Our Grand Duchess addresses noise and the variety of goods in the village

The ebb and flow of one’s life surely depends on how the people in it come and go; sometimes they arrive with a violently flung open door (BANG!) and then others come as a soft voice at your shoulder, amusedly calling your name as you stand staring with mouth unfortunately open at how the windows along Pirate’s Alley can be viewed now because of the redone landscaping in St. Anthony’s garden at the back of the Cathedral.

The Grand Duchess came back into my life in the second way (of course) and confessed she had left her carriage (really her car, but she calls all cars carriages) when she noticed me standing at Orleans and Royal. Her car was still waiting for her, so she asked me to call on her in an hour or so as “there was something she wanted to discuss with me.”

After an hour exactly, I made my way to her house and was shooed in efficiently yet warmly by Miss Maude and told to wait in the usual room. I poured a lemon ginger drink from the ever standing pitcher and looked down at her lovely courtyard garden which, in the old style was gloriously tangled and full of colors and smells even from the second floor. One of her many cats joined me at the open window, so was rewarded with a head scratch; this one was named either Sally Rand or Germanicus.

She bade me to sit and asked me to share what news I had about the “staff on Loyola Avenue” and their recent activities concerning noise ordinances and shops selling t-shirts. I shared what I knew, adding any asides that I felt would help her decrees, as previous experience told me she appreciated any added opinion. After listening carefully and asking a series of clarifying questions, she asked me to write and share this with her people:
As Grand Duchess of the Vieux Carre, we say thusly: We applaud the staff on Loyola’s attention to the matter of increased disruption of the quality of life and quality of commerce of many of our residents, well-respected small businesses and buskers. It is true that we have noticed an increased lack of civility among some owners of amplified clubs, as well as some owners of shops that offer sweet gifts to commemorate visits to our village. Some have extended their sound or visual range to overtake that of their neighbor, reducing the opportunity for an indiscreet aside or quiet proposition among walkers which is unfortunate for those in search of such an opportunity. This should be addressed to ensure that over amplified sound is measured and curbed by constables of all orders and those in uniform or deputized by them should be allowed to unplug the offender after measuring the noise at the door. Noise-meaning that which constantly interrupts or overtakes other sound-is the enemy of the musically inclined after all and lovely sounds should not be eclipsed by turning up the volume higher than one’s neighbor. However, those that make their way through our streets offering performance without amplification should be allowed to do so up until the last seating of our area’s fine dining restaurants. (DW note: by my estimation, that makes it between 10-12 midnight on most nights). As noticed in earlier decrees, the idea of allowing buskers to roam is vital, but it is also important that no busker takes control of any spot for more than 8 hours at one time.
As to the proliferation of shops, it is true that for those of us hurrying to market, it is difficult to get there without being tangled in metal, fabric or wooden extensions often spilling to the banquette. We do applaud the staff’s attention to this matter, but it also must be acknowledged that those of us residing in the village proper do welcome the ability to choose from among so many establishments and should in no way be seen as willing to lose that charm and availability. Therefore, we caution the staff to patiently curate the tout ensemble of our village and to restrain any overcorrection. We will also caution the staff to deal fairly with ALL of the shops that offer visitors the chance to purchase goods that offer our name emblazoned across one’s bodice or bustle among other delightful tokens, and not only to argue against those that have been singled out previously, no matter how regularly some point in one direction. We might recommend that the staff employ weekend eyes to gauge the ongoing issues in real time; we are sure that many would be happy to wield clipboard and camera capturing problem areas, adding resident/shop owner councils on each street to oversee these practices. The staff and their representatives might also consider adding incentives for shop owners to bring more varied goods to the village and awards for those who incorporate the most agreeable entrances and facades. It is important to us that we continue to welcome those who are willing to risk their purse to add value to the village, so any change that must be made must be made evenly and with restraint.

About D.W.

Works as an independent researcher, trainer and analyst for public markets and on larger community food systems. Also works in her home of New Orleans LA on sustainable civil society issues through blogging, community organizing and networking.

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