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Instajournal: Play that funky music

On Jan. 17, there will be a public meeting at City Hall at noon on the City Council’s proposed new noise ordinance, also known as ‘The Seven Essentials Plan.” If  passed, it will lower the legal limit for public music in the Vieux Carre to 60 – 65 decibels (equivalent to the volume of a normal conversation. Do conversations in the Quarter even abide to “normal” conversational volumes?). In a city that likes its live music loud (or audible, for that matter), the ordinance would presumably alter the music atmosphere in the French Quarter.

What would the Quarter, at 60 decibels, look like? How disruptive is the current decibel limit? Let’s take a glimpse at how street musicians in the Vieux Carre have been faring recently:


Introducing “The Seven Essentials” nemesis. This contraption is to proponents of the noise ordinance what a child, his or her plastic recorder, and Hot Cross Buns is to you. And it’s on wheels.


Hopefully this musician remembers to tap her drum ever so lightly — like burping a baby.

 noise 5

Nothing says “I’m here to disturb the peace” like a violinist wrapped in a sleeping bag.

 noise 6

The same can also be said of ukuleles and tutus.

 noise 4

Should these musicians modify their sign? If you like moderate, conversationally appropriate sound, please stick around …


Don’t worry, City Council; the tuba is merely here to visually accentuate the emphatic clapping happening to the left.


Perhaps we should rename all second lines that travel through the Vieux Carre “polite chatting ques’.”


And finally, the poster child for “The Seven Essentials.”

Want more on the sound ordinance? Click here for an article by NolaVie president Sharon Litwin, click here for Jonathan Land’s graphic take on the issue, and here for a column about the controversy by Renee Peck.

Chelsea Lee is associate editor at NolaVie. Email comments to her at 


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