“We’re treading water right now,” says Luke Allen, co-owner of the St. Claude Avenue club Siberia, one of the primary targets of Mayor Landrieu’s recent crackdown on “nuisance ABOs.”
To avoid incurring any unnecesary fines, Siberia heeded the warnings of city attorneys and silenced it’s stage in mid-July. Since pulling the plug on live entertainment, the club has kept its kitchen open and filled its nighttime schedule with a variety of themed events such as dance parties, trivia contests and stand-up comedy showcases. Prior to the crackdown, Siberia had established itself as a home for up-and-coming, outside-of-the-norm bands around New Orleans as well as the city’s go-to spot for underground metal and punk shows. Despite genre-related perceptions, neighbors and the music scene alike welcomed its presence.
“In the two years we’ve been around, we’ve had very few complaints,” says Siberia’s talent buyer and co-owner Matt Russell. Unfortunately due to Hurricane Isaac, Siberia’s permit hearing with New Orleans’ City Planning Commission has been delayed. Though disheartening, Russell remains optimistic that the club can make its case before the commission within the next two months.
Recently, Siberia received three temporary live entertainment permits, each allowing for three nights of entertainment (9 nights total). With a lineup in place, every night from Wednesday, October 10 through Tuesday, October 16 and for Halloween weekend, bands will once again take to Siberia’s stage.