Government & Politics

Council works to rein in cameras at meetings

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

Quietly and with no discussion, the City Council broadened the definition Thursday of what constitutes disturbing the peace during its meetings, asserting control over where people can stand to record public meetings.

Anyone who plans to record or broadcast meetings, either with audio or video, is now required to register with the council clerk before the meeting. The clerk will assign a position in chambers for that person to stand. The provision does not apply to those who are seated.

The clerk is not allowed to assign in a position that would be “unreasonable.”

The change appears to be aimed at local activist Sandra “18 Wheeler” Hester, who frequently appears at council meetings and has filmed the proceedings while roaming the room.

Perhaps one of the last wandering cameramen enters the City Council chambers and starts recording on the same day that the council voted to limit such recording. Photo by Karen Gadbois

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.