Despite Hurricane Ida’s disruptive visit to the Baton Rouge metro area, some local music venues barely missed a beat.
Emerging from the storm unscathed, The Basin Music Hall, Red Stick Social and the Manship Theatre benefitted by being connected to downtown Baton Rouge’s power grid. In addition to not sustaining wind damage, the three venues never lost electricity.
The Basin Music Hall on 3rd Street nonetheless postponed Sept. 3’s appearance by Magnolia Bayou. The Mississippi band couldn’t find a hotel room, The Basin co-owner Brian Ott said. Due to the approaching Hurricane Ida, the venue also postponed its Aug. 28 show.
Closed for an extended period during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Basin reopened a few months ago. In the long term, it’s more threatened by the ongoing pandemic than Ida and other potential storms, Ott said.
“People are still wary about going to big shows,” he said. “But overall, we’re pretty happy with the way things are going. From now to the end of the year, we’ve got a full slate of stuff.”
Because the downtown-adjacent Red Stick Social never lost power, the venue presented shows last week, including the Michael Foster Project on the Thursday following Ida’s Sunday landfall. In the days after Ida, the venue also offered complimentary breakfast to powerless residents in the community.
Red Stick Social normally presents music Wednesday through Saturday. Musicians perform on the venue’s outdoor stage or, if weather doesn’t permit an outdoor show, inside. Local, regional and some national acts are set for the coming months.
“We’ve got some big long-term plans,” said J. Hover, director of entertainment at Red Stick Social.
The less lucky Texas Club experienced power loss and damage. During previous storms, the Donmoor Avenue venue had been a place of refuge, co-owner Mark Rogers said. Not even the citywide devastation caused by Hurricane Gustav in 2008 left the Texas Club without electricity.
“This is the first time I remember losing power there in 40 years,” Rogers said. “If The Texas Club loses power, you know it’s bad.”
Three recently installed air-conditioners atop the 17,000-square-foot building were blown around on the roof, Rogers said.
“They were knocked down,” he said. “They’re probably OK, but they have to be reinstalled. And who knows about my other units. We won’t know that until some juice comes back on.”
Like The Basin Music Hall, The Texas Club has a busy schedule of shows planned. The club’s calendar includes the Chase Tyler Band on Sept. 17 and national acts Lonestar, Corey Smith and Joe Nichols in the coming months.
“So, I’ve got a few days to get everything together,” Rogers said. “We don’t want to miss out on anything, if we don’t have to.”
At MidCity Ballroom, the decision to temporarily close in the weeks before Hurricane Ida worked to the venue’s advantage.
“We postponed three weeks of shows because the COVID surge was getting out of hand,” talent buyer Aaron Scruggs said. “So the storm didn’t affect us at all. We were lucky.”
MidCity Ballroom resumes events Friday with a rock show headlined by Loudness War. The venue on Acadian Thruway lost electricity last week but had no wind damage.
In addition to his MiCity Ballroom duties, Scruggs is a co-owner of the under-construction Chelsea’s Live on Nicholson Drive.
“We’re on the downtown grid, so we had power there,” Scruggs said. “It was nice for the construction guys to get in there and not be in their hot homes.”
Scruggs anticipates the 6,300-foot-square Chelsea’s Live will open in late October.
The Red Dragon Listening Room on Florida Boulevard lost two shows because of Ida. Before the storm, the New Orleans-based Kristin Diable postponed her Ida landfall eve appearance there. The venue’s Sept. 2 show with Eric DiSanto and Will Wesley was a no-go, too, because the venue still lacked power.
“We had no damage at the Dragon and just a few hours of cleanup work on the back parking lot,” Red Dragon owner Chris Maxwell reported. “I’m happy to say it was more of an inconvenience for us than a disaster. COVID, that was a disaster for our biz.”
The Red Dragon has a busy season scheduled, beginning with Sunday’s sold-out Mike and the Moonpies show.
Like other downtown venues, the Manship Theatre didn’t lose power. But following two performances of “Hook, Across Neverland” on Aug. 28, Circus Louisiana canceled an Aug. 29 performance due to the approaching Ida.
“Post-storm everything is back on track,” Manship Theatre executive director Melanie Couvillon said. “Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to those impacted by this horrible storm."