WWL>Topics>>3-14-14 12:10pm Don Dubuc: on the French Quarter noise ordinance

3-14-14 12:10pm Don Dubuc: on the French Quarter noise ordinance

Mar 14, 2014|

Don Dubuc talks with acoustics expert David Woolworth about the city's fight over a noise ordinance for the French Quarter.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

And good afternoon courses Don with the on Friday -- the Friday edition of the think tank on a gorgeous Friday Obama -- this weather will last through the weekend but the weatherman saying -- neck and quite make it but let's enjoy it. While we've got to all right this is up third and final hour in case you didn't see it an issue here in New Orleans made national headlines in the New York Times. I'm talking about a noise debate going on around urban street in in the French Quarter. It's continuing on we have an acoustics expert that was hired by the New Orleans City Council to measure the noise on Bourbon Street in order to help them. Arrive at some type of -- conclusion -- solution to the problem David -- David thanks for coming in appreciated thank you John. About what you do and acoustics expert. Disputed backgrounds my work is an architectural acoustics -- noise control and so we do everything from. Designing buildings insulating from noise but also designing let's say recording studios or radio studios for instance. And and I could be anything from somebody as a we had that we had a unitarian church we had a toilet. That you can hear in the confessional and so every time father said you're forgiven the toilet -- you can hear. And and so that we try to we've solved those kinds of problems we designed buildings we look at environmental noise. Environmental impact statements and continuation mansion so it gives an idea its its very diverse industrial work. Have you ever been asked to come give testimony a court case because there are some laws about decibel levels and violations of government -- as a witness them. -- sure a number of times most of the work. Or just let everything involves. A resident who you know we we that we represented resident. Who may have a noise problem wasn't without a nor source. What about individuals you know we've received some of these cases where. A vehicle pulls up but this loud noise and has laws on the books that's got to be a certain decibel level but whose prominent relevant accessible measuring instrument and a car. So I don't know how often does any citations written and happened at the -- any of those type of case you've been involved. Not when you talk about what would tell us what we call sort of a transient source -- comes and goes and that's a lot harder nailed that aren't. So getting a meter calibrated to catch somebody. And having the meter hand is very difficult so sometimes they have laws here that are more subject of and they say it's I can hear it clearly a hundred feet. Or whatever that's of these in Portland for for a boom the -- boom core. In a car that's excessively loud and then and so they can actually -- Spitzer -- if you can pull somebody over and that's it that's an enforceable. And how about measure in the levels in this football stadiums that's gotten via popular route measurement. And Reagan writes about who's allowed us play. Right I've seen a lot of that there's been a number of studies on those kinds of things -- That's not mine my 14% but I would do to BC a 14039. At at a stadium that they. Our remember what was it was it was it was -- out there yet. To allow us to. Well actually the reason we got to Ian thanks for coming again there was a store in New York Times written by Campbell Robertson. I'm talking about noise management in the city into long -- if you would bring us up to speed on what the controversy is. But Burma street in the French Quarter and what you were brought in to do for the City Council. Right. Originally I came into studies at the soundscape the city and look at the sound ordinance. And then make some recommendations and sort and I end up being the investigation sort of provide a road map for what we might too. Two. To carefully handle the city because it's it's got a lot of things going on some very busy city and for other cities quality of life means. Is -- something going on in New Orleans can get sleep his quality of life so it's very you know we we have to be but everybody a lot of things are. Important culturally and socially. And there's a lot of tourism. Money and there's business and so the question is how we handle it to make it. To improve the situation for the residents. How to read -- reach appointments and so that's where the study came into an in its present road map and what the season gate and you now let's look at the view -- entertainment which is district which -- suburban street. And as that is probably one of the thorniest. Problems and it's been going on for a long time so we're. Having to sort of -- and things have been status quo for a long time and when people fight about it it's we're trying to build bridges. Trying to put people together and try to find solutions that are going to be workable. Where. You know we we make it safe. And allow people to get some rest and we're talking about putting the other the Health Department to make it sound management program. Which will hopefully be in by the end of the year. Which hopefully that'll be a big thing to do as a proactive. Work. Compliance work management. Education. Those kinds of things. Did you interview the people that are at odds with these other may be that the bar and club owners and the residents themselves and what to -- here. Both sides well yes but spindle in the in this study took. In a year and a half so. But the but the but that we spoke -- residents and their complaints are are very I think very obvious you know it's too loud and too late to along kind of thing. And you know and I don't these it's typical to refute that. If if somebody decides they wanna do that I think because if you just stand out there its its its very loud and at times. And then. And I think it's. You know the borrowers or that -- the club owners that say just on bourbon you know there are you know it's sort of a competition and do what we're trying to say. That's not it's that's -- that's actually on the books it's against the law and use music to attract people well that's not necessarily force we have to think of other ways to go about it -- but I -- these owners wanna come to the table. And say what do I need to do and I think that's if we can keep it on that track. And I think we're. Long has that spirit of cooperation is there. And get the text in that says so what you got so many of them now lost the one who's on Wednesday. From. That wanted to know well you know you gotta realize of Burma street is going to be noisy if you don't like to them moved to the suburbs. Is every game. Discussions from the residents that things have changed over the last -- is that you know when they first moved in there wasn't quite as bad and now because of the technology all the equipment is being used it's much much louder -- I think that's one of the things it's it's certainly changed over time. And there was enforcement at one point and when Health Department. Dealt within the eighties early 8280 about 86 and then the police took over but there was not it was inconsistent after that. And they really had a harder time. Issuing tickets and things like that so I think what has gone it's just gradual creep and another thing is. I -- some of these people have been their for a long time but also as we as we age we -- also become more sensitive things. And you know that's if that's another fact we have to consider but. People should have and if they have a reasonably insulated home. They should be able to sleep and their and their place I don't understand the Burma she has its thing and it has placed they were talking that shutting it down. We're talking about saying this is that this is how loud we get you know and and it's still playing loud. There. We're talking with acoustics expert David Woolworth. About the noise issue the controversy going on number of history in the French Quarter it was enough to make ways that were -- in story appeared in the New York Times. When we come back we'll CEO what David is recommending if that was his role to make any. Salute arrive at a solution conclusions in what some of those suggestions might be if you -- -- resident of the French Quarter. And you've got an opinion on this I'd love to hear from you 260187. Toll free at 8668890878. Or you can simply shoot me a text at 8787. In the please remember to text responsibly also like to hear the other side of the coin if you are one of the club owners there. Or you being fairly treated are you being asked to do something that is contradictory. To a good business practice will be right back to listen to the think tank on WW well. And welcome back into the think tank this afternoon with thinking about the on noise problem in Burma street of the French Quarter -- not a problem -- summit is and that's why the City Council hired an acoustics expert David -- who's here in the studio with this too. Measure the noise and help but -- any solution that will keep both sides happy. I'm David we've got some Tex coming in in May -- -- comment on these ones as you working with on trained musicians and they play allowed plus the competition good -- in is that a problem. On trained musicians that -- familiar with gearing down the equipment off. Not found that not just in the French Quarter and in in in clubs but it wedding receptions. Bands have a tendency to wanna go way the oval -- -- give way to. And I would say that you. In terms of the musicians in general. There is say you know I guess you passes we have presentations for the French for management and talking a professionalism. Bridges and as we get better and better we start to understand our environment we play to our environment as in the huge. I think it's very important I think to -- but you know when you're young. That you know that that's not always the person you learn. You start with the scales and things but if you do that and -- and Melanie. But. You know in terms of it being on the street and know that the some of the older old time musicians are older folks have come out and say you know. They need to learn about dynamics and they and so I think group that this is something of course it's gonna be part of the educational process. The eventually. Hopefully going to be even better musicians. That cannot be even more professional about it. Good but I see your point insurance it's it's part of the equation but it that we have so many parts of the equation is that. -- that's just one part. During the break you mentioned a minute the onus needs to be on the club owners. On that we had someone attacks in and said that you know with the need to do is change the windows from a single -- to a triple payment and you get people -- -- that wind is opening up a screen and the weather's nice so who really is. It has to -- here. Well if you think about it. Yours yours yours sound source and you know you're impacting everyone around you so relief. The focus should fall on you but if if somebody's hypersensitive. Or if their house is not. Know at least in a reasonable stay on it actually the last sound to come in very easily so if you open your windows you're inviting outside in so you have to. There's a balance be struck here. But that the first party used to say. It's a sort of determine if we can. Acceptable levels. And that are -- -- for I say most people and then we're gonna have some issues with its specific issues and hopefully those issues can be solved. Through the senate measure program where we we do well in one piece at a time but when you don't get the lion's share first. Campbell Robertson in his article mentioned that there was this natural kind of a sustained -- dislike for urban street Tennessee that. Tulane professor Richard Campanella in his book mentioned he was quoted -- educated newcomers. And sophisticated visitors figure out quickly that declaring disdain -- suburban street. Is the first step toward showcasing your taste in gaining inside -- status. Did you find that there's this animosity and natural animosity towards Burma street I can't imagine it would be the people who. Actually most were expert mr. for the from what it can't be from the people live there but for the visitors and of people on the outer edges is that some dislike or did you did you just you know. I think I think you you find people of all stripes I think that you find. You know there's certain people who are working there there's certainly people who are. Owned businesses there and I'm sure. They're happy with the street. And that's why there. I think that it is a tourist attraction. And it's a bit it's a big thing it's known worldwide. That's that's sort of an important thing. I think he points on the articles is to slate I don't it's not article were but. Just like about your party without a plan to go to Burma street you know so that's sort of we have to understand that's that's sort of a reputation. At the street has. You know I don't know that there's as many locals going out to see you know if there's abandon -- you -- sure. But and it does cater to more -- ground I would say that it seems like that they've there's can there there has been concern expressed the unit's main. But this isn't the sort of a taste concerns like well this nontraditional music you know you -- if you. Given dance club you know so how is that -- -- I was. Significant. Rule -- that my -- and be protected in a way but it. These are these are to get into the rabbit hole questions. And questions of personal taste. We're hopefully -- sticking with some levels to some degree and that's what we'd like to corral it in in -- sort of inside that. At present. What is is there an ordinance in the house and enforced did you look at them and -- and people in violation of that -- did you find that in measuring the levels little isn't. You know my study was not it's a defining anybody in violation mice studies to collect information find an -- operating find out what. As acceptable how sound travels through the city. From Burma street now word and come up with -- ways to clearly. Measure I think one of the problems with the current ordinances. Little too burdensome and complex they have had a I you know I don't have a record of any convictions since 86. Or any tickets you know all the people who work for -- jobs you -- writing tickets because. -- too much and so the procedures of is a problem here and so we were moving away from that from his I'm recommending move away. And we look more towards a different method. Simpler. Quicker. And also the idea would be to allow makes them -- easy enough for the club owners understand where they can check if there in compliance or not so. Really they can do their own compliance checks. -- -- that helps them out. I were talking with David -- -- in acoustics expert was hired by the City Council New Orleans to. Basically measured the noise in -- street in the French Quarter and then offer some suggestions and solutions if you have any of those or if you are experiencing problems either as an owner or resident would like to hear from unit to six though. 187 ER 8668890878. Also you can add to -- text message board that -- -- -- crowded right now they 7870. Will be back to. Pick it up right where we're leaving it off right after the news from the big 870 WWL. And welcome back into the think -- go with us in the studio is David Woolworth and acoustics expert hired by the city of New Orleans a City Council to -- noise on Bourbon Street and also the French Quarter to -- arrive at some solutions for. Any potential conflicts between businesses trying journal live and in keeping two with urban street in the French Quarter result about entertainment. But at the same time to make residents feel like they are not being abused. With unnecessary what they might consider -- noise we welcome your phone calls at 260187. -- 8668890870. Also -- text messages and 8787. Get to those in the second but first we have James listening to us in Metairie on line one James thank you for you call. They go to Q and Hillary your guest. Future guests involved in the it's personal ways the use of bull horns in the French Quarter during -- special events like Marty -- -- let him answer that they. You changed the I'm not really quite sure. You're seeing just think during morning rather certain things that are sort of his hall passes. Given out for things like that I are you concerned about. I'm concerned about visitors and residents in the in the city in the crowded streets around urban street. People standing up there with sides or whatever which is fine they have a first amendment rights. -- to express themselves but the First Amendment is not absolute person -- to get on the this historic site unconcerned on the street corner of -- street. And say whatever he or she wants within reason. Using their natural voice. That's one thing but to use let's say in electronic application device. Such as a bullhorn and I don't even care elect a barker in front of the strip club board usable -- in a crowd. People passed by I've seen you know countless times people we have. Because of that you can't avoid it said that that's the issue of talking about. Right and I think you're. One of the things it will be trying to address is well what's -- which you've identified as an irresponsible use of amplification. In and this is specific suburban street right now and it probably extend to the corner. At some point but we have -- were just -- as one section right now I think you're. We see constitutionally. You can deal with time. Place and manner and we get to manner. We deal with how loud can -- -- These Japanese you couldn't set up the sound truck in other words it on the street corner with with something a blasting -- -- a deductibles and that we could agree on that. So it is just a matter -- you know what is acceptable what's not acceptable and I don't care if it's one -- saying using it or the other side in a crowded. French Quarter you know -- peak hours during Mardi Gras you can out of -- You know disallowed obnoxious -- used to bull horns and I I think that this should not be permitted natural voice yes. Electronically amplified to where it's. And and induce a nuisance or painful. To two passers by I think that's those those limits should be established and in enforced. Right I think that we talk about we're talking about your rounds. Can be interesting to propose a a born band during Mardi Gras it's council which is suggesting. That. You know and I don't know how that. Again we have constitutional issues but I think what we're we're we're trying to approach and and examine is. How loud these devices can be. And that's and that's sort of where were so if you're going to be on the street. You know this is this is the limit and then we're trying to make regional industry can be heard in the immediate area may -- but -- -- can hear -- a block away. Well I hope the council or someone takes setup because that it it it is a public nuisance. You know during you know during Mardi Gras people cannot avoid this because of the crowds and I again I hope the council or somebody from the mayor's office is listing about sixty times. Hey thank you want to thank you very much let's go to Jimmy and listening to us in all of those talk about audio monitoring Jimmie you're wrong with David more. You know who Warner says. I think what you do like audio and lawyer traffic camera so -- that -- version though audio. An issue like very read most citation on the institution. Or is that not. Definitive enough -- would know where it was coming out. Jimmy thanks for Colin I think. I think ago when you -- that the -- feels pretty complex over when we do with a violation. Let's emperor is you can elf queen news -- -- there's just one club and you set up fifty feet away you know that's the source it's one thing. All the sources blend together to form. Sort of mix of all -- cents. So that you have to have a monitor for each place so that's why we have that's why they're generating Health Department. -- enforcement percent and management group. And that would be where they walk out and look at each place individually. And you know the first step is compliance help them comply educating and getting on board and then with any -- everybody stays within. A set a set limit and then you know when people -- you have to bring him back him. Well absolutely it will. Aren't others wondered are -- bank. And that the called Jimmy I was gonna take a break you'll come back Brian and -- you'll be up first also got some text messages share -- -- late 7870 shooters one. Now you can call us at 260187. If you're outside the final four where particularly those of you may be listening by way of our live stream at WW dot com. We have been told we know before you and 8668890878. This is a think tank Good Friday afternoon from the big 87. I were talking about -- noise problems in the -- street area of the French Quarter view Correia David Woolworth has with a season acoustics expert that's been hired by the city new walls to kind of study the problem and maybe offer some suggestions. Bring the owners in the residence together and arrive at a solution. Let's talk to Brian in general line one Brian thanks for you call. However some power. -- listeners about one thing I just don't understand -- If you don't want to know is why would you moved there. We my family and I we just got that from Disney World market drop. You know we've met so many people from other states to love New Orleans. Any talk about the French Quarter they talk about the music in the food and -- that it is. -- -- -- -- I did that I hate to see anything changeable to meet directly -- -- and it -- I was a little boy about -- to ring in the -- and I was maybe four -- five years old walking around and I love it and I love it loud and home I hope it doesn't change envoy for his -- And around just take each I hate when people call in they complain about the knowledge it's it's affordable you don't like there was just don't live there. Com. And it is so you don't live here you don't understand how loud that you write that I wouldn't wanna live there but when I go there I wanna have fallen and I went dead. Spirit wants that music and home. I love it not completely be just the latest. Understand thank you -- Bryant on David. Why would then why is that not a solution of the problems say well you you live here you gotta you live -- and like it'll move out. Mean. I think you know Brian -- And I appreciate Bryant's call I think Brian made a point he says. -- -- change well it has changed. And that's maybe -- we have terrorist -- in the count is it has changed -- and that that. It may have gotten to a point now where was enough people who understand that including that the club people. That you got to. Too -- you know everybody agrees to some degree there's too late to out too long. And it's an everyday is different perception of what is what that is but if everybody generally says that's what they feel than. We're doing this for just sort of make -- corral it's again it's management it's not. It's not like register and turn off electricity. So we have to just keep that in mind. That that what we're trying to do is making. You can be -- inside fee if they manage if -- measures -- certain way you get inside -- club and haven't. You're splitting out if you want to -- recommended I recommend you know he's here here protection. Pity that they the clubs actually have hearing conservation programs and people should be aware that should be very careful because you don't get back what you lose it's very important but. I know that the a lot of a lot of people do -- you well you know that's her choice and they. And but but they don't have to put that I think and other people. Have you -- both sides to be willing to to to come to the table and and work this thing outdoors of one side that says an just draw a line we've we've got to stop this so they already to give and take alone. I think on on both sides -- gonna find people who. Who maybe don't want to. Budge from their position but I think for most people are are very -- small. -- -- I think most people are looking for a a solution some sort of solution and you know. You can use -- compromise you know but what we're doing is you're saying. The residents need to have. You know -- for trying to protect quality of life. And and for that for the majority. Or hurt we're trying to get everybody but I am afraid that the goal of a 100% will. Maybe an achievable but but that doesn't mean we can't. Do you individual situations and find solutions to those as well so we can try to get everybody. With that but there are the quarter is a tricky place because it's always old buildings in. You know it's never was meant for this. From the City Council and perhaps the mayor have you been given deadline and went to work on this so they're pretty much given you. That time that you think is gonna take to get this thing resolved. Well. I think at the end of march we're supposed to present. Her recommendations. And on Monday review of the housing human needs committee. To talk to them and and in the French Quarter management district in the afternoon people -- welcome to those meetings. And you know to give input and -- give feedback and discussion will be presenting the information haven't. Then we hope by the end of the month will have to think and for to be considered. For creating legislation and they have potentially -- after after that after the gruesome that processing of compliance period. So so the idea is again we -- a lot of a lot of feedback a lot of meetings a lot of elements trying to find out what people what's the what's the what are the easy solutions me. -- I think the more input the better is there another way for people to comment is there. Website or should they contact their individual Carlson who the counsel people that are responsible for that area that you deal. That would be Palmer and crystal ball would be that so I would say in a matter of fact it might be the best route he hasn't -- to those folks. They can go to any councilman -- is concerned. I think can be forwarded. But time is of the essence this point because of I think when he says it isn't enough time well. I don't know there's never enough time but but but -- but we have a really good. You know the the investigation of the city and took it took almost two years. And so we have a lot of information work with a starting point and so were refining the small partner. Well this issued in develop overnight and is not gonna get solved overnight as understanding goes from the article that was it goes back to the 1920s and thirties and problems with -- is that your. David thanks so much -- -- thank you business for shedding some light on this issue forests and understanding. In New York Times thought it was important enough to to write about in the national publications so all flu gets solved and maybe we'll get back on when. The content and conclusions. I that's about gonna wrap it up for me I'll be right back to tell he was coming up whatnot Angelo on open Mike after this time out thanks to listening to the think tank on WW well. I gonna be at the bow of the public utility gumbo cook off tomorrow morning come see me in -- Angela's up next with a great shields Dayton.