Famed NOLA entertainer learns the true meaning of noise pollution


Some folks are born New Orleanians (like me) but many others fall in love with the Crescent City and adopt it as their own, including some Hollywood celebrities. Harry Shearer — star of “This is Spinal Tap” and TV’s “The Simpsons,” and formerly of “Saturday Night Live” — is one of these. He’s done a lot more than just buy a home here — he’s become quite an an active citizen, very involved in getting to the truth of the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina.

He’s a good man, but like a few other folks he wasn’t sure what the fuss about noise pollution in the French Quarter and other New Orleans neighborhoods was all about. On his national radio show, “Le Show,” he once voiced concern that enforcing noise laws would have a harsh impact on the city’s fabled live music scene. Of course, the reality is that our group has nothing against great music — that’s why it’s called “Hear the Music, Stop the Noise” — but is very much against aural assaults on citizens of New Orleans, from unregulated nuisance bars and other unnecessary sources. Noise that can cause permanent hearing damage, or worse.

Now I would imagine that Harry Shearer sees the noise problem in New Orleans from a different point of view

NEW ORLEANS – A local actor who participated in the 2012 Bacchus parade is suing the disc jockey hired to provide music on the float after allegedly sustaining injury to his hearing following the parade ride.

Harry Shearer filed a lawsuit against Rock-It Productions Inc., Global Indemnity Group Inc. and Penn-America Insurance Co. in the Orleans Parish Central District Court on Feb. 13.

Shearer claims that he was unable to move from his assigned position on the Bacchawhoppa float in the Bacchus parade after being strapped in behind a loudspeaker. He claims he was diagnosed with a case of tinnitus due to the defendant’s negligence and refusal to lower the volume or supply ear plugs.

I am so sorry this happened, but it does illustrate exactly why we fight over noise pollution. It shows that noise pollution tends to be completely unnecessary, and also unregulated. “Hear the Music, Stop the Noise” supports the city’s amazing musicians, but it’s trying to stop these senseless sounds that bombard New Orleans at all hours in the dead of night, or from something as innocuous as a parade loudspeaker. And we’re pleading with the mayor and the city’s other political leaders to join us, to pass a stronger noise ordinance and enforce the laws that are already on the books.

Harry Shearer, a man renowned the world over for his voice, should be able to enjoy life in New Orleans without losing his hearing. 

To learn more about Harry Shearer’s lawsuit over noise damage in a 2012 Mardi Gras parade, please read: http://louisianarecord.com/news/251133-harry-shearer-sues-dj-over-hearing-loss-due-to-performance-on-2012-bacchus-mardi-gras-float

To keep informed about the battle for balance in New Orleans, visit the “Hear The Music Stop the Noise” website – and sign our petition: http://hearthenolamusic.org

Please visit and “like” our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HeartheNolaMusic

You can read my April 17 blog post about the city’s failure to enforce noise laws at: https://www.stuarthsmith.com/city-of-new-orleans-breakdown-in-enforcing-noise-laws-is-an-assault-on-civil-society/

You can learn more about the noise assault on New Orleans neighborhoods from the BUKU Festival in my March 20, 2013 post: https://www.stuarthsmith.com/buku-carries-assault-on-neighborhoods-to-new-noisy-level/

To read my Aug. 3, 2012, blog post about noise pollution from New Orleans to New York, please check out: https://www.stuarthsmith.com/from-new-york-to-new-orleans-noise-pollution-terrorizes-the-public/

Check out my Feb. 9, 2012 blog post about New Orleans noise pollution at: https://www.stuarthsmith.com/when-the-party-gets-too-loud-new-orleans-residents-wither-under-noise-pollution

© Smith Stag, LLC 2013 – All Rights Reserved

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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