That Blows

Jun 16, 2010 by

The fine print on the ordinances that gave the NOPD the authority to boot the TBC Brass Band off Bourbon and Canal last night had this to say about the noise curfews:

Sec. 66-205. Persons playing musical instruments on public rights-of-way. It shall be unlawful for any person to play musical instruments on public rights-of-way between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m….

Sec. 66-138. Exemptions from Table 1.
The following are exempt from the sound level limits of Table 1:
(1) Domestic power tools, lawn mowers and agricultural equipment, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. weekdays and 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekends.

Lawn mowers and leaf blowers are given two hours more to make noise on the streets than unamplified musicians are.

Lawn mowers and leaf blowers, people. The ones that use gasoline. The latter of the abovementioned lawn care implements is actually banned from some communities in this country, or its uses are severely curtailed by requirements for the leaf blowers to be low-decibel or by fines for improper usage…and it’s allowed more time on the streets of New Orleans to make its noise than musicians are allowed to share their music with the public.

So, how to get your two hours more of music in without its coming from a conventional musical instrument?

  1. Get the Noisician Coalition to design a musical leaf blower.
  2. Get some more classical works such as Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” reworked with the inclusion of the noises of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. C’mon, folks, I know you can think of some standards that could use some mowing accompaniment.
  3. Load the leaf blower sound effect into any music program of your choice and get some synthesizer effects going with it. If Ferris Bueller can do it to simulate sickness, you can simulate a leaf blower rocking out, too.
  4. Or just play this song in City Council chambers.
  5. Get this guy to teach the youth of New Orleans a different kind of leaf blowing – gets one’s technique down for playing reed instruments, it’s easily disposed of if the cops are coming your way, and all it needs is some amplification…or a bunch of people doing the same thing can make that music plenty loud and show your numbers to the authorities all at the same time.

Or you can do any of a few things that Coozan Pat has compiled in protesting this state of affairs – join the Don’t Stop The Music group on Facebook, read his letter to the pertinent councilmembers and law enforcement officials and let it inspire you to write your own on this subject, and keep an eye on the Gambit‘s Blog of New Orleans for further developments.


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