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