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The music, art and culture of our beloved city is under attack. From the harassment of Mardi Gras Indians and second lines to the closing of live music venues! All this from outsiders who know nothing of our culture and nothing of our history apart from the tourist dollars we so easily rake in. We love New Orleans for It’s diversity and spontaneity. Don’t make it like any other city!
What has happen to the city we love?
Our citizens are dying to retain the originality that brought these outsiders into the city to begin with. June 27, 2005 Mr. Tootie Montana died on the floor of the City Council after giving an impassioned speech. Have we met his demands of ending police harassment of Mardi Gras Indians? Is there any excuse considering the words which stopped his heart, “I want this to stop!”
In March of 2011 Donna’s on Rampart a historical Jazz club which has been operating for years lost their music license. “This is nothing more than an attack on the New Orleans culture in our neighborhood, “ said owner Morris Kahn. “There are a lot of ‘code words’ being used by people who don’t want ‘those people’ in their neighborhood. To say the least, I’m very disappointed at the way this has turned out.” Some say things were fine till the high rise condos went up down the street.
On March 6 2011 The krew of Eris Marching parade clashed in the Marigny area, resulting in some marchers being struck with stun guns beaten and harassed , and at least six officers being injured. A few days latter Plan B bicycle shop, a nonprofit community oriented group along with Iron rail a tax payer free community library were shut down.
We need laws based on common sense and historical relevance or our culture will drown in a sea of bureaucratic red tape. On February 27, 2011 the NOLA Designer Costume Bazaar was shuttered at Blue Nile. Did 20 years of success deserve such treatment? Costume designers and local artists pour their hearts into Mardi Gras each year. Over 20 lost the opportunity to share their work with those who want it. Why? A permit violation.
Bacchanal Wine Bar, a much loved Bywater community haunt is facing forced closure. Years of live music and celebration are threatened by “Noise Complaints.” New people moved in town, into our neighborhood, and the days of this one of a kind place may very well be numbered. Desperados restaurant, perched on our most musical street, was denied a music permit and then shut their doors this summer due to a lack of business. MUSIC IS THIS CITY’S BUSINESS! Stop the music, the city stops too! Commerce suffers! Why deny Music permits when Music is what makes New Orleans the tourist attraction it is?
How are we to continue our reign of creativity when brass bands can no longer welcome to play spontaneously in our streets? How else can we motivate our youth to greatness when the very things that have made our city so great are being gentrified and discouraged? How will we continue to attract the great artist and dreamers when our city becomes as plastic and packaged as the ones they leave behind? When will we finally say, “enough” to the watering down of our culture? In the immortal words of Tootie Montana, “WE WANT THIS TO STOP!”