Lawsuit Seeks to Silence Buffa’s Bar and Restaurant

Buffa’s Bar and Restaurant is being sued by prominent New Orleans businessman Sidney Torres IV for allegedly violating the city’s noise ordinance.

Buffas-Live-from-the-Back-Room-V1-CD-cover

The lawsuit, filed by 1011 Esplanade Avenue, Inc., a property owned by Torres, seeks to strip Buffa’s of it’s Mayoralty Permit, which serves as a live music permit in Orleans Parish.

Buffa’s, operating on Esplanade and Burgundy since 1939, has been holding music performances in it’s Back Room for a number of years, including regular performances from Jumpin’ Jerry Jumonville, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Tom McDermott.

Buffa’s has released the following statement addressing allegations and lawsuit:

Buffa’s has a neighbor who is suing us (the proprietors of Buffa’s Bar & Restaurant), our landlords (the Buffa family) and the City of New Orleans in an attempt to stop live music in our Back Room. The lawsuit was filed by “1011 Esplanade Avenue, Inc.” That address is where Sidney Torres IV stays when he is not out of town. While we appreciate all the wonderful things Sidney has done for the City of New Orleans, we do not feel this lawsuit has merit.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims we have violated the city’s noise ordinance, yet offers no evidence to that effect. Every reading we have made on multiple devices during live performances says we have not. Although we have made several requests to take readings directly on the property at 1011 Esplanade, we have yet to be allowed to do so. (We are also taking extraordinary measures to reduce the sound coming out of Buffa’s — at considerable expense, and Sidney has been made aware of our efforts.)

More importantly, the lawsuit is attempting to have our Mayoralty Permit (which, in New Orleans, serves as a live music permit), revoked, stating that the city erred when it issued the permit because we did not provide any substantial proof that Buffa’s has had a history of live music going back prior to 2000.

We have attached an article and pictures from the Times-Picayune Lagniappe dated 2/16/96 that clearly shows Walter “Wolfman” Washington performed at Buffa’s on “Thursdays and Saturdays.” This is just one of many examples we have.

In 2012 we provided the city with 53 letters from Buffa’s patrons and musicians substantiating the long history of live music at Buffa’s. The city accepted these letters as proof and we assumed that would be the end of it, as long as we paid for the permit each year.

A hearing on the issue will be held on Tuesday, July 8th, at 1:30 p.m. at the New Orleans Civil Court, Division M, Section 13.

UPDATE: The hearing has been moved back to July 22.

  • tesla4all

    So sad to see certain individuals try and dismantle what N.O has become.. Don’t like what the city is all about?… then what are you doing here in the first place?.. Music in and around the New Orleans is such a large part of the soul of the city… Sadly.. If we keep going at this pace.. It’ll be just like any other run of the mill vanilla town usa.. Good luck Buffa’s.. and best wishes for the win!

    • disqus_ayvQwhvS6h

      Corruption is a large part of New Orleans’ history, do you recommend just letting that stick around as part of our culture?

      • flymordecai
        • disqus_ayvQwhvS6h

          Not a straw man, buddy.

          I’m just not willing to enlighten you on specifics, as that would likely lead to culpability I cannot afford a lawyer to defend against.

      • tesla4all

        You can’t realistically think that corruption in N.O. Life is just going to drop off the map now do you?… It’ll slide off into the Gulf along with the rest of the city if & when..

        • disqus_ayvQwhvS6h

          I’ll do my part, if you do yours.

  • Steve Moran

    The asking price is top secret and viewings are by approval only, but here’s a peek at 1011 Esplanade. Maybe he found potential buyers that don’t like music. http://www.trulia.com/homes/Louisiana/New_Orleans/sold/1000218059-1011-Esplanade-Ave-New-Orleans-LA-70116

  • rick rod

    does he know what New Orleans is all about????

  • flymordecai

    He’s one of the worst kinds of persons.

  • JazzAndHifi

    Sidney Torres IV – you are quite simply a FUCKING moron!!!

  • JazzAndHifi

    Sidney Torres IV – you are quite simply a FUCKING moron!!!