The Sound of Building Coffins Excerpt

The Sound of Building Coffins Excerpt

As we work to bring back the Eagle Saloon, we’re proud to share this excerpt from Louis Maistros’ The Sound of Building Coffins, a brilliant New Orleans novel that fictionalizes the lives of Buddy Bolden and a number of forgotten denizens of the Eagle Saloon and the Odd Fellows Hall. We hope you enjoy this wild scene, which Mr. Maistros has edited into a lean, spoiler-free Eagle Saloon exclusive. If you dig the excerpt, be sure to donate to the Eagle Saloon Indiegogo Campaign to receive a signed and personalized copy of The Sound of Building Coffins!


Cultural Ambassador Eric Krasno Featured in Wall Street Journal

Eagle Saloon Cultural Ambassador and guitar mastermind Eric Krasno is featured in today's Wall Street Journal, where he discusses his new album - and vocal debut - Blood From a Stone. We are proud to work with such an innovative, soulful musician whose combination of "modern sounds with old concepts" reflects our mission here at the Eagle Saloon. Check out the article in the link below.

Tom Hook Brings the Robichaux Orchestra to Life

Buddy Bolden wasn't the only star at the Odd Fellows Hall on the Eagle Saloon's third floor. John Robichaux's Orchestra was also immensely popular, and as a Creole band with classical training and sight-reading skills, the Orchestra presented a more refined alternative to the rambunctious sounds of the Bolden band. Led by the violinist and arranger Robichaux, the Orchestra played many of the same parks and dance halls as Bolden, which meant that Robichaux and Bolden often competed for audiences, gigs, and money. The two bands even engaged in the occasional “cutting session,” in which the leaders and their sidemen would try to out-blow each other while the audience cheered on their favorites. In a time when New Orleans music was transforming profoundly, these musical battles represented the clash between Old and New.

Thankfully, local pianist and arranger Tom Hook recently formed a band to perform and record Robichaux's music (Robichaux, like Bolden, never recorded his bands). Hook's impressive recreation of this music began with a visit to Tulane University's Hogan Jazz Archive, where he was able to study and work with Robichaux's original arrangements firsthand. To learn more about Hook's New John Robichaux Society Orchestra (and to hear their astonishing recordings), click the link below.  

Clearing Up the History

Here at the Eagle Saloon, we appreciate the importance of recordings, sonic and otherwise. Can you imagine what it would be like to have recordings of Buddy Bolden and his band? All we do have is a single photograph, not to mention scores of firsthand accounts of Bolden's horn-blowing majesty. 

Thankfully, we do have recordings of the legions of musicians Bolden influenced. The most important of those musicians is probably Louis Armstrong, who wore Bolden's influence on his sleeve. Here's an unusually clear recording of Armstrong and His Orchestra playing "Ain't Misbehavin'" in 1929. It's so clear, you can almost hear Satch's lips on the horn.

Check it out here!

A spirited resurrection is taking place

From the music to the food to the architecture, New Orleans’ wild melting-pot culture has remained potent and unique through centuries of change. This cultural strength – that almost supernatural force that draws millions of visitors to New Orleans each year – would be impossible without a deep appreciation of the city’s history. By preserving the history of New Orleans, we preserve the city’s spirit.

Our mission here at the Eagle Saloon is to restore a monumental part of that history. As one of the final remaining dance halls from the heyday of Black Storyville, the Eagle Saloon is a treasure that demands preservation and revitalization. Because as New Orleanians know all too well, you can’t move forward until you know where you’ve been.

With that in mind, check out this brief clip from Ken Burns’ Jazz. The video covers the innovative genius of Buddy Bolden, and the Masonic Hall, which was located on the third floor of the Eagle Saloon Building, gets a shout-out at 4:07.

New Orleans jazz landmark on South Rampart targeted for revival, again

"Now, a new group is starting over in hopes of restoring this New Orleans treasure -- a building on the National Register of Historic Places -- at last. The Eagle Saloon Initiative and new board members for the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame this week began rallying community and business leaders in a fundraising drive for a $500,000 stabilization of the building to first secure its preservation."