Louisiana is a place where the music has not only shaped our history and lifestyle, but has become an intricate part of our everyday culture. Since the French and Spanish colonial times of the 18th century, the state has become a collision point of differing nations that all brought their own influences. From the Mardi Gras tradition, to the Acadian migration, and a host of southern R&B as well as blues and funk music. There are so many musical styles that have been developed and nurtured in the state it is no wonder there are tons of great music venues to see take it all in. Here are the 10 best music venues in Louisiana.
This historic venue opened its doors in 1977 as a neighborhood juke joint in uptown New Orleans. The purpose was simple: To give the legendary New Orleans musician, Professor Longhair, a musical venue to play in his final years. Named after one of his most popular tunes, Tipitina, this big venue now hosts an array of local and touring acts. Local legends such as The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, and Galactic can all be seen at this venue during various times of the year. However, the venue also serves as a foundation that hosts a free Youth Workshop for kids on Sundays, and puts on their weekly Homegrown Night on most Thursdays where smaller local acts show off their stuff to friends, family, and fans. Embracing the very being of New Orleans, Tipitinas makes for a rowdy, cultural night out on the town.
Being located just outside the Northgate area of Louisiana State University’s campus, this venue has served as a musical hub in the capital city for decades. Having first opened in 1937, it is one of the oldest businesses in this active area full of shops, restaurants and bars. However, it has more recently become a popular venue hosting some of the best regional and national touring acts to pass through the state. The state-of-the-art sound and light quality is simply unmatched in Baton Rouge and the four different levels of the inside floor make it so that there’s not a bad seat in the entire house. Hanging out before the show? No worry, as one of Baton Rouge’s best Louisiana-style bar and grill, The Chimes, is connected to the venue for all those looking to for the pre-party.
This honkytonk in Cajun country hosts live roots music from across the nation as well as serves as an international hostel. The venue opened in 2002 on the back porch of the Blue Moon Guesthouse, a little building that was moved a few blocks from its original location in the early 1900s using mules and logs. Today, the venue and guesthouse serve as a meeting place of roots music, international travelers, and lifetimes of stories. They embrace the essence of the region with their weekly Cajun Jam happening every Wednesday night. Regional acts such as Eric Lindell and the Joe Krown Trio featuring Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Russel Batiste also frequently play this low-key venue that has faithfully serves its region for over a decade.
This venue truly has it all. As an attachment to the local eatery, Luna Bar & Grill, this premiere venue serves as the ultimate get down in downtown Lake Charles. They pride themselves on everything local. What you taste, hear, and see at their venue. For that reason, they nurture the local scene hosting an open mic every Monday and an acoustic night every Wednesday. On the weekends, live touring bands conquer the stage bringing the club to life at night. Local celebrities, such as funk legends George Porter Jr. and Cyril Neville, can be found playing the venue along with new groups such as AF The Naysayer. The two-stage venue holds a variety of acts and events in the region and the up-to-date sound system attracts touring bands from around the nation. Luna Live is the place for food, fun, and entertainment in the Lake Charles area.
This authentic Louisiana juke joint has been serving the Zachary area north of Baton Rouge since its opening in 1979. It was then that Teddy and Nancy turned the shotgun house Teddy was born in and made it into a blues joint that hosts international and regional blues acts 2-4 nights a week with Nancy’s Kitchen often serving up some of the best food in the region. Stepping into Teddy’s is like taking a step back into history. On the walls are tons of old memorabilia from pictures to license plates, so much of it that Teddy has been declared a Slim Harpo Ambassador by the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation. When blues bands aren’t pumping in their sound, Teddy hosts an Old Times Blues & Record Spin starting at 8 p.m. so there is always some music filling the historic space.
Known as the best live music venue on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, this swank club is set in a 125-year-old building. They host live music on the weekends with some of the best regional acts around, most of which come from New Orleans. Their main stick is rock, blues and soul, but a variety of acts have played at Ruby’s since it first opened 32 years ago. Anders Osborne, Tab Benoit, The Boogie Men, and Waylon Thibodeaux are just some of the few local celebrities to frequent this spot. This club is full of character form the inside and out. It is a place to drink, dance, and sweat out all your worries on a Louisiana Saturday night when the music is loud and the spirit is just right.
This historic bar hosts live music seven nights a week in the river bend area of New Orleans. Located in the sprawling Oak Street neighborhood that boasts coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and fresh clothing stores all down the road this poppin’ area truly makes for a great night out on the town. Maple Leaf hosts some of the most treasured weekly gigs in the city. George Porter Jr., bassist for The Meters, plays every Monday, while the Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band plays every Tuesday, jazz drummer Johnny Vidacovich holds it down every Thursday for his trio jam, and the virtuoso Joe Krown Trio featuring Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Russel Batiste occupy the Sunday spot. Every other night of the week you can find some of the hottest local, national, and international acts around, especially during Carnival and Jazz Fest. However, having some of the best live music seven nights a week isn’t even enough for this hip venue. They have a crawfish or shrimp boil every Sunday that is free with admission and free eats are provided during Saint’s games!
This art bar is in Shreveport’s vibrant Red River District. Having a focus on music and art this cool club has become a staple amongst the creative community in the area. They pride themselves on being a “N’awlins” style venue with a musical menu to light your taste buds up like the Crescent City itself. The outside is reminiscent of a New Orleans-style balcony with ginger style accents and the stage is set up like a shotgun house porch! They even have antique cabinets from the historic Peyton’s Drug Store. The stat-of-the-art digital sound system can handle anything in the modern age of music and invites regional acts of all genres to grace their stage every weekend. Unique art pieces hang all along the walls with different artists being featured all the time. Experience the artistic side of the Shreveport-Bossier area at Voodoo Café.
This two-story venue hosts live music throughout the week and is lively with students from Louisiana State University. Situated between the university campus and downtown, this club has been a hot spot for local music listeners for years. They have both local and nationally touring acts of electronic, indie rock, pop, and funky soul music. The building was used as a temporary morgue during the historic flood of 1927 and has since been claimed to be haunted. The vibe fits as Spanish Moon typically is a place for late nights and dance-your-face-off tunes that make for a raucous night.
This music venue is in the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. Being able to hold up to 400 people, there are two bars located in different rooms that are available to all customers. The floor is one big hill with terraced steps all the way down. This makes for a heck of a view no matter where you are in the building, and the view you won’t want to miss. The stage is set up like an old theatre stage with a dramatic curtain and contemporary light displays for a true dimensional experience. One Eyed Jacks hosts most types of music from funk and soul to indie, electronic and even some burlesque shows. New Orleans has no closing time so shows can go very late. Heck, you may even get to see the sun rise!