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  • #31
    What Tom, and his deceased partners Dennis and Ray, did for raising the bar in terms of quality product, excellent music and proper treatment of the artists is immeasurable. Say what you want about the place, those mofos and their top associates definitely gave a fuck about what they were putting out into the world. My career and musical life as both someone in the community and as a fan is much better off for their efforts.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Marc Stone View Post
      proper treatment of the artists
      That part I didn't know but am really glad to hear. Thanks for that insight, Marc.


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      • #33
        I always liked the the place, especially after they raised the stage and improved the sound system. Never had a bad time there nor a problem with the bartenders.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Lit View Post


          Not being into craft beer joints, you wouldn't be able to appreciate how different d.b.a. was when it opened in '94, and what an important member of that community Ray Deter, the original owner, was. Tragically, he died in a bicycle accident in 2011, but the place has a well-earned reputation among those who are a part of and appreciate that community. And they allowed you to bring in your own takeout food if you wanted, which was perfect for us because we liked a lot of the food joints in the Village.

          As I posted upthread, we were literally among the first customers d.b.a. on Frenchmen ever had, so your assumption is wrong there, too. Again, if it seemed like just another pricey bar to you, that was because you didn't appreciate the beverage offerings and how unique they were for New Orleans at the time. I never waited for anyone else's sanction to tell me whether it was cool or not; I liked it because I liked it.

          I've been in the restaurant/bar biz for over 4 decades soI did appreciate all of the bev choices which I stated somewhere above but I still thought it was overpriced. It wasn't like they made great drinks they just had a good selection of spirits and beer. You fail to notice I never said anything negative about either bar, only that the NYC bar was not my kind of place and the NO bar got too crowed during Jazz Fest and I was never crazy about the sound. I would not want to see that place close if for no other reason that they give a lot of local musicians a place to play. Not sure why you had to talk about someones "sanction" or "whether it was cool or not", we all like different places for different reasons. I can't remember the last time I even saw music on Frenchman St except for some jazz at Snug Harbor or maybe the Spotted Cat when friends are in town, I'm way over the scene down there. I liked Frenchman a lot more back before places like dba were even there.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by jjazznj View Post

            I've been in the restaurant/bar biz for over 4 decades soI did appreciate all of the bev choices which I stated somewhere above but I still thought it was overpriced. It wasn't like they made great drinks they just had a good selection of spirits and beer. You fail to notice I never said anything negative about either bar, only that the NYC bar was not my kind of place and the NO bar got too crowed during Jazz Fest and I was never crazy about the sound. I would not want to see that place close if for no other reason that they give a lot of local musicians a place to play. Not sure why you had to talk about someones "sanction" or "whether it was cool or not", we all like different places for different reasons. I can't remember the last time I even saw music on Frenchman St except for some jazz at Snug Harbor or maybe the Spotted Cat when friends are in town, I'm way over the scene down there. I liked Frenchman a lot more back before places like dba were even there.
            L.O.L.

            Don't get your fedora bent of shape, sport. I loved Cafe Brasil, too.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Lit View Post

              L.O.L.

              Don't get your fedora bent of shape, sport. I loved Cafe Brasil, too.
              Had a lot of fun in that joint. The owner was a bit crazy though. Different times back then.

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              • #37
                Mixed feelings too. I love it but when it get crowded you just can't see the music without it being a struggle. I'm 6'5 so even if I got in the music room someone was always telling me to move. I always also loved getting the door closed in my face from the bar side up front trying to watch the music too. haha

                Really hope it stays open though. I like it being there and really love those afternoon gigs they have.

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                • #38
                  One of my favorite memories was one year when I was in town for Halloween. I got down there early to snag a window seat for the procession that would soon start. Ibjamn, hebjamn, maybe Terry and possibly swag joined in. By 11pm the street and sidewalks were shoulder to shoulder and we had the perfect spot to observe, plus music and a bar.

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                  • #39
                    The arrival of d.b.a. signaled a change to the Frenchmen Street scene as well as continuation. It was the first instance of outside (in this case New York) money coming into the scene bringing an early instance of the gentrification that would overtake the Marigny in coming years. And in a continuation in that it was just a bar when it opened and a neighborhood bar at that. And like most of it’s precursors on the street, it started having music because musicians on the scene wanted/needed a place to play and talked the owners into it. (Another later example was the Spotted Cat which was a bar without much of an obvious purpose or appeal when it opened. The first time a went there was when guitarist Warren Batiste started a solo gig there.) At turn of the century, the stalwarts of the 90’s scene were in retreat: Café Istanbul had become the trad. club Tin Roof Café before transitioning into various iterations of the Blue Nile, Café Brasil had largely abandoned live music in favor of raves for the younger set (“they don’t want it anymore” said Adé about live music.) The Dragon’s Den was shut down by a licensing problem, and Kaldi’s had succumbed to the tourist incursion down Decatur Street. So opening d.b.a. to music was a godsend to the scene, especially for the more intimate projects of the scene’s musicians–ones that didn’t fit at the Mermaid Lounge or Tipitina’s .

                    While I was never a beer or whiskey person, I was in d.b.a. several nights a week, and almost always on Monday nights when Rob Wagner and his trio with James Singleton and a secession of great drummers (Kevin O’Day, Mark DeFlorio, James Alsanders, Ocie Davis) held forth right up to Katrina. This gig enabled Rob the opportunity to play and explore his ever extending book of original compositions and provided the material for three of the cd’s I have produced on Rob. And d.b.a. also provided space for Jonathan Freilich’s Naked on the Floor, which was my second cd. I figure at least 25% of the cds I have sold have been sold at d.b.a.! At first there was no stage at all: the musicians played in a corner of the second room, then a small short platform in the corner (barely big enough for a trio) and then the platform extended across the width of the room. There was no p.a. and the beginning and no need as the sliding doors would be closed if the other room was too talkative. There were several rows of theater seats left over from the space’s earlier life as The Marigny Theater. It was an intimate listening space for acoustic music; one that was essentially ruined as they built the raise dead rocknroll stage that required a P.A. and was useless for improvised music and horn players in general, but it reflected the new realities of the club business on Frenchmen Street.

                    For me there have been many memorable musical nights at d.b.a. from Hermeto Pascal’s drummer sitting in with Naked on the Floor and blowing everyone’s mind to the Klezmer All-Stars on Mardi Gras (taking over from Café Brasil) to the return of live music to the street after Katrina with an impromptu set featuring street fixtures Kenny Claiborne and Adé. But the most meaningful for me was Monday December 5, 2005. That summer I had finally got the great Chicago drummer Hamid Drake to commit to a recording project with Rob Wagner scheduled for that September. Of course Katrina scuttled those plan, but somehow I managed to reschedule for December. Rob was exiled in New York and bassist Nobu Ozaki had relocated to Portland, All three flew in that day for their first return since the storm and played that night–what had been Rob’s usual gig. I put up a few flyers but I wasn’t expecting many people (there were so few in town.) When we arrived at the bar, the back room was full with young people sitting all over the floor and waiting patiently. It was such a beautiful, healing homecoming scene, and it set the tone for the recording session over the next two days in Café Brasil were we set up a temporary recording studio courtesy of Mark Bingham and Adé.

                    Scenes are ephemeral, fragile things. Their essential moments pass but the remains can be milked by savvy business people for a very long time (e.g.: Pigalle in Paris, MacDougal St in New York, etc.) Frenchmen Street will never return to what is was no matter who runs d.b.a. or its successor. But that fact shouldn’t tarnish our memories or squash our imagination of what is possible somewhere else and in the future.

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                    • #40
                      yea I got to sit down with George Porter and a mutual friend and hang out for an hour one night out back at dba, one of my musical heroes. One of the highlights of my life so yea, it I dig it too. Make no mistake.

                      I have the best pic of GPJr and my wife hanging out that night on our hallway wall from out back on the steps. I think there were steps. LOL

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by belyin View Post

                        Scenes are ephemeral, fragile things. Their essential moments pass but the remains can be milked by savvy business people for a very long time (e.g.: Pigalle in Paris, MacDougal St in New York, etc.) Frenchmen Street will never return to what is was no matter who runs d.b.a. or its successor. But that fact shouldn’t tarnish our memories or squash our imagination of what is possible somewhere else and in the future.
                        Thanks for stopping by belyin- I appreciate your stories and perspective. Stay well.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by fichadelphia View Post

                          Thanks for stopping by belyin- I appreciate your stories and perspective. Stay well.
                          +1. That was a great, insightful and thoughtful post. Thanks, belyin .

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                          • #43
                            Thanks for that recap. I can't even remember when the stage wasn't at d.b.a. but I do remember Rob Wagner's gigs pre-Katrina. My band Shotgun House was playing Mondays at the Apple Barrel and that gig started later than others. After setting up, I would head over to d.b.a. to see Rob and James Singleton for a bit. Always humbling after watching James to go back to my gig to play bass... That was one of the joys of playing down there, that you could do that kind of thing.

                            I always thought, even with outside ownership, d.b.a. did manage to integrate into the Frenchmen St. vibe becoming part of it. For me, it was Bamboula's some years later that harkened the turnover to what the street is now. That "outside money" came from Bourbon St.

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                            • #44
                              Had so many good times there. I loved the intimacy of the place, the late afternoon music, the bookings, the beer selection, the wood paneling, the window and bench seats. Don't think I ever walked in and didn't see someone I know and like. Once when it was nearly empty, Clark Peters was next to me and it took me the longest time to figure out how the heck I knew him. But once I heard his voice... oh, that's it! I was too shy (and/or sober) to say hello.

                              Very sad. It seems pretty certain it won't be the same....

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by chopitulas View Post
                                Thanks for that recap. I can't even remember when the stage wasn't at d.b.a. but I do remember Rob Wagner's gigs pre-Katrina. My band Shotgun House was playing Mondays at the Apple Barrel and that gig started later than others. After setting up, I would head over to d.b.a. to see Rob and James Singleton for a bit. Always humbling after watching James to go back to my gig to play bass... That was one of the joys of playing down there, that you could do that kind of thing.

                                I always thought, even with outside ownership, d.b.a. did manage to integrate into the Frenchmen St. vibe becoming part of it. For me, it was Bamboula's some years later that harkened the turnover to what the street is now. That "outside money" came from Bourbon St.
                                Yeah, I think you are right. I meant that d.b.a. was the first relatively well capitalized buy-in on the street. Café Istanbul, Café Brasil, and the Dragon's Den were all started on a shoe string by immigrants (god bless them!) to our country and city. And it was reflective of New Orleans arriving on the map of the hipsterati from the coasts.

                                The Bourbon Street investment is quite recent of which Bamboula is perhaps the most emblematic. Funny (and sad) story: A month or so after Bamboula opened I was talking to musician Joe Cabral outside of d.b.a when another musician (a guitarist who played on the strip, now deceased) came up and asked Joe if he had checked out Bamboula. Joe answered with a rather skeptical "No" while the guitarist said he dug working there as he laid out the very Bourbon Street arrangement (low pay per set, 45 on 15 off, little talking on the stand, play the blues, etc.) As soon as the guitarist split, a street person approached us with the ultimate Bourbon St. hustle "Say man, I bet I can guess where you got dem shoes." Should been a scene from Tremé!

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