The Dew Drop Inn complex, located at 2836-2840 LaSalle Street in Central City, represents one of the most significant music heritage sites in New Orleans. It opened as a music venue in 1945 and soon expanded in a multi-use facility, consisting of a barbershop, a hotel, a restaurant and a music and entertainment venue. At the peak of its fame in the ‘50s, the music venue was open 24 hours, 7 days a week and was considered the “symbol of New Orleans jazz” according to the Louisiana Weekly. Its success continued well into the ‘60s as a rendezvous place for some of the greatest blues, jazz and R&B musicians in the country. It was also a place for freedom of expression when segregation laws and social prejudices were in full force, playing an important role in both the civil and gay rights movements. By the mid-1960s the Dew Drop’s success in the music business began to decline because of desegregation, changes of tastes in music, and the health of its owner. After the music venue closed in the late ‘60s, the building began to fall into disrepair. The hotel and barbershop continued to operate until Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, flooding everything with 3-4 feet of water and stripping off the building’s siding.
In an effort to preserve it as a cultural institution, the Dew Drop was given Historic Landmark status in 2010 and listed as an endangered New Orleans historic site by the Louisiana Landmarks Society. Today there is renewed interest in the revitalization of the historic LaSalle corridor. The Dew Drop Inn complex represents a focal point of that vision and has great potential to bring live music and other main street commercial activity back to LaSalle, thus contributing to the larger revitalization of the corridor and neighborhood as a whole.