tacky caricature of the former glory many still remember and miss. The reason the iconic street still manages to attract both tourists and locals is because this “cheapening” has not invaded the entire French Quarter. Many first-class eateries, art galleries and hotels remain unscathed.The Quarter is a real neighborhood, where people live and work, and that is what makes it more dynamic and exciting than Beale Street or other “forced” entertainment districts. As a native New Orleanian [WHO ONLY LIVES IN THE CITY PART-TIME], I have visited the Quarter all my life, and I’ve owned a home there for more than a decade. But like many residents, I am constantly considering leaving the area because the ordinances designed to protect the rights of residents are not enforced. [TRUE DAT]There’s hope that this is changing, at least on the gnawing issue of noise.Noise pollution in the City of New Orleans has reached such a high level that residents are desperate for some relief [TOTALLY UNTRUE. THERE ARE ONLY A FEW PEOPLE WHO WANT “RELIEF.” YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR EVERYONE]. While residents all over the city, but especially in the Quarter, have called in hundreds of noise complaints, officers issued a grand total of five noise citations to businesses in the French Quarter between February 1, 2011 and February 1, 2012. If you’ve ever strolled down Bourbon Street on any given night after 8 p.m., you’ll understand just how ridiculous that is. [ENFORCE LAWS AGAINST OFFENDERS, NOT THE ENTIRE CITY!]Balance should be the goal. Balance between the party scene and the well-being and sanity of the city’s residents.So many residents applauded the City Administration and police department when the battle over the noise went to court this week. For the first time in nearly a decade of live music and late-night carousing, the city is taking a French Quarter business, Bourbon Live, to court for violating the noise ordinance.[THEY’RE ONE OF THE OFFENDERS]Last December, a NOPD officer slapped Bourbon Live owner Anthony Marullo with a noise citation, at least in part because the loud music was drowning out his police radio. From a Jan. 6 WWL-TV report out of New Orleans:“I’d like to thank the mayor and the police chief for standing up for the average resident. We need our police officers to be able to hear their radios,” said a Marigny resident joining about a dozen people outside City Hall on Monday, applauding the city for cracking down on noise violators.[OH, WAIT, WAS THAT VCPORA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MEG LOUSTEAU AND MEMBERS OF THE VCPORA AND FRENCH QUARTER CITIZENS, TWO GROUPS THAT ARE AFFILIATED WITH SMITH?]The group calls itself: “Hear The Music Stop The Noise” and is made up of residents and business leaders in the French Quarter.[NO, IT’S MADE UP OF VCPORA AND FRENCH QUARTER CITIZENS, GROUPS SMITH CONTROLS AND HELPS FINANCE THROUGH LEGAL WORK AND SETTING UP THIS WEBSITE].“New Orleans must enforce its noise ordinance. Noise is out of control and a sense of disorder does not support public safety,” said Meg Lousteau, executive director of Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates.[SEE?]The New Orleans Police Department is straining to control one of the highest per-capita murder rates in the free world. An officer who can’t hear his or her radio can’t hear someone call for help either.The safety issue is a serious concern, along with the environmental and health issues associated with noise pollution. [OH PLEASE. HOW MANY TIMES HAS THIS HAPPENED? IF IT HAPPENED ALL THE TIME, THE POLICE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENFORCING THE LAWS.]As far as public health goes, unsafe decibel levels – whether from music or an airport or a construction site – are unsafe for musicians, bar employees, patrons and even passersby. It is dangerous to spend too much time outside some of these clubs on Bourbon Street. There are very real health risks involved, including permanent hearing loss. But don’t take my word for it. The World Health Organization (WHO) has conducted studies that show the relationship between “environmental noise and health effects, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance (and deprivation), tinnitus (chronic ringing or buzzing in the ear), and annoyance.” [WELL, GOLLY, IF YOU STAND IMMEDIATELY OUTSIDE A BOURBON STREET CLUB THAT’S TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE T-SHIRT SHOPS AND IS BLASTING AT 100 dB FOR MORE THAN 10 MINUTES, I’M SURE YOU’D HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM. RESIDENTS WHO LIVE ON BOURBON STREET DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO ENDURE THIS LEVEL OF SOUND.]Maybe the New Orleans police are finally getting it: Chaos breeds chaos.To make matters even more raucous and untenable, the noise and distortion isn’t confined to bars, lounges and souvenir shops in the Quarter. It’s become a movable feast in the form of wandering street musicians, which may be charming during the day but intolerable when a portable electronic amplifier is playing beneath your balcony at 2 a.m. [OH YEAH, MR STUART REALLY, REALLY DOESN’T WANT TO STOP MUSIC ON THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS. I DON’T THINK HE’S HERE ENOUGH TO KNOW WHEN OR WHAT STREET MUSICIANS EVEN PLAY. STREET MUSICIANS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PLAYING AFTER 8PM. IF THEY ARE, THEN THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND THE LAW SHOULD BE ENFORCED. PERSONALLY I THINK 8PM IS TOO EARLY TO SHUT STREET MUSICIANS DOWN].Reasonable time, place and manner restrictions are infinitely appropriate and need to be enforced. The law says live musicians must be off the street by 8 p.m., but again, the ordinance isn’t enforced. All of this begs the question: Why are street performers allowed to play loud, electronically amplified, live music in residential areas at all? Normal people, trying to live their lives, can’t take it. [THIS IS A TOTAL EXAGGERATION. THIS MAN DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT.]The police refuse to respond, at least in part, because someone started a Facebook page attacking them the last time they politely asked street musicians to obey the curfew and go home so residents could sleep. [THE FB PAGE WAS STARTED BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE LIKE HEARING THE MUSIC AND KNOW IT’S PART OF NEW ORLEANS CULTURE! I THOUGHT YOU WERE SMART].We need regulation that requires background checks, permits and designated “performing areas” away from where people live. Otherwise, the French Quarter will end up just like all the fake music districts that exist across New Orleans – with a ground-floor commercial district and one empty apartment after another on the top floors. Look closely the next time you visit Bourbon Street or Royal Street. It has already happened. [NOW, AFTER READING THIS, IF YOU CAN TELL ME THIS MAN IS ANTI-NOISE AND PRO-MUSIC, I’D SAY YOU WEREDELUDED OR SUCKED IN BY HIS PROPAGANDA. NEW ORLEANS IN ITS ENTIRETY IS A “MUSIC DISTRICT.” THE FRENCH QUARTER IS NOT ANYONE’S PERSONAL GATED COMMUNITY.] To encourage enforcement, residents are organizing and mobilizing – and supportive actions from the new mayor and city council are helping the cause. New Orleans must enforce its noise ordinance to limit the times and places where excessive noises invades the lives of residents, professionals, club employees and others. [OH YEAH, SUCK UP TO THE POLITICAL FRIENDS]Who doesn’t love the great music of New Orleans? We would all love to hear it – and stop the noise. [THIS PERSON CLEARLY HAS NO IDEA WHO MAKES, WHAT CONSTITUTES, AND WHO WANTS TO LISTEN TO THE MUSIC OF NEW ORLEANS. To keep informed about the battle for balance in New Orleans, visit the “Hear The Music Stop the Noise” website – and sign our petition: http://hearthenolamusic.org
    [PLEASE DO NOT SIGN THIS PETITION. LOOK AT THIS GROUP’S STANCE ON MUSIC ON NORTH RAMPART STREET–THE MOST NATURAL PLACE FOR IT, ACROSS FROM HISTORIC CONGO SQUARE. SIGNING THE PETITION SHOWS YOU SUPPORT THEIR PERVERTED AGENDA,DISGUISED AS SUPPORT FOR LIVE MUSIC.]BEWARE. 

     

  • Anonymous

     I hear what this guy is saying and I hear what you’re saying.  All I’m saying is that I don’t think a battle over this issue that’s fought out via web sites and social media will result in the “balance” that Mr. Smith says he wants.  I don’t agree with his version of balance and I do agree with your comments. I don’t mean to be Pollyanna, but I am saying “come, let us reason together.”  It’s possible (maybe not probable, but possible) that by getting folks together from the clubs, the police, the mayor’s office, the residents, and other real stakeholders, that a good mediator could ask “now what is it that you really think is a good answer – with balance – for this problem?”  What can the police offer for enforcement that’s fair?  What do the street players say?  The clubs?  What can you offer?  What do you want in return for sacrificing some of your decibels for the betterment of all?  I’ve been in a club on Frenchmen Street where music from another club actually interferes with the music inside the club where we were.  It makes for a colorful environment and a good story for the folks back home, but it’s not conducive to enjoying the music and giving the musicians a chance.  In addition to fair enforcement, clubs and shops need to come to the table and be persuaded that the war of the decibels does not benefit anyone in the long run.  I just don’t think that keeping this in an “us versus them” mode is productive.

  • Carmar

    Jan, music may not be noise, but since the storm the amplification of music has gotten out of control.  This is the case on the streets, t-shirt shops, and Bourbon St.  The Quarter is simply much louder than it was, and it does foster an attempted one-upping as each person tries to be louder than their neighbor.  I think very little of the VCPORA, and particularly Meg Lousteau, but it has gotten out of hand.  Simply reigning things back to what they were in 2004 and previously would make an enormous difference.

  • Isk84life

    Great article,yet, I dont think The Marigny Opera House problems are because of noise.

    – First off, the place doesn’t have any of the required permits or licenses to be doing business there. After what happened last year in the neighborhood to awesome DIY events and venues… SERIOUSLY, this isn’t even a diy arts group here. Its two wealthy older gentlemen who have the money to pay for it yet are trying to ride the mystique of the Bywater and Marigny arts community. Capitalizing on the local arts community for their own benefit. They have the money for permits… so get them..

    – Second, they are NOT a non-profit foundation as they are claiming. There is no federal or state non-profit records on file for them that I could find.. These guys are just looking to pocket the money themselves.. WHAT does this “foundation” do? This bothers me as it seems like just another person attempting to ride the” good of the arts community” as a guise for their own personal gain. Its sickening.

    It does appear they hired a strapping young man (and talented bay area musician who recently moved here at the same time they bought the place) to present the arts image to the general public…. but just because you finance your boy-toy’s personal life in NOLA doesn’t mean you are qualified as a FOUNDATION. Sugar daddies are not really entitled to tax write offs.. (i think)

    – THIRD- THE PLACE IS UNSAFE. Pieces of roof collapsing, candles everywhere,unsafe exits, structural issues…
    The bottom line is these guys are making it a private residence and have a vision of condos on that block. They are claiming that they don’t need permits as its a private residence… but really? Where are the beds, the furniture…and.. why is it you can rent it out and charge admission and for drinks… yet use whatever excuse to play the community. They had concessions when I was there!

     NOPE these slickers are just riding the coattails of a hot issue in order to snake through the system and use the support of a good cause for their own personal gain.

    For the record, the men who run the Opera house are a couple from San Fran. One resides in the the bay area and only comes to visit now and again. The other lives in both locations…. I only bring this up as it compares with the statement above about the other guy who lives here only part time.

    It is my understanding they plan on turning that entire area into condos and this “art thing” is just a hobby to win over the neighborhood first.

    Don’t be fooled. The issues at the Marigny Opera House have very little to do with the noise.

    We have great venues and artists who are struggling with this issue. Please keep the focus on those who need our local support and don’t allow MOH to steal the show.

  • Isk84life

     I just re-read my earlier post and realize I was probably a bit too harsh and perhaps shouldn’t have  said something I did. For the record- I really don’t care who has sugar daddies or anything about their habits, it is entirely possible that isn’t the situation with those guys, even if it might appear that way to some people.

    I really think neighbors have legitimate complaints,( especially when all the movie crew trucks show up and block streets for the next few weeks) and it seems really odd to me that they cant figure out how to get a permit for anything.

     It just looks like they are trying to get out of paying permit fees, paying taxes and financing repairs on their home and they may be using the local arts and music scene to do it.

  • Thanks, Jan, for laying it on the line and telling it like it is, especially regarding Stuart Smith’s role in all of this, and for posting his latest dispatch with all of its falsities and misrepresentations highlighted. As an advocate for the street musicians, really for the brass bands who play in the Quarter and on Frenchmen, I could tell many stories of bands being shut down even before the 8:00 PM curfew and I have video that stands in testament to it rarely, if ever, being polite, as Mr. Stuart would like people to think. (I respectfully chose not to post it, as it may have embarrassed the NOPD 8th district command at the time,) There is SO MUCH I could say about this issue and some of the suggestions presented to the brass bands in an attempt to get them off of the corner of Bourbon and Canal all together, but I’ll just say that all we really want is a reasonable curfew and 8:00 PM is not it. We still have the FaceBook page up and have almost 23,000 people from all over the world who stand with us in support of the culture bearers representing the music of our streets. (The page is called Don’t Stop the Music: Let New Orleans Street Musicians Play) We won’t back down. 
    Thanks,
    Lisa A. Palumbo,
    on behalf of
    To Be Continued Brass Band
    Young Fellaz Brass Band
    Free Spirits Brass Band

  • lunanola

    To
    be fair, Ms. Ramsey should not draw conclusions about parties involved
    in the Bourbon Heat/711 Bourbon issue without having full awareness of
    all of the parties (or all of the issues) involved.

    RE: “Music is not noise. You know the old saying: ‘If you don’t like
    the heat, get out of the kitchen’? I say that if you don’t appreciate
    living in the French Quarter, with everything that means, including
    music, tourists, noise, and other inconveniences, then the Vieux Carre
    [sic] should not be your place of residence.”

    The “she” that Mr. Farrell seems bound and determined to characterize as a
    lone complainant has lived in the Vieux Carré as a FULL-TIME
    resident since the ’80s, and is now living in a residence that has been
    in her family for more than four decades on Orleans Avenue directly
    across from Mr. Farrell’s recently-acquired part-time residence (not
    “two houses away,” as Mr. Farrell is well aware). It should also be noted that her home is in the Vieux Carré residential zone, and is not part of the Bourbon Street Vieux Carré Entertainment zone. Mr. Farrell also
    conveniently neglects to mention those who have put residences in the
    vicinity of the club up for sale during the past year, or those have
    moved to other locations in the French Quarter since his  Bourbon Heat
    club opened as a direct result of his club’s practices. It is a fact
    that “the complainant” that Mr. Farrell singles out as his personal nemesis in
    this matter is only one of MANY who have complained about many of his
    club’s practices that are in violation of existing ordinances and laws
    (not just the music issue).

    In the future, I would encourage Ms. Ramsey to do better research
    before cherry-picking the subject matter and spin for an editorial.
    Shame on you, Jan.

  • Jeff Snake Greenberg

    What you describe is not unique to New Orleans.  In the early 70s I lived in a neighborhood in Brooklyn called Park Slope.  It was a refuge for musicians, artists, actors and other creative types who had been forced out of Greenwich Village by high rents, “preservationists” and other who found the Bohemian lifestyle offensive.  In Park Slope, there were bars on every corner featuring live music.  There were galleries, performance spaces, all manners of creative endeavors.  It also had brownstone houses – at the time going for about $30,000.

    The Wall Street crowd had already over-run Brooklyn Heights causing a shortage of housing, and skyrocketing prices there.  So, they started moving to Park Slope.  It became the hip place to live. Next thing you know, bars are being closed down and turned into gourmet food stores.  Galleries and performance spaces went next.  Brownstones now go for prices in the millions.  Of course, all the creative types were forced out.  This played out in every neighborhood they went.  Start a creative community, and the gentry take over and force them out.

    This is exactly what is happening here.  During the last mayoral campaign several candidates promised a “master plan” for the city that would include new music districts that would be isolated and protected from these type of problems.  Of course, this never happened.  Rather, the city government seems intent on eliminating live music from the landscape.  Yet at the same time will talk out the other side of their mouth and praise music as one of New Orleans greatest economic resources. 

    The musical and artistic community going against the wealthy and powerful is as great a mismatch as David and Goliath.  Anybody got a slingshot?

  • Traptinamerica

    I definitely support the MOH but for the sake of fairness- they do sell drinks there (PBR, Stella and wine available at the shows I’ve been too. I also find it odd that they are zoning it as a residence and applying for a church permit when they are hosting music, dance and film industry events. I think it could be a great venue and community center but hope they do it right.

  • lunanola

    Rebuttal re: 711 Bourbon Street/Bourbon Heat’s detrimental impact on long-time French Quarter residents who one would not describe as being “cranky rich neighbors” if one actually knew them: http://nolafemmes.com/2012/02/13/selective-hearing/

  • History

    MOH – For the record, it is the former Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and in the Marigny. This parish is responsible for the development of the St. Roch Cemetery and Shrine.

  • Dave Hurlbert

    I am the Co-Owner of the Marigny Opera House, and head of the Marigny Opera House Foundation, which is registered in the State of Louisiana, and with the IRS. The purpose of the Foundation is to restore the building, and restore it to the community. The goal here is to make the neighborhood and the city a better place. There has never been a plan to build condos on the property. One of the reasons we bought the property was to make sure that didn’t happen.

    I am a classical pianist, and I make money as a marketing consultant. I live in New Orleans. My life has been one of service, to the Episcopal Church, to young artists, to 12-step recovery groups.

    I have never been a “sugar daddy.”

    We have spent nearly around $150,000 so far on restoring the building.

    We are supporting and paying for the production of the Giant Puppet Festival this month and the Marigny Opera House New Dance Festival 2012 next month. These festivals support 5 local puppet troupes and 6 local choreographers.

    I will continue to try to make the neighborhood and the world a better place in spite of the slander I sometimes get from people.

    Dave Hurlbert
    Co-Founder
    Marigny Opera House

  • Dave Hurlbert

    I am the Co-Owner of the Marigny Opera House. We did offer beer and wine for a donation at some of our performances from December through the first week of February. We are not planning to continue that practice, mainly because we feel it is inappropriate for a place that hosts 12-step groups during the week.