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Blakeview: Tipitina’s


This week marks the 40th anniversary of a New Orleans institution that feels like it's been at the corner of Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street forever: Tipitina's. The legendary music club opened on Jan. 14, 1977 in a building that formerly housed a bar known as The 501 Club, which borrowed its name from the spot's address at 501 Napoleon Ave. The club's new name was inspired by the Professor Longhair song "Tipitina." The club's young founders, who called themselves "The Fabulous Fo'Teen," established the place to host rediscovered local artists including Longhair. Other early acts included The Meters, James Booker, The Neville Brothers, The Radiators, Dr. John and Lil' Queenie & the Percolators. Longhair's death in 1980, combined with the downturn in the economy, forced the club to file for bankruptcy and close in 1984. It reopened in 1986 and blossomed 10 years later under the ownership of Roland and Mary Von Kurnatowski. In 2003, the couple and others established the Tipitina's Foundation, which uses club profits and other donations to purchase instruments for local music students and to help local musicians.

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