BlueHub staff members and partners celebrating the groundbreaking of the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, LA. Credit: Jafar M. Pierre

Dew Drop Inn

Level Ground Development
New Orleans, LA
Financing Used For
Loan Amount
$2.26 million
Loan Length
24 months
Reinvestment Fund

The Dew Drop Inn, a hotel and music venue in New Orleans, Louisiana, that opened in 1939, was once the cultural mecca of the local Black community. As Curtis Doucette, who is spearheading the Inn’s redevelopment, recounts, “At a time when not everyone could enjoy every space, the Dew Drop Inn was a place where people could have a good time — and everyone came through here. Little Richard got his sartorial and music style here. Ray Charles lived here. Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Duke Ellington, Ike and Tina Turner …” In the 1950s, with legalized racial segregation in force, he continues, “White people would get arrested for coming to hear the music.”

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Frank Painia (right), original owner of the Dew Drop Inn, speaking to a patron, likely in the 1940s. Credit: Level Ground Development

The Dew Drop Inn is in the predominantly Black Central City neighborhood. Once a working-class area boasting a vibrant arts scene, it was subject to historic disinvestment, with the arts suffering in tandem with business. After years of decline, the Dew Drop Inn was officially shuttered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now, Doucette is leading a team to reestablish it as a premier music venue and boutique hotel. The Dew Drop’s rebirth will be catalytic for the community, the centerpiece of an effort to restore LaSalle Street as an arts and entertainment destination. Recently, the state legislature passed a bill supporting construction of the Dew Drop-America’s Rock and Roll Museum down the street. Doucette explains, “The bill went through with no opposition. Just like Black and White people wanted to enjoy the music together years ago, people on both sides want to see this arts corridor happen.”

That coalition of forces has extended to the financing. Doucette laughs, “This has the most financial partners of any project I have ever worked on. There are historic tax credits, New Markets Tax Credits, equity investors, BlueHub Loan Fund and Reinvestment Fund …” BlueHub supplied a $2.26 million loan to bridge committed funds from the state of Louisiana. “If it were not for BlueHub, this project could not have happened,” notes Doucette.

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Performer from the Beautiful Creole Apache Tribe of the Mardi Gras Indians at the groundbreaking of the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, LA. Credit: Jafar M. Pierre