In a perfect world, neighbors would be friendly and helpful whenever you’d need them to be and otherwise out of the way. But this isn’t Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood; it’s real life, and in real life sometimes neighbors can be less than what society expects them to be. One of the most common annoyances among neighbors is noise pollution, but there are constructive ways to deal with the problem no matter how extreme it may be.
It’s important to consider how serious the problem is before taking action. If the issue is minor and one that may come with living in an apartment complex, it might not be appropriate to report. Considering that the New Orleans festival season is underway and that Jazz Fest is just around the corner, neighbors might be a little louder than normal, especially if they have guests in town. That’s not to say that if it is indeed a violation, it should be ignored, but make sure that it’s not just due to an out of character one-time occurrence, or due to a low tolerance or abnormal sensitivity to noise.
Giving your neighbor the benefit of the doubt at first is always the best approach. After all, this is someone you live in close quarters with, especially if you share a wall or ceiling. Begin with addressing the issue from a non-accusatory stance, as the neighbor may not even be aware of their noise level. Ask if they realize how audible they are and make sure they aren’t having the same problem as you. The first step is establishing an understanding of the shared living conditions.
If after calmly addressing the problem in person, it occurs again, a second verbal request is necessary, unless the neighbor was unreceptive or hostile the first time. If that is the case, a typed or written letter may be in order outlining the date(s) and nature of the disruption. If your apartment complex or association has policies regarding noise, you should include that in the letter. Make a copy of any written request sent so you have a record in case you need to prove correspondence on the matter transpired.
If the problem persists after a verbal and a written request to cease and desist, this is the time to take more aggressive steps. Contact the landlord, apartment board or property manager to intervene. If you ever feel threatened by the offending neighbor, do not hesitate to contact the authorities, but this is the worst-case scenario.