F&M Patio4842 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans LA 70115
The music club and dance hall that once stood near the Uptown riverfront wharves at Lyons and South Front streets was a hot spot for teenagers in the 1950s and ‘60s. Many of the city’s R&B and rock ’n’ roll stars — Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, Deacon John Moore, and Bobby Mitchell, to name a few — plied their trade here, giving youths ample opportunities to master local dance crazes such as “The Popeye” and “The Jamaica” (segregation was the law of the land in the club’s heyday, though; black patrons couldn’t enter and could only buy drinks through a window).
The “F&M” in F&M Patio stood for “Fump and Manny’s,” the nicknames of co-owners and brothers-in-law John “Fump” Flynn and Emmanuel “Manny” Guillot. Manny owned a sanitary-supply company next door called Manny’s and ran F&M’s on the side until closing the club in 1968 to expand his main business. “Every weekend we had all the entertainers who were anything in that period,” Guillot recalled in 1988. “We ran a good, clean place. We didn’t allow anything wrong going on in there.” When F&M’s folded in 1968, “a lot of mothers and fathers called to ask why.”
“I’d play the F&M Patio and there’d be all these people hangin’ out outside,” Deacon John remembered. “I put that place on the map! … I started doing high school dances there and it was BYOL, no ID checks or nothin’, cats comin’ in there with ice chests. You could rent the hall for $90 and they’d give you the bar and everything; you had the bar with the concessions and all for $90. Cats would be makin’ a killing by throwin’ these dances; a lot of them were paying their way through college like that, guys like (garage-band producer) Frank Uddo. The dances over there always had a theme like ‘Splendor’ or ‘Wild Cherry’ or ‘Shipwreck Dance.’ Shipwreck meant that everybody would come in sailor suits, white pants, like they’d been on a ship and were stranded on a desert island; it meant you could dress down. Then we had themes like ‘Madras Madness,’ everybody’d come with their madras shirts on. They had one called ‘Lights Out Part 1 and Part 2.’”
Though the music hall closed in 1968, the F&M Patio Bar across the street at 4841 Tchoupitoulas is still under operation by different owners, including at one time nightclub impresario Jed Palmer of Jed’s on Oak Street. Other musical hotspots would open along Tchoupitoulas in later years, including Rosy’s at 500 Valence St. and Tipitina’s at 501 Napoleon Ave.
Robert Parker performs his hit "Barefootin'" on the television show The !!!! Beat (1966).