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Old 02-07-11, 12:33 AM   #1
GlassHarper
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Angry Performer Hassles in New Orleans

This is a slightly edited e-mail sent out by Roselyn Lionhart, a politically active long-time street entertainer (with her husband David). This is the first volley in a sea-change battle that may take months to resolve. Just be aware, if you plan coming to N.O. as a travelling performer, that the war we all thought had been settled by a Federal Court order back in the early ninties may be turning from cold to hot!

I'll be at this preliminary meeting (even though it is awfully early in the day) and will try to keep y'all informed. No formal action will be taken at this meeting.

"A meeting has been called for Mon Feb 7, 10:00 am at City Hall Council Chambers by VCPORA ... to report on their Task Force sponsored by Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer concerning Jackson Sq. and The French Quarter.Among their suggestions are licensing required for street performers and tarot readers and investigating applicants before licenses are allocated, outlawing amps (while horns blow us off the street?), limiting umbrellas to 6' (per person?, per group?), have all performers and tarot readers' signs pre-approved by the Vieux Carre Committee, establish a foundation to manage the Square, etc.

"See http://www.vcpora.org/article.php/20110124134731988 for more detail.

[NOTE: Notice in the list of the committee names not a single performer or musician was included even though I had urged Councilperson Palmer to get input from our community.]

"These are all ways to control the street entertainers, eliminate the ones they do not like, prevent people from out of town or the country from performing. The last time they tried licensing, they charged $25.00 the first year, $35.00 the second year, $50.00 the third year, per person, not group and arrested a group of unlicensed children who had a lawyer relative who sued the city, ending licensing.

"Another time, a Federal Judge told them no. He asked VCPORA’s rep, “If I want to go down to the Square on a Friday night with some friends and make music, would I be arrested for not having a license?” The woman stammered, “Yes.” But they'll be back again and again like a bad dream because they want the French Quarter to be their own bailiwick, a quiet country lane in the middle of a busy metropolis.

"Please come to the meeting and see for yourself. Thanks."

Roselyn Lionhart, Member of Board of Directors Coalition for the Preservation of Street Entertainment (CoPASE).
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Old 02-09-11, 07:51 PM   #2
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It appears the "Task Force" has backed off it's demand that musicians get a license. I suspect they were reminded by counsel that this would be seen as an infringement on our First Amendment rights, which has been confirmed in several Federal Court filings, which resulted in injunctions against enforcement of egregious bans enacted back in the 1990's. They still appear to be fixated on the psychics and Tarot card readers and definitely intend to attempt banning amplifiers and "temporary structures" such as shade umbrellas. Both of these bans will certainly be challenged -- in the hot sun of Spring and Summer umbrellas are a necessity for the sake of the health of the performers. No mention, so far, of magicians, jugglers and/or tumblers and break dancers, but we certainly can expect some verbiage in whatever legislaton proceeds out of this travesty. It's likely to be several months before an actual ordinance is drafted.
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Old 02-26-11, 10:14 AM   #3
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Oy sounds like tons of fun there.....all in time for Mardi Gras! We should be in town March 7 - 10th I think right now. I have a few performing friends there who said they'd show me good spots to perform. Hopefully nothing bad happens w the law. Cya all in a bit
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Old 02-27-11, 08:17 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear all the hassles in NOLA these days. As you know we all fought hard back in the early '90's for no license and won with the help of all the street performers and Mary Howell. Is she still in NOLA? Let us all know what's happening and a big hello to David and Roseland. I'm still in Key West but may do a cross country trip this spring and summer out west. Peace to you and all.
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Old 04-11-11, 12:53 PM   #5
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Hi, Peter, was nice seeing you working on the Square for French Quarter fest...I have a question to you, or anybody who knows the answer - why French Market Security is policing river side of Jackson Square and why Aquarium security are policing the Moonwalk? When did these areas became 'private property"? I was kicked out on Friday from the corner spot near Brewery on the river side, and for the last 3 years Aquarium security is kicking everybody out from the Moonwalk during Lundi Gras and French Quarter Fest ...not just illigal vendors, but street performers also...and they kick out fishermen from the river also, and I heard that at night cops kick out anybody from Moonwalk and tell them 'The River is closed"...What's going on?
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