Department of Justice File No. 202-32-24

USAO FILE NO. 1999v00202

Settlement Agreement | Department of Justice Press Releases


This Settlement Agreement (the "Agreement") is entered into by and between THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ AND HERITAGE FOUNDATION, INC. (the "Foundation") and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, through the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana ("the U.S. Attorney")and the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("the Division") and is made effective as of November 1, 2001.

This matter was initiated as a compliance review by the U.S. Attorney under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12161-12189 of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival ("Jazz Fest" or the "Festival") relative to the ADA. The Jazz Fest is an annual event presented by the Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana and includes hundreds of musical performances, arts and crafts displays and beverage/food vendors. Each year, the Foundation constructs the stages, tents, and most of the booths on/in which these features are made available to festival-goers.

The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35 to survey and investigate whether the Foundation and the Festival it presents are in compliance with Title III of the ADA. The Festival that the Foundation presents comprises a place of public accommodation for purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq., as defined by the ADA in 42 U.S.C. § 12181, and in the implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. The U.S. Attorney on behalf of the Department is authorized to investigate the facts, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Department is authorized to bring a civil action enforcing Title III of the ADA.

Because the Foundation and the United States desire to settle this matter amicably, the parties agree to the following voluntary compliance agreement:

1. In consideration for the Foundation’s performance of its obligations under this Agreement, the U.S. Attorney agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit and to place USAO FILE No. 1999v00202 into monitoring status.

2. The Foundation further covenants and agrees to make the following modifications to the Festival each year it is presented as required by the ADA and the Standards for Accessible Design (the "Standards"), 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A, as well as to take the following measures relative to preparation and presentation of the Festival to ensure that accessibility as required by the Standards is afforded to individuals with disabilities:


a. Staff Training. The Foundation agrees to provide effective training to its staff and volunteers who are assigned to interact with the public regarding the facilities and services accessible to attendees with disabilities. Such training shall also be aimed at the goal of sensitizing the staff and volunteers who are assigned to interact with the public to the needs of and problems encountered by people with disabilities in areas including but not limited to:

(i) providing assistance in locating parking spaces designated for people with disabilities, and seeking to ensure that only vehicles with appropriate license plates, placards or other State-issued authorization for use of accessible spaces use those designated parking spaces;

(ii) maintaining accessible routes throughout the parking lot, Festival entrances/exits, Grandstand, Grandstand apron, tent show seating aisles, portable toilets, port-a-paths, and paved infield paths by keeping such paths clear of rocks, dirt, and other debris and taking measures to maintain the integrity of the pathway by effecting necessary repairs to same.

(iii) assisting people with disabilities and their companions to locate accessible facilities, e.g., seating, restrooms;

(iv) arranging the temporary seats in the Grandstand and tent show venues so that the required seating for people with disabilities and their companions is provided;

(v) providing reasonable, restricted access to front stage seating areas reserved for persons who use wheelchairs and their companions.

The Foundation shall evidence its compliance with this paragraph by producing to the United States a summary report containing the dates, groups and estimated number of attendees who participate in the training program beginning with Jazz Fest 2002, and continuing through each subsequent Jazz Fest.

b. American Sign Language Interpreters. The Foundation will have on duty three full-time qualified sign interpreters with at least one available to the public during operating hours to assist in medical emergencies. Interpretation of events or performances will be made available on a first come/served basis requiring no more than 48 hours notice, as well as on a "walk-up" basis, availability permitting, with the Foundation making a good faith effort to fulfill such requests no matter what amount of notice is given.

c. Public Information Regarding the Program and Events. The Foundation agrees to provide Braille and Large Print versions of Jazz Fest programming information at the Access Center, as well as at all info booths. Audio recordings of Jazz Fest Programmming information will also be available at the Access Center. The Foundation agrees to update the Braille, large print and audio versions of Jazz Fest programmming weekly, and will provide verbal updates to sight impaired persons in as timely a manner as the information made available to all festival-goers.

d. Public Information Regarding Accommodations. The Foundation shall provide information about accessible facilities and services at Jazz Fest via print and electronic media, to wit: (1) Website: the home page and ADA page on the Foundation’s web site (www.noJazz shall be as "Bobby" compliant as possible, with links to ADA information prominently displayed on the home page and the Frequently Asked Questions page; (2) Maps and Brochures: an accessiblity brochure, "Services for People with Disabilities" will be prepared and all maps provided to the public by the Foundation will include the international "accessibility symbol" designating goods and services of special interest to festival-goers with disabilities. The printed media will be available at the information booths and Access Center at Jazz Fest as well as by request by any member of the public seeking same.

e. Accessible parking spaces. The Foundation agrees that it will comply with § 4.6 of the Standards. The required number of parking spaces specifically designated for van accessible parking will comply with §§ 4.1.2(5) and 4.6 of the Standards. All accessible parking shall be located on the shortest accessible route to an accessible entrance per § 4.6.2 of the Standards.

f. Parking signage. The Foundation agrees to install signage for each of the designated parking spaces as required by § 4.6.4 of the Standards. Effective signage directing people with disabilities to the accessible parking lot(s) will be provided outside the lot(s), as well as signage inside the lot(s) indicating the direction of travel to follow to the accessible parking area(s).

g. Shuttle Buses. The Foundation agrees to require its contractor for shuttle buses to and from Jazz Fest and other locations to make available a lift-equipped shuttle within 30 minutes of a request for same made to the attendant at each of the pick up points, traffic permitting. Signage informing people with disabilities that accessible shuttle buses are available on request from the attendant will be established at each of the pick up points either by the Foundation and/or it’s contractor as appropriate. Usage and response time of accessible shuttles will be tracked by the Foundation and/or it’s contractor as appropriate. The information collected shall include the time and location of the request and the time the lift-equipped shuttle arrives. This information shall be compiled and reported to the U.S. Attorney at the conclusion of Jazz Fest each year, commencing in 2002.

h. Portable Toilets. The Foundation will ensure that the number of accessible portable toilets required by Standards § 4.1.2(6) will be provided. Each accessible toilet shall comply with § 4.22 of the Standards. The accessible toilets will be distributed around the Jazz Fest fairgrounds in a manner so as to make them reasonably accessible to fair-goers with disabilities. The location of accessible toilets will be disclosed on all maps distributed to the public by the Foundation as well as posted on or near non-accessible port-o-let groups. If the Foundation attempts to reserve the use of accessible portable toilets to persons with disabilities by locking them, the Foundation will provide a means for persons with disabilities to readily obtain access to them (by maintaining nearby staff with keys or by allowing keys to be borrowed by persons with disabilities) and will provide effective signage and other notification (website, access brochure) of said system of reserved access.
i. Accessible Restrooms. The Foundation agrees to post signage compliant with §§ 4.1.2(7) and 4.30 of the Standards on restroom entrances and stall doors of accessible toilets in the Grandstand.

j. Accessible Telephone. The Foundation agrees to provide a TTY/TDD telephone in the Grandstand.

k. Accessible Permanent Seating. The Foundation agrees to provide designated seating for fairgoers who use wheelchairs which complies with the integrated seating standards set forth in ADA Title III Standards, §§ 4.1.3(19), 4.33. Signage indicating the availability of accessible seating shall be effectively posted on each floor outside the main entrances to each of these venues within the Grandstand.

l. Assistive Listening Devices. The Foundation agrees to install and provide assistive listening systems and devices on the Second Floor of the Grandstand. The assistive listening systems and devices will comply with §§ 4.1.3(19)(b), 4.33.6 and 4.33.7 of the Standards, including the number of such devices available and the effectively posted signage denoting their availability.

m. Craft Booths. Prior to the Festival, the Foundation will provide craft booth applicants with information regarding the ADA’s requirements and their obligation to comply with same. During the Festival, the Foundation will further observe and monitor the configuration of each craft booth with specific attention being paid to the accessible route and accessible sales counter requirements in ADA Title III Standards, §§ 4.2, 4.3, and 7.2.

n. Crosswalks. The Foundation will maintain four (4) accessible routes from the outer grounds over the dirt track to the infield which comply with Standards 4.5.1, 4.5.2. In order to keep these pathways in good working order, the Foundation agrees to establish a bi-hourly maintenance schedule during each day of Jazz Fest, or more often as warranted by high-traffic times such as during opening and closing hours each morning and evening.

o. Accessible Temporary Seating. The Foundation agrees to provide designated wheelchair seating locations and companion seats which comply with §§ 4.1.3(19), and 4.33 of the Standards in all performance areas with temporary seating. Signage indicating the availability of accessible seating shall be posted outside the main entrances to each performance venue and shall comply with Standards § 4.30.

p. Stage Seating. The Foundation agrees to provide seating for six persons who use wheelchairs along with a companion for each in compliance with Standards §§ 4.1.3(19) and 4.33, at the two largest stages via accessible routes entered through the side at the front of the stage entrances. Accessible toilet facilities complying with Standards § 4.22 will be provided nearby both of these accessible stage-viewing areas. The Foundation will post signage complying with §§ 4.1.2(7) and 4.30 of the Standards denoting both the accessible stage viewing areas and the restroom facilities. Nothing in this provision precludes the Foundation from establishing such seating in the manner described above at other stages in future Festivals.

q. Food Booths. The Foundation agrees to ensure that the counters at all of its food booths comply with ADA Title III Standards, § 7.2, 5. to provide at least a 36" wide and 36" high segment.

r. Other Food Vendors. The Foundation agrees to provide food vendors who sell food out of their own service wagons/trailers with information regarding the applicable accessibility requirements of the ADA. This information will inform such vendors they must meet the statute’s general injunction to make such services "equally accessible," by coming out to serve a patron who uses a wheelchair should their counters be inaccessible to persons who use wheelchairs, and by posting of signs stating that persons with disabilities should ask the vendor for assistance. Relative to beverage concession stands operated by the Fairgrounds, while not under the control of the Foundation, the latter agrees to identify the accessible concession aisle by using the international symbol of accessibility, as described in § 4.30.7 of the Standards.

3. If the Department believes that this agreement or any requirement(s) thereof has been violated, it will inform the Foundation of this fact, and the parties will negotiate in good faith to resolve any issue(s) raised. If the parties cannot resolve any issue(s) raised by the Department within 3 business days of the Department's having notified the Foundation of the issues in dispute, the Department may institute a civil action in federal district court. If the Department demonstrates in such a civil action that the Foundation has failed to comply with any material provision of this agreement, the Foundation shall correct such noncompliance.

4. The Foundation acknowledges that the Department may review compliance with this Agreement and at any time notify the Foundation that the Settlement Agreement is no longer operative and thereupon re-open the investigation of Department of Justice File No. 202-32-24, USAO File No. 1999V00202. In the event of changes in operating conditions, technology or law and regulations, either party may propose amendments to this Agreement which may be adopted upon mutual assent.

5. The Foundation agrees that it will not discriminate or retaliate against any person because of his/her participation in this matter.

6. The Foundation agrees to designate one or more employee(s) of the Jazz Fest as ADA Compliance Coordinator(s). The ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) will be available to assist people with disabilities who use the Jazz Fest’s programs and services.

7. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this Agreement shall be made available to any person on request.

8. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other law. This Agreement does not affect the Foundation’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

9. The individuals signing this Agreement represent that they are authorized to bind the parties to this Agreement.

10. Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce the entire Agreement with regard to any deadline or any other provision of the Agreement, shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines or provisions of the Agreement.

11. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the Foundation and the United States relating to Department of Justice File No. 202-32-24, USAO File No. 1999V00202, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this agreement, shall be enforceable.

For the New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Foundation: For the United States:

New Orleans Jazz and
Heritage Foundation, Inc.
1205 North Rampart Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Date 12-6-01


Assistant United States Attorney
Hale Boggs Federal Building
501 Magazine Street, 2nd Floor
New Orleans, LA 70130

Date 12-17-01

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March 27, 2002