Saturday, July 10, 2010

It must be all the Corexit in the air

At 8:01 p.m. in New Orleans, you can stagger down Bourbon Street laughing and yelling like a lunatic.

At 8:02 p.m., you can lose your lunch in the gutter in front of Pat O'Brien's.

At 8:03 p.m. in the quarter, you can buy a T-shirt whose message begins with an F and ends with a K and has nothing to do with "fire truck." Then you can wear it into a titty bar, where the entertainment wears no shirt a-tall.

At 8:47 p.m., you can stagger out of the titty bar drunk as a skunk and randy as a junior U.S. senator from the Gret Stet . . . and once again upchuck into the gutter.

And at 9:14 p.m., you can randomly yell,
"Heeeeyyy! Rock annnnnnd rolllllllllll!"

ALL THIS MEANS is you're from Iowa, and you're having a fine time in the Big Easy. Good for you; the city is happy to take your money.

But if it happens to be 8:01 p.m., and you happen to actually be from New Orleans, and you're standing on a French Quarter street corner
playing music for the drunken, yelling and puking tourists . . . your ass is in trouble, Cap.

New Orleans has gone stark, raving
(and tourism-killing) mad, and The Daily Reveille at LSU is here to tell you about it:
The curfew, which is being put into effect amid an abundance of protest, makes it unlawful for street entertainment to be performed between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from the entertainment district of Bourbon Street to Canal and St. Ann streets.

Another ordinance brought to the musicians’ attention makes it unlawful for any person to play a musical instrument on any public right-of-way in the city between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. unless granted a permit.

Now, in addition to their trumpets and saxophones, the members of To Be Continued and other musical staples of the French Quarter can often be seen holding signs reading “Please Don’t Stop the Music” and other marks of protest.

“[Bourbon Street] is the birthplace of what we do,” said Sean Roberts, a trumpet player in To Be Continued. “It’s the most famous street for people to come and see what you invented, and we are a representation of that. So why wouldn’t you want your representatives to represent you?”

Roberts is one of many musicians currently in discussion with New Orleans law enforcement to find a way to make the ordinance mutually beneficial for the residents of the city and the entertainers.

Lisa Palumbo, manager of To Be Continued and marketing professor at the University of New Orleans, said the band — which has performed in the French Quarter since 2002 — never had a problem with playing its music until a few weeks ago.

“We’re not trying to make the French Quarter unavailable for anybody, but the 100 block of Bourbon is there for entertainment and commercial purposes,” Palumbo said. “We’re not trying to play all day or all night in any area. We’re just looking for a curfew that is reasonable for all parties involved.”
PERSONALLY, I blame it on all the Corexit oil dispersant BP is spraying into the atmosphere and on the water all around the Louisiana coast.

Now, if any New Orleans musicians might like to play sans harassment by the cops, we'd be glad to have them in Omaha. In the Old Market, they don't roll up the sidewalks at 8.

1 comment:

nettiemac said...

Seriously??? They're outlawing busking? Never big to the Big Easy, but I would absolutely expect there to be all manner of street entertainment. Heck, I went to college in Charleston SC (another tourist hot spot), and believe me, that's one rule that would never fly.

It's gotta be the chemicals, man. No other explanation.

Word verification: sup,gr? You mah dawg, gr? word!