Noise lawsuit against the 544 Club squashed

The noise lawsuit against the 544 Club in the French Quarter didn’t make muster. This suit is important because it’s the tip of the iceberg of the mass of lawsuits filed against several reputable venues in the Quarter.  If they are won by the plaintiffs, the could literally close down Bourbon Street. Thank goodness for Richard Webster’s reportage on the 544 Club lawsuit!

I made Richard Webster‘s acquaintance when he worked at New Orleans CityBusiness, and he now writes for Webster is interested in the culture business of the city and writes about it regularly. Over the weekend, I received an email from Chris Young, an attorney who works with liquor retailers (bars, etc.) in the city and keeps everyone abreast of important legal and governmental actions that may affect their businesses.

A big lawsuit that has been under consideration for some time was one that involved the 544 Club on Bourbon Street. Peter Yokum and his partner, who live in a family-owned home on Toulouse Street, have sued numerous bars and venues because they have contended that the “noise” from these places on Bourbon have caused them mental and physical distress. They were suing for tens of millions of dollars.

The first case that came up was the one against the 544 Club, and Young reported that the court—with a jury—decided that the 544 Club was not a noise problem.

Webster reported on the verdict on 544 Club case on

The law firm that represented Yokum (Smith Stag, Stuart Smith’s firm) says it will appeal. Smith is the attorney who’s been the impetus behind this lawsuits and several others, including the brouhaha over Mimi’s in the Marigny, which had to stop music at that venue after the lawsuit.

What I love about the results of this case is that it may set a precedent for the other silly lawsuits that Smith Stag has filed on the behalf of Yokum. These suits are filed against Pat O’Brien’s, Court of Two Sisters and several more. Read Webster’s post on this issue, and then for a chuckle, read the comments.

One of the comments references a group of photos that were taken of Yokum’s home on Toulouse Street. Yokum is an accomplished artist.

If you look carefully at the beginning of the third row, you’ll see a a few photos of Yokum’s studio, that has a beautiful portrait of Stuart Smith and his partner on an easel (presumably that Yokum painted).

I guess if Smith-Stag wins any of the lawsuits, Yokum and Smith et al would be so rich they could literally own the French Quarter. Or was that the idea all along?


We want to know what OffBeat readers want: take our Weekly Poll.