SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Mayor Tom Arceneaux vetoed two ordinances recently passed by the Shreveport City Council and hand-delivered a message to the Interim Clerk of Council.

In the message about the veto, Mayor Arceneaux explained, “Because Ordinances 110 and 111 were drafted to be implemented together, the veto or Ordinance 110 requires the veto of Ordinance 111, and I have vetoed that Ordinance.”

Ordinance 110 was created to “curtail excessive noise from amplified sound.”

Shreveport attorney Tom Arceneaux while running for Shreveport mayor in the Nov. 8, 2022 election. (Source: KTAL/KMSS Staff)

Part of the reason the mayor vetoed Ordinance 110, according to him, was because “Louisiana law, based on long-established principles of Roman law, requires individuals and businesses not to exercise their rights in a way that interferes with other individuals’ enjoyment of their rights.”

The mayor stressed that the Louisiana Civil Code embodies these principles.

Arceneaux sees it as a significant right to be in one’s home without being bombarded by unwanted amplified sounds.

“A permitted sound level for someone at their property (not the property of the one amplifying the sound) of 85 dB destroys that right. Thus, I have concluded that the existing noise ordinance is better than Ordinance 110 as passed by the council.”

He also said there is no reason why people must barricade themselves in their homes to avoid unbearable and constant noise from a source with the means to prevent the intrusion.  Arceneaux believes “a proper policy would balance the desirability of entertainment downtown with the desirability of business viability and residential livability downtown.”

Ordinance 110 would have permitted clubs and restaurants outside the downtown area to produce sound that would register at up to 85 dB. The mayor said that is an unacceptable result, as a level of 85 dB will disturb residents and others in the area for several blocks.

“I have personally been to the Entertainment District (as defined in Ordinance 110) between midnight and 2 a.m., and I can attest that the music and commentary coming from the patio premises was so loud that I could not carry on a conversation with the person standing next to me, even though I was 50 feet or more from the establishment generating the sound.”

Arceneaux said the sound was also constant, not intermittent, and that he believes club owners and other stakeholders would be served better by an ordinance that allows a maximum of 70 dB between 7 a.m. and 1:59 a.m.

Mayor Arceneaux points out that sounds at or above 70 dB cause hearing loss. 85 dB is 15 times more intense than 70 dB.

Approximately 10 million adults, and more than 5 million children in the U.S., currently suffer from irreversible noise-induced hearing impairment.

Thirty million people are exposed to dangerous levels of noise each and every day in the United States.  

Scientific studies, such as this one, have proven that auditory sensitivities are common among people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sensitivity to sound is one of the most commonly reported sensory sensitivities with ASD, and clinical studies and observations have shown that people with ASD perceive sounds as more intense than those without ASD. Difficulties related to these stimuli lead to a “sensory overload” and a hyper-reaction in many people on the autistic spectrum.  Autism affects approximately 1 in every 36 American children.

“If the clubs involved invested in equipment and materials to contain their patio sound to their patios, all businesses and residents would be well-served and could live, work, and play in harmony. That should be the goal.”

The mayor is also asking the Shreveport Police Department to enforce the existing ordinance until a new one has passed.

This is a developing story, and new information will be provided as it becomes available.