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Gasa Gasa Reopens, Sparking Fresh Hope for Live Music in New Orleans

NOLA’s city planning commission is recommending approval for a new jazz club in Mid City and the restoration of the Dew Drop Inn

Gasa Gasa’s alley bar
Gasa Gasa/Facebook

When owners put Gasa Gasa up for sale last summer, fans of the Freret Street indie music venue feared it spelled the end, especially with no end in sight to New Orleans’s ban on indoor live music. Now Gasa Gasa is back with new owners, a new approach to shows, and a daily happy hour, helping provide fresh hope for the future of live music in New Orleans.

New Orleans musician Branden Kempt, known professionally as Branden Daniel with his band Branden Daniel and the Chics, bought Gasa Gasa with a group of partners late last year. The reopened venue hosted its first show on January 28, with local band Juno Dunes performing inside while ticket holders viewed the show on monitors from the patio outside, according to My Spilt Milk. The team has since added stand up comedy nights in the courtyard and hosted more concerts streamed outside, opening for indoor service last Friday for the first time since March 2020 (bars were allowed to resume limited indoor service on February 19). On a night without live music scheduled, limited indoor seating may be available, but concerts are still streamed to the courtyard, for now. Outside, the alley bar offers daily happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m, and Daddy Hot Bird, a popular hot chicken food truck, is scheduled to roll up Wednesday and Friday nights.

Gasa Gasa — Japanese slang for “doing too many things at once” — was the second important music venue in New Orleans once feared closed amid the pandemic. 20-year Frenchmen Street pillar D.B.A was placed on sale in April, but owner Tom Thayer has since abandoned that effort, instead shifting to streaming live shows and trying to turn the art market across the street into an outdoor music venue.

In further promising developments for New Orleans’s live music scene, the city planning commission on Tuesday recommended approval for the development of a new live music venue at Broad and Lafitte Streets in Mid City, and for the restoration of the legendary Dew Drop Inn as a hotel and live music venue. Both items will go before city council for final approval next month.

Follow Gasa Gasa on Facebook for its calendar and music lineup.

Eater is tracking the impact of the novel coronavirus on the city’s restaurant industry. Have a story to share? Reach out at nola@eater.com.

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