Front page of the Times-Pic (counting down to semi-oblivion) today:
The Circle Bar on St. Charles Avenue and Siberia on St. Claude have been closed because live music permits hadn’t been obtained by their operators. This is old news by now, in cyber-world.
Dave Clements and his philosophy of living in New Orleans, owner of the Circle Bar, has apparently made his peace with the city, has applied for permit, citing that his establishment has had live music for 14 years (and he can prove it), and is entitled to continue to operate. Siberia, and many of the other illegally operating clubs in the city may have a more difficult time, since they haven’t been operating as long.
It’s pretty weird and disturbing that the city is cracking down on live music clubs. In a city known for its live music—at least to visitors—it would be a shame to cook the goose that laid the golden egg. Most of the city isn’t zoned for commercial enterprises, including music. It’s primarily residential. However, there are many areas of the city that, while zoned commercial, do not allow live music.
This, I don’t understand. A good example of this is one of my pet peeves, North Rampart Street. Here we have a commercial street—albeit on the edge of the French Quarter—that’s across from a park (with no residents) that can’t host any music clubs. You just can’t get a permit.
The TP story references the plight of Donna’s Bar & Grill, which shut down for over six months. The new operators tried to get a music permit (and did, temporarily) to reopen it as a music club. Neighbors in the Quarter complained, and they had their way, and got the permit revoked.
This is a touchy subject, I know. But I puzzle about why so many people in this city have issues with music. They don’t seem to care that there’s a bar on almost every corner. But if there’s music being played, well—that’s egregious. I can’t see any problem with allowing music in a bar, any bar, or any restaurant for that matter, if the city requires sound insulation and or closed doors (if appropriate) so that neighbors won’t be disturbed by noise. If you can condone liquor in you neighborhood, then you should be able to “put up with” some music. Bars, yes. Bars with music, hell yes!
You know the old cliché: Music bubbles up from the streets in New Orleans. Well, unless the mayor and city council and residents can come to terms with the fact that music is a key underlying foundation. of our thriving nightlife and hospitality industry, we’re going to keep shooting the goose ad infinitum, and that music won’t bubble no ‘mo…it’ll just drain away.