They came with their trumpets. With their trombones and their tubas, too.
They came to make a lot of noise.
And they silenced an effort to turn down the volume in one of America’s loudest cities.
Specifically, some 300 musicians who gathered outside New Orleans City Hall last Friday wanted to show their opposition to a proposed noise ordinance that would have set lower legal limits for decibel levels in the French Quarter. The new rules would have also changed how the police measured the level of noise before deciding if a citation was in order.
“The thing a noise ordinance has to have foremost in mind is the music and culture of the city, which is a huge part of our history and our traditions here,” said Hannah Kreiger-Benson, spokeswoman for the Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans, a broad-based group that includes musicians, artists, venue owners, music lovers and even lawyers.
It’s a group that believes “music and culture people have to be a part of the policy and government process,” said Kreiger-Benson, who makes her living playing the piano and trumpet and works with MACCNO in her free time.
The proposed ordinance was the result of months of study by the City Council, which hired David Woolworth, principal of Mississippi-based Oxford Acoustics and a nationally known expert in the science of sound.
Woolworth's report recommended setting a lower decibel limit for Bourbon Street and other areas of the city known for loud nightclubs and street entertainment.