New Orleans Jazz at the Spotted Cat


(Inside the Spotted Cat, as seen from the back wall.)

"It’s the best 100 feet of live jazz on the planet." I tell my friends this, relishing the hyperbole, a no-no for a writer, but convinced that if you gave me a jetplane for an evening I’d fly here, the 600 block of Frenchmen Street. Snug Harbor, dba, and the subject of this post, The Spotted Cat, puts out  jerk-your-head, smile-to-your-neighbor, tap-along music every night. The nine-year-old club, a former oysterhouse, ranks easily as my favorite.


Washboard Chaz (above) plays Tuesdays (10 pm) and Saturdays (6:30 pm), bringing a bit of the swamp into the brass. Dr. Bone and the Hubcaps jam every 3rd Saturday. Friday night’s early show belongs to the Panorama Jazz Band. And, newer to the weekly regulars, Monty Banks and the High Rollers welcome the late crowd on Thursdays. Last night, Monty sang "Besame" as his saxophonist and trumpet player made room for a local couple dancing like Ginger and Fred. It was a performance in sharing space in this tiny room, where wicker chairs leave little aisle and Suzanne Saunders dreamy French Quarter paintings  bring a funky fluidity into the house.


(Photo taken Friday night by TB)

But, no worry, seven nights a week, early show and late, the music plays. Just ask your cabby to take you to Frenchmen in the Marigny.

The house was packed when we showed up around 10:30 last night. My date and I grabbed a couple Bud Lights (which took a while), curled around the crowd to an opening in the window corner, and soaked up the atmosphere. I’d describe it as old Havana bar meets the Left Bank of Paris. People share their smokes. Most men wear fedoras. And the sidewalk out front is just a continuation of the party inside.

If you feel like jazz-hopping anytime soon, this area is where to go.

The Spotted Cat
623 Frenchmen Street
504-943-3887 (Ask for Eura)



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