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d.b.a…. One of the Marigny’s True Treasures

Frenchmen Street's music scene includes d.b.a. (Photo: Zack Smith)

One of the dirty little secrets of some New Orleans music venues is that while the older buildings in which they are are usually housed are steeped in character and tradition, the acoustics of the performance space can leave something to be desired. This is not to say that the sound in the renovated sandwich shops, juice stores and warehouses that now host live music is “bad” – I can’t think of the last time it was more noticeable than the skill and energy of the performers on the stage – but they certainly leave room at the top for a few select places to shine.  d.b.a., the anchor of Frenchman Street’s row of jazz, folk and rock clubs, is one such place.

A huge, rectangular bar in the middle of d.b.a. divides the interior into two halves: one that allows patrons to belly up and focus all their attention on the establishment’s massive beer, wine and whiskey offerings and another that is included on any list chronicling the best sounding music venues in the city. All four walls of the room that house the stage are wrapped in raw cypress wood, offering pristine acoustics that rival those of the crown jewel of sonic perfection in the Crescent City: the velvet-lined theater at One Eyed Jacks.

This spectacular venue is put to good use, as d.b.a. offers live music seven nights a week and more often than not features both an early and a late show. This jam-packed schedule provides plenty of room for a diverse cast of performers, as near-weekly residencies of local legends Jon Cleary, Little Freddie King and John Boutte are supplemented by regular visits from jam-funk supergroup Good Enough For Good Times, neo-swing seductress Meshiya Lake, and indie rock native sons Rotary Downs.

And don’t be surprised if that special guest sitting in during a Jazz Fest aftershow looks familiar: the d.b.a. stage has hosted all-time greats ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Marco Benevento to Stevie Wonder and is a favorite stop for visiting musicians who are just as likely to chime in with a solo as they are to grab a seat at the bar and take in the warm sound and cool vibe of one of the Marigny’s true treasures.

618 Frenchman Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Matt Rosenthal //

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