The Penthouse Club

Hey Blake,

Where was the Playboy Club in New Orleans and when did it open for business?

Dear reader,

The Playboy Club nightspot opened at 727 Iberville St. in October 1961. It was the third nightclub in a national chain started by magazine founder Hugh Hefner. Chicago was home to the first club, opening in 1960, with Miami and New Orleans opening the next year. Clubs followed in more than 25 other cities. Membership for admission cost $25, and a key (bearing the iconic Playboy logo) was required for entry.

Ads recruiting women to work as one of the 50 Playboy Bunnies who served food and drinks at the club appeared in local newspapers in the months leading up to the opening: "Bunny girls selected to wait on keyholders and their guests must be extremely attractive, intelligent, personable young ladies of good moral character." The ads promised an annual salary of between $9,000 and $12,000 for a position as one of "the world's most famous, most glamourous, highest paid cocktail hostesses."

Besides the women who worked there, the New Orleans Playboy Club also is remembered as a hotspot for comedy acts and modern jazz. Piano legend Ellis Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie and drummer Johnny Vidacovich were just some of the musicians who performed there. New Orleans modern jazz saxophonist Al Belletto was director of entertainment for the chain, performed at the local club and booked music for nine other Playboy locations. For a time, another Playboy Club was operating in Metairie's Fat City nightlife district.

The local club closed in 1974 and was replaced by the restaurant Anything Goes, and later by other businesses. The building (pictured) now is home to The Penthouse Club.