Curated by
The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation

Do The Grind: Bourbon Street Tour

This tour, which focuses on Bourbon Street from the 1940s – 1960s, shows how the strip was integral to New Orleans’ music scene. Some clubs booked bands as a main attraction, others as background music for strip-tease routines. Regardless, bandstands on Bourbon Street drew some of the best players in the city as well as touring artists. Bourbon Street’s high profile made it a recruiting ground for talent — musicians from Louis Prima to The Meters garnered national fame after being spotted in clubs here.

Venues like the Paddock Lounge and the Famous Door helped fuel a traditional jazz revival beginning in the late 1940s, when promoters tapped veteran local bandleaders to appeal to white audiences. This helped some elder musicians mount comebacks, and helped a new generation of artists like Pete Fountain and Al Hirt find mainstream success.

Most of the top names in New Orleans rhythm and blues worked Bourbon Street in the 1950s and 60s. Artists with hit records under their belt like Mr. Google Eyes and Clarence “Frogman” Henry turned to the strip to sustain their careers. Young talent like Mac Rebennack, who later became known as Dr. John, used these gigs to hone their craft.

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