In the 1980s, pioneering bounce artist DJ Jimi held a regular gig here at Newton’s — later Joe’s House of Blues — in Central City. Newton’s was near several popular second-line and Mardi Gras Indian spots, and a stone’s throw from the Magnolia housing projects (officially the C.J. Peete housing development). The Magnolia was an incubator of New Orleans hip-hop: It was the namesake of the now-deceased rapper Magnolia Shorty, and one-time home to entrepreneur brothers “Baby/Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim/Sugar Slim” Williams of Cash Money Records fame. The community in and around the Magnolia, home to many other artists, is where DJ Jimi met a young Terius Gray, better known as Juvenile.
In 1992, TT Tucker and DJ Irv’s hit “Wha Dey At” was spreading through the city, and local hip-hop artists followed suit by laying energetic vocals on the looped triggerman beat in the new style. Each successive bounce track seemed to reference its predecessors while adding a new stylistic element. Isaac Bolden, a 1960s-era record man, jumped on the trend and decided to make a bounce album with the help of Sea-Saint Studio assistant Dion “Devious” Norman, who brought aboard his friend Derrick “Mellow Fellow” Ordogne to produce. Bolden released DJ Jimi’s full-length album “It’s Jimi” on his Avenue label. The album featured Jimi’s “Where They At” and “Bounce for the Juvenile,” featuring vocals and lyrics by the young rapper. “It’s Jimi” marked the first time Juvenile was credited on an album, and “Where They At” became another seminal bounce track.
Newton’s also was where rap group U.N.L.V. recorded their first song, “Another Bitch,” in 1992. Taking cues from the streets of Central City, rappers Tec-9 and Lil Ya rapped over the triggerman beat with a gangster edge.
Later in the ’90s, this barroom was reinvented as Guitar Joe’s House of Blues (not to be confused with the House of Blues franchise in the French Quarter). Proprietor “Guitar Joe” Daniels was a veteran of the local blues scene and one-time resident of the nearby Dew Drop Inn. Local favorites like Mathilda Jones, Ernie Vincent and Guitar Lightnin’ Lee played to a neighborhood crowd here until the doors closed some years after Hurricane Katrina.
In 2017, as Central City gentrified, Danny Nick of the metal band Suplecs opened a tiki bar here called Portside Lounge.
Video for "Where They At" by DJ Jimi from 1992.