Memories of the Dew Drop Inn

Cutting Edge CE Events Presents

Chitlin' Circuit Revisited Series

Memories of the Dew Drop Inn

Tuesday, January 3rd

The Dew Drop was the foundation for musicians in New Orleans. Whether you were from out of town or from the city, your goal was the Dew Drop. If you couldn’t get a gig at the Dew Drop, you weren’t about nothing
— Blues musician Joseph August

Join the Cutting Edge CE Conferences and Events, the New Orleans Jazz Museum, Harmony Neighborhood Development and Julius Kimbrough's Prime Example Jazz Club on January 3, 2017, as we remember New Orleans' iconic Dew Drop Inn, one of the legendary African American venues on the Chitlin' Circuit.

The Chitlin' Circuit was the name given to a series of performance venues throughout the South, East and upper Midwest areas that were safe harbors and booking agencies for touring and local African American performers. Mostly owned and operated by African American entrepreneurs, the venues like the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, the Historic Victory Grill in Austin, Byrd's Satellite Lounge in Baton Rouge and Abe's 506 Club in Pensacola, helped launch and sustain the careers of many African American performers during the times of segregation in America--artists who helped write the American Songbook.

One such venue was the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, located at 2836 - 2840 LaSalle Street, owned and operated by Frank Painia, an African American entrepreneur who developed the Dew Drop Inn complex into a motel, barber shop, restaurant and music club. A music club that hosted performances by Ray Charles, Joe Turner, Fats Domino, Earl King, Dave Bartholomew, Big Maybelle, "Gatemouth" Brown, Roy Brown, Guitar Slim, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Allen Toussaint, Smiley Lewis, Little Richard, to name a few.

The Dew Drop Inn and many of the Chitlin' Circuit venues served as a part of the African American community's civic engagement, providing African American travelers places to rest, assimilate and disseminate information from other regions of the country. Particularly, Pullman Porters would distribute black owned newspapers, like The Chicago Defender to venues like the Dew Drop Inn, assuring dissemination of information about the Civil Rights Movement that was not covered by the local mainstream news media.

Now, as the Dew Drop Inn proceeds towards its re-development, we remember Frank Painia and the world he created at the Dew Drop Inn.

The January 3rd program will start at the Old US Mint, 400 Esplanade Avenue with memories of Frank Painia and the Dew Drop Inn from his family members, musicians and patrons. A "Dew Drop Inn Revisited Panel" discussion will expand on the award winning radio documentary on the Dew Drop Inn lead by the documentary producer, David Kunian. Plans for bringing back the Dew Drop Inn will be unveiled.

As a special Jazz Educators Network Conference event: Julius Kimbrough's Prime Example Jazz Club and the Cutting Edge CE Listening Room will host the "Dew Drop Inn Jam Session." Dr. Monika Herzig, Indiana University will collect artists thoughts on the Dew Drop and use of Jam Sessions to practice improvisation and develop new arrangements. The Sidemen+One Quintet with special guest Lilli Lewis will coordinate the jam session.

The Chitlin' Circuit Revisited Series is a series of events and collaborations commemorating and advocating for the preservation of the historic venues and business districts of the Chitlin' Circuit.

Program Guide

Tuesday, January 3rd

The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint,
400 Esplanade Avenue

12:00 Noon
Welcome to the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint - Greg Lambousy, Director

* The Dew Drop Inn - Redux: Moderator: Vincent Sylvain, New Orleans Agenda, plans for re-development of the famous Dew Drop Inn. The 'new' direction of the club will be discussed.

* Kenneth Jackson remembers his grandfather, Dew Drop Inn founder, Frank Painia.

* Civil Rights Movement during the times of the Dew Drop Inn. Don Hubbard, Roxie Wright and Larry Cager, Sr. reflect on Civil Rights moments during the times of the Chitlin' Circuit.

2:00 PM

The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park musical tribute to the music of the Chitlin' Circuit - Matt Hampsey, U.S. National Park Service, Coordinator.

3:00 PM

Memories of the Dew Drop Inn hosted by radio documentarian David Kunian, Curator of Music, New Orleans Jazz Museum, guests includes, Peter "Chuck" Badie, "Deacon" John Moore and Sir Edward "Kidd" Jordan.


Julius Kimbrough's Prime Example Jazz Club,
1909 North Broad Street - Jam Session


6:00 PM

Jam Session Interviews: Little Freddie King, on his times of Jamming at the Dew Drop conducted by Dr. Monika Herzig, Ph.D., Indiana University, Board Member of the Jazz Educators Network. Followed by Open Jam Session, hosted by the Noel Carter's Sidemen+One Quintet with special guest Lillie Lewis.


Program Participants:

Una Anderson - Director, Harmony Neighborhood Development, lead co-developer Dew Drop Inn

Peter "Chuck" Badie - Bass player, toured extensively with Roy Brown, Dave Bartholomew and Lionel Hampton

Larry Cager, Sr. - First Deputy Clerk of Criminal Court, Former Director of the New Orleans and Houston Area Urban League

Noel Carter - bandleader, host of the Prime Example Jam Session

Matt Hampsey - New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, music program coordinator

Ryan Herringshaw - Project Manager, Harmony Neighborhood Development, Dew Drop Inn

Monika Herzig, PhD - Indiana University, Board member Jazz Educator Network, researcher on jazz jam sessions and its function in developing jazz musicians in the first half of the 20th century.

Don Hubbard - Civil Rights leader, community activist, businessman, boxing promoter

Kenneth Jackson - Dew Drop Inn owner, Grandson of Frank Painia, co-developer Dew Drop Inn

Sir Edward "Kidd" Jordan - Saxophonist, educator, Founding Director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation's Heritage School of Music; played with Guitar Slim, Ray Charles, Lena Horne, Big Maybelle, Big Joe Turner, Chuck Willis and Choker Campbell..., Knighthood was bestowed on Jordan by the Republic of France where he holds the title Chevalier des Artes et Lettres.

Little Freddie King - The McComb, MS native arrived in New Orleans more than 60 years ago and began playing at juke joints like the "Bucket of Blood," a nickname he gave a venue because of the rowdy clientele. Began playing the Dew Drop Inn setting in for his cousin Earl King and as part of the backup band for the Dew Drop's famous female impersonator hostess Patsy Vidalia. via Alison Fensterstock, NOLA.com

David Kunian - Historian, Curator of Music, New Orleans Jazz Museum, producer of the award winning radio documentary, Meet All Your Fine Friends at the Dew Drop Inn with David Kunian

Greg Lambousy - Director, New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint

Lilli Lewis - Musician, award-winning songwriter

"Deacon" John Moore - Jump Blues artist and President of the Musician Union - AFM local 174-496 New Orleans, recorded with Allen Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe, and Ray Charles

Vincent Sylvain - Owner of New Orleans Agenda News Service and Publisher of Sylvain Music Notes

Roxie Wright - Community activist, past President of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, her husband Don Wright played at the Dew Drop Inn

The Chitlin' Circuit Revisited Series is a series of events and collaborations sponsored by Cutting Edge CE Events commemorating and advocating for the preservation of the historic venues and business districts of the Chitlin' Circuit.