The Dew Drop Inn was ‘the incubator of indigenous’ New Orleans culture

News with a Twist
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NEW ORLEANS -- February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration remembering the important contributions that African Americans have made in our nation's history.

In honor of Black History Month, News with a Twist is featuring the people and places of New Orleans and beyond that helped to shape our community.

Today, it's the Dew Drop Inn.

The Dew Drop Inn on LaSalle Street was one of the most influential African American nightclubs in New Orleans from 1939-1970.

Entertainer Deacon John tells News with a Twist the club played host to luminaries like Nat King Cole and Adam Clayton Powell.

"It was the incubator of the indigenous culture of New Orleans," Deacon John says. "There was so many proponents who hung around the Dew Drop. It was THE place to be.

Other icons who performed there include Otis Redding, James Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, and many, many more.

But it was also the place where many local legends got their start, like Allen Toussaint and Huey "Piano" Smith.

"We had to get dressed up to come to the Dew Drop," Deacon John recalls. "To play there was like a feather in your cap, and you have arrived on the scene when you got a job at the Dew Drop."

The club saw a decline in popularity in the 1960s after desegregation of night clubs city wide. Coupled with the declining health of its owner, barber Frank G. Painia, the club shows became fewer and farther in between, though the hotel continued to operate until it closed permanently in 1970.

The building has been in disrepair for several years, but the owners are hoping to sell it to someone who's interested in preserving its rich history. Click here for more information.


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