Monday afternoon, a collection of French Quarter workers and residents gathered inside a ballroom in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel to help shape a possible noise ordinance for New Orleans.
A previous attempt was recently abandoned after attracting criticism and concern.
Some business owners in the French Quarter fear a noise ordinance will require them to muzzle the music that keeps their business pumping. On the other side of the issue, some French Quarter residents claim the booming sound is increasingly driven by louder amplifiers and is rattling homes in the city’s oldest neighborhood.
This time around, an acoustical consultant named David Woolworth is participating in the process. During Monday’s first meeting, of at least three, Woolworth began explaining the ways he measures sound and what factors can affect noise levels.
Woolworth told the crowd that everything from crowd noise to open shutters can affect sound levels. He says the group’s first priority should be creating a noise ordinance that can be adhered to and enforced.
“There’s a whole set of parts to the equation. And we want to try to solve each problem with whatever pieces we can use,” Woolworth told WGNO News.
Some people at the meeting want any noise ordinance to also include volumes for vehicles like loud motorcycles. They also want to bring in a wider spectrum of experts.
“Structural engineers who can evaluate the effect of high volume, low frequencies sound on these 100, 200 year old buildings,” said French Quarter resident Henry Shearer.
The groups next meeting is at 3:00 on Monday, February 24, at 3:00 in the afternoon in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. After meeting at the hotel, the group will participate in what’s called a sound walk of the Quarter. The goal is to get a general idea of what sounds are considered to be too loud and which are acceptable.