On August 10, the City Planning Commission held a meeting where they discussed the future of The Broadside’s zoning and permitting. The venue, which opened up in the fall of 2020, is the sister business of The Broad Theater and has been holding live, outdoor music while indoor shows are especially unsafe. Temporary permit rules allowed outdoor live music to exist over the past year, but it’s unclear when those rules expire. The Broadside has been working for a zoning change that would allow the venue to permanently have outdoor live music. During the City Planning Commission meeting, commissioners noted that they supported the venue, but without a text amendment—which would change the restrictions that apply to The Broadside’s zoning classification and would happen at the City Council level—there was little they could do. The text amendment change would open up possibilities for other venues also seeking to host live outdoor music. There were 16 public comments submitted, all in favor of The Broadside being allowed to host outdoor shows.
The Broadside Theater has been an indispensable space during this miserable pandemic because it has provided a venue to celebrate its musical culture free from the stultifying constraints imposed by the industry which now dominates so many of our music venues… It is exactly the sort of development the City should be encouraging, and its worth to the community will extend far beyond this emergency period.11 Benjamin L.
I believe it is in our city’s best interest to support this outdoor music venue as it has supported us. The Broadside has been a lifesaver for musicians in our community, providing a place to work and sustaining our musical incomes while also providing our community with a safe and responsible way to enjoy our culture. This is a venue that provides a totally different experience than the venues in the Quarter or on Frenchmen St. We Have played music in venues all over this city and I see the Broadside becoming a new cultural staple in our community. 22. Jeremy K.
New Orleans musicians play outside, especially the brass bands. It’s part of our history and unique culture. Now that these fantastic venues, which end the live music early in the evening, are a real possibility, I ask and plead with you to give it a chance. We know it’s safer to play outside.33. Craig K.
The business has provided badly needed income for musicians, support staff and service industry workers, and given countless residents a respite from the mental and physical stress of the pandemic.44. Ethan E.
COVID taught us many lessons and we should adapt. The Broadside is one of the safest music venues in New Orleans – and their response to COVID is one that should be applauded and supported… The venue is safe, kid friendly, and good for our city’s musicians.55. Devin D.
To follow up on this issue, you can email your City councilmembers or the mayor’s office. To submit a public comment, follow instructions at council.nola.gov. Interested in reading all comments after a meeting? You can email your councilmember or file a public records request.
illustration by Sadie Wiese