The well-known historical R&B venue in New Orleans has fallen on the hardest of times. Vice reports:
In 1955, legendary producer Allen Toussaint was just another young pianist looking for a break on the New Orleans scene. He was part of a generation of musicians who helped lay the foundation for modern-day rhythm and blues. Like all the aspiring local cats in his day, he hung out at the Dew Drop Inn.
“The Dew Drop for me and for us was a rite of passage from the teenage world to the adult world. It was big-time,” Toussaint told me before his unexpected death last year at 77, while on tour in Madrid, Spain. It was a sunny, fall day, and Touissant was sitting at his Steinway grand piano in an elegantly pressed blue suit, reminiscing. Over his career he popularized new kinds of funk music, building the careers of influential artists such as the Meters and Dr. John, as well as penning hits such as the Rolling Stones’ “Fortune Teller” and Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade.”
The historic music club still sits in its original location in New Orleans’s Central City neighborhood. The sign advertises “Dew-Drop Inn, Hotel, Lounge and Restaurant” on a red arrow with light bulbsthat still appear ready to turn on at any moment. But it’s been largely neglected since it closed in 1972. Metal bars hang over the rusting window frames and wooden planks protrude from the building like a half-completed construction project. The main part of the club, a large, gutted room that smells of old books, has been steadily deteriorating for decades.
But Kenneth Jackson, who inherited the Dew Drop from his grandfather and the original owner Frank Painia, wants to restore the venue to its former glory. Jackson’s working with Harmony Neighborhood Development, Tulane City Center, and the Milne Inspiration Center to raise $1.5 million for the repairs. Last month they secured a modest $6,000 grant from the city of New Orleans, which they aim to use to host a fundraiser in March. They’re largely depending upon donations made through their website to get the Dew Drop up and swinging again. If all goes as planned, the Inn will reopen in April 2018.
More details can be found here.