Hancock County

City attorney’s discovery delivers a quiet blow to Bay St. Louis bars

The Depot District is in Bay St. Louis. The City Council held a workshop Sept. 12 to hear concerns from residents over loud noise from the district late at night.
The Depot District is in Bay St. Louis. The City Council held a workshop Sept. 12 to hear concerns from residents over loud noise from the district late at night. jfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

The City Council spent about two hours Tuesday discussing ways to enact an ordinance to quiet the loud music coming from bars in the Depot District late at night. Then the city attorney discovered the Bay already has such an ordinance.

Numerous residents said at the meeting the music is preventing them from sleeping, and drunken bar patrons are stumbling around homes, using profane language and getting into fights.

Bar and tavern owners, on the other hand, are worried the restrictions might drive the crowds away and hurt their business.

One woman challenged the notion that a moratorium on loud music would drive away a bar’s patrons.

“Will nobody drink unless the music is deafening?” she said.

The council had begun efforts to tackle the issue back in September, forming a committee of residents and bar owners in an effort to consider solutions.

The committee, however, failed to reach an agreement, and its members made little effort to attend meetings or negotiate.

For about two hours at Tuesday’s meeting, the council brainstormed restrictions on decibel levels, operating hours, outdoor patio speakers and other factors. City Attorney Trent Favre then interrupted, holding up a sheet of paper detailing a noise ordinance enacted years ago.

That ordinance prohibits buildings from using any outdoor speakers or sound devices without a permit. It also prohibits anyone from playing music in a building that is loud enough to be heard through a window or door.

“All you have to do is enforce it,” Favre told the council.

Council President Lonnie Falgout informed Bay St. Louis Police Capt. Wes Mayley of the newly discovered ordinance and asked the acting chief to enforce it.

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