It seems that the “temporary live music permit” that Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Office of Cultural Economy promised was issued to favorite local watering hole and music venue, Mimi’s in the Marigny. The bar experience a brief hiatus during last summer’s citywide crack-down on small, independent music venues that were not zoned for live music.
At that time, Mayor Landrieu issued this statement:
“To be clear, no one from the City asked Mimi’s in the Marigny to stop live entertainment.
I’ve instructed the City’s enforcement agencies to enforce the law fairly and to take a customer-friendly approach. This means that we offer assistance in securing the appropriate permits to businesses that have been offering live music for years. In most cases, the City does not need to immediately issue summonses or administrative subpoenas, if a business owner agrees to work actively to secure the required permits. To learn how to come into compliance with City law, cultural businesses can contact my Office of Cultural Economy.
We are a city of music, and we are a city of neighborhoods. We will work to strike a balance so that they can exist together.”
Yet, just last Saturday, owner Mimi Dykes announced that she has been served the day prior by the Orleans Parish Civil Court on alleged charges by four nearby Marigny residents who live nearby that her venue exceeds noise ordinances. Furthermore, they contend that her venue is not in a permitted “live music zone.” These residents hired a law team specializing in targeting live music venues to file these accusations (Smith & Stagg). The firm will represent the small group of residents in the forthcoming Civil Court case scheduled for the bar.
Mimi’s has provided New Orleans’ live music and DJ events for over ten years, providing added entertainment value. One of the most popular regular nights is the “Hustle” Saturday night dance party, hosted by resident DJ and respected WWOZ-FM veteran show host, DJ Soul Sister. The regular event presents all-vinyl dance sets featuring old school funk, soul, original R&B, rare groove, Latin groove, go-go and similarly-rooted music at no cover charge from 11 p.m. – 4 a.m. Recently, Dykes and Soul Sister were asked to end Saturday nights at 3 a.m. at the request of said neighbors, a request that Dykes honored. Additionally, Dykes installed sound-proofing inside her small building as well as a decibel level meter, as required over recent years. These renovations were at Dykes’ expense, but also meant that windows could never be opened for fresh air or circulation is live music was playing. Still, Mimi’s is packed every weekend.
However, it seems fulfilling all of these requests was not enough for this handful of neighbors—they’ve decided they want the music to stop completely, so they are taking Mimi’s to court. Inconsistencies in the city’s zoning ordinances, overlays and enforcement thereof appear to be a key instrument in this debacle even getting this far. The court summons last week certainly came as a surprise, considering the last word out was that Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy was “we’re working one-on-one with Mimi’s to get them the proper permits so they could operate business as usual.”
Mimi issued this official statement on April 12:
“We regret to inform you that Mimi’s has to suspend music for the time being. We will keep you informed as we ourselves become informed of the situation. Please remember that we are still your favorite neighborhood bar and continue to support us and our amazing employees. Kitchen will still be cooking and drinks will continue to flow. Thank you for your continued support.”
DJ SOUL SISTER MOVES “HUSTLE” TO TEMPORARY LOCATION FOR 9th ANNIVERSARY PARTY
Unfortunately, this Saturday, April 20 will mark what would have been the beloved DJ Soul Sister’s 9th anniversary of her Saturday night “HUSTLE!” free dance parties at Mimi’s. Because she cannot legally DJ at Mimi’s until further notice, she, for several days, thought there would be no Hustle 9th Anniversary party, due to such short notice.
But the New Orleans music community proved once again that it sticks together when she announced yesterday that the new management at the Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude Avenue, not too far from Mimi’s, offered their venue for her HUSTLE 9th Anniversary Party. And yes, to their knowledge, the Hi-Ho management says they are “properly zoned” to host such a live music event.
Soul Sister says she named her 9th Anniversary party “GRATITUDE” in thanks of all those that have supported her Saturday night dance party over the years.
So it looks like we’re getting out HUSTLE on this Saturday after all! See ya’ll on the dancefloor!
HUSTLE 9th Anniversary Party
with DJ Soul Sister
+sg DJ Stylus (Washington, DC)
2239 St. Claude Ave.
11pm – 3am
NO COVER | 21+