How loud the music emanating from New Orleans bars and clubs should be has long been a contentious issue, becoming even more heated in recent years.
Police in 2010 cracked down on young brass band musicians playing in the street near Bourbon and Canal, sparking outraged cries that they were squelching the city’s homegrown music culture. Controversy also has arisen about clubs on Frenchmen Street and other live-music hotspots in mostly residential neighborhoods, though the focus of the dispute is the French Quarter.
Kevin Erickson, a communications associate for the Future of Music Coalition who specializes in live music policy, said those differences, though seemingly small, would result in a significantly quieter French Quarter. “Five decibels can be a meaningful difference because we’re talking about a logarithmic scale,” he said. “A 10-decibel difference is generally thought to be perceived as about twice as loud.”