A consultant hired by the New Orleans City Council in January 2011 to study the city's "soundscape" and the existing noise ordinance formally presented his findings to the council's Housing and Human Needs Committee Monday.
David Woolworth of Oxford Acoustics said the city should designate someone to be in charge of enforcement of the city's noise ordinance, such as a dedicated sound officer, and make violations of the ordinance a civil offense instead of criminal, as it is now.
Woolworth also recommends a sound level cap for Bourbon Street, curbing irresponsible use of amplification, address low frequency pulsing noise and create a mechanism to deal with and track complaints.
The recommendations drew a mixed response from the public, some of them involved in the music industry.
"A number of the changes that are proposed looks like they would make the ordinance weaker than the existing one. Some of the recommendations make enforcement easier, which is important. Some of them seem to make it more difficult," one man said.
"I want to thank you for this comprehensive study which clearly establishes that noise is a significant public health issue and accurately describes the physical and mental effects of exposure to noise pollution," this woman said.
One supporter said Bourbon Street has become "an assault on the five senses" as clubs battle it out trying to "outloud" each other.