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Tipitina’s Reopens for Live Music, One Long, Quiet Year Later

The Howlin’ Wolf and Tipitina’s both open for live music performances this Friday, for the first time in a year

Tipitina’s will host live music this weekend for the first time in a year
Tipitina’s/Facebook

More than one year after ceasing normal operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, legendary New Orleans music venue Tipitina’s will reopen to the public for live music this Friday, March 19, NOLA.com’s Keith Spera reported Monday. The Howlin’ Wolf, a Warehouse District bar and music venue that worked to provide food and resources for musicians and hospitality industry workers throughout the pandemic, will also resume hosting live music this weekend.

New Orleans entered a “modified” phase 3 on Friday, March 12, which increases maximum indoor capacity at bars and restaurants and allows live music, with major exceptions, inside bars and music venues. In October, indoor live music was again permitted at restaurants, event venues, and concert halls, but remained banned at bars and music venues, until last Friday.

There are still significant restrictions on indoor live music — most notably, singing and wind-blown instruments remain prohibited. As a result, most venues didn’t open back up immediately following the move into phase 3 — venues like Cat’s Meow, Snug Harbor, Three Muses, and the Blue Nile all remained closed through the weekend, for instance. Freret Street’s Gasa Gasa reopened with a COVID-19 guidelines-approved model at the end of January, the first sign of life for local live music venues in nearly a year.

The two limited-capacity performances by musician Ivan Neville at Tipitina’s on Friday will look remarkably different, owners explained in a Facebook post announcing the shows. Attendance is limited to 75 people, all seated for table service. Dancing is prohibited, as is congregating at the bar or by the stage. Between the 7 and 9:30 p.m. shows, Tipitina’s will be cleared out and sanitized.

At the Howlin’ Wolf, Rebirth Brass Band and Hot 8 Brass Band are resuming weekly shows this weekend — Rebirth is booked Friday nights and Hot 8 on Sunday nights through at least May, according to the website. Tickets range from $60 to $120, and must also be purchased in groups of two or four.

New Orleans’s famous music and food festivals are gradually making a return as well, with many spring events adopting new dates later in the year or scaling down significantly. For a full roundup of 2021 dates for New Orleans festivals and events that have been announced so far, see here.

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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