By Marielle Songy, Mid-City Messenger
After spending the summer shuttered, Mid-City music venue Chickie Wah Wah, will reopen on Wednesday (Dec. 7 ).
The club has been recovering from the loss of original owner Dale Triguero, who died in July 2021, as music venues everywhere still struggled with pandemic shutdowns and slowdowns.
Triguero moved to New Orleans from New York in the 1990s and set down his music roots as the co-owner and manager of the Old Point Bar in Algiers, according to his obituary. After Hurricane Katrina flooded the former Canal Bus Stop bar, Triguero bought and renovated the space — creating Chickie Wah Wah, a Mid-City bar that has hosted a rotating cast of top local musicians since 2006.
The bar featured regular performances by such artists as Jon Cleary, Paul Sanchez, Meschiya Lake and Tom McDermott. Susan Cowsill, Alex McMurray, and Tank and the Bangas. The venue became popular not only for its music but for its kitchen, its accessible hours, its comfortable ambience and a smoking ban before the city barred indoor smoking in public venues.
Even before Triguero’s death at 68, from complications following heart surgery, the future of Chickie Wah Wah was uncertain. In an interview with Keith Spera for The Times-Picayune, Triguero admitted that the venue had been struggling and lamented that the 18 months before the coronavirus pandemic were the worst he’d seen for his business.
During the shutdown, Triguero live-streamed audience-free events to generate income for Chickie Wah Wah and the musicians who performed there. He also considered selling the venue and business and relocating to Los Angeles.
Following Triguero’s death, a project to restore Chickie Wah Wah to its former glory was taken on by Jacques Ferland, a longtime friend of Triguero’s, and musician Meschiya Lake. Under their guidance, the venue reopened in October of last year and, although Lake left the project after two months, Chickie Wah Wah booked monthly acts until May of this year.
The venue closed temporarily and, in July, Chickie Wah Wah was purchased from Triguero’s estate by a group of local impresarios. The group includes Steve Rehage, Alex Brahl, Patrick Templeman and Bryan Bailey, who is also responsible for the renovation of The Civic Theater on O’Keefe Ave.
According to NOLA.com, the renovations, which fall in the six-figure range, include a new HVAC system, structural repairs, reconfiguring the main room, and updating the venue’s sound and light system.
Chickie Wah Wah will celebrate its reopening Wednesday (Dec. 7) with a second-line with the Big 6 Brass band, the Warren Easton Marching Band and Keepin’ It Real Social Aid & Pleasure Club. The show inside the club will feature performances by Johnny Sansone; Johnny Vidacovich, James Singleton and Rob Wagner; Greazy Alice; and Saxkixave.
The second-line is at 5 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Show tickets are $20 in advance or $27 at the door. Participants are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for Warren Easton’s Christmas toy drive. The Cochon King BBQ food truck will be onsite.
The calendar for the rest of December is packed with events including Alex McMurray on Dec. 9, Kermit Ruffins’ Crazy Cool Christmas Party on Dec. 14, Alexis and the Samurai on Dec. 30, and many more.
Reporter Marielle Songy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.