NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Part of New Orleans’ rich culture is walking down the street and hearing music block to block.
Last year, an interpretation of a city law by the Department of Safety and Permits threatened to silence the music, to new businesses.
"Safety and Permits submitted a determination based on a technicality in the zoning ordinance that no new business could have outdoor live entertainment anywhere in the city," said Music & Culture Coalition of New Orleans Executive Director Ethan Ellestad.
Thursday, January 16, 2020, all council members voted to support an effort to study how other cities zone and regulate live outdoor entertainment.
"The magic of New Orleans is it's culture and we need to be very intentional in our efforts to make sure we don't do anything to inhibit the growth of that," said council member Jay H. Banks.
The study is for land-use only for established businesses like bars and restaurants. It does not include second lines.
"So, the idea by not allowing any new businesses to have live music going forward, even if existing businesses could continue to have it,” Ellestad said. “Slowly businesses close and if nobody new could open up not matter what happens that would slowly change the character of what happens in New Orleans."
Council members say they are trying to prevent a change in the city’s culture.
"I believe we are at an inflection point in our city,” said council member Kristin Gisleson Palmer. “We have seen an increase influx in different development pressures, population shifts some by choice others not."
The nine-month study will also look at when businesses started playing music.
Ellestad says for the study to be successful, everyone has to be involved.
“Musician’s whose livelihood, small businesses whose business model is on it, need to be at the table and fully at the table.”
"It is important as a government that we create a transparent process to ensure that those voices are heard and that we create a clear set of rules and regulations to protect our culture and our quality of life," said Palmer.
Once the study is completed any recommendations will need to be approved by council.