Southern Agenda

Crescent City Rebirth

At the height of segregation in the mid-twentieth century, traveling through the South could be a perilous journey for African Americans. They could count on the Dew Drop Inn, however, as a reliable stop in New Orleans where they could fill up on local standards like red beans and rice, get a haircut in the barbershop, and find a cozy room for the night. But the real action went down in the lounge, where at various times Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Ray Charles performed. “The Dew Drop Inn was a place that symbolized Black economic resilience,” says Curtis Doucette Jr., who acquired the property in 2021 and began restoring it to its mid-fifties layout and decor after years of neglect. Slated to reopen early this year, the seventeen-room boutique hotel, music venue, and restaurant—complete with midcentury-modern furnishings and preserved curiosities like the original paint-chipped interior columns and the alley between the conjoined buildings—will be singing once again on Lasalle Street.