"The contractors are putting in 10-hour days," says Maraist, "and for the rest of us, it's a lot, from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed."
A dozen workers — electricians, plumbers, carpenters — dart around the club, pulling wires and cutting wood. Two men are building the bar's liquor cabinets, and two others are installing the new padded backdrop that spans the length of the 40-foot stage and reaches up to the rafters. The bathrooms have been completely rebuilt. Two 12-ton air conditioning units have been reconditioned and are blowing cold air onto the stage, and another 10-ton unit air conditioning will be installed in two days. The first-rate sound equipment is en route from Loud Technologies in Washington and will be on site within three days. The massive covered porch stretching across the outside of the building is complete. The purchase price and renovations are estimated at $600,000, and every inch of the club, all of its notorious unused nooks, have been remodeled to maximize its space.
When Grant Street reopens its doors Thursday, it'll feel like a step back in time to the club's original opening night on the same holiday back in 1980. Red Beans & Rice Revue opens up the evening, followed by Sonny Landreth with special guests C.J. Chenier, Steve Conn and Mel Melton. Friday night, rock 'n' roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis takes the stage. Saturday night offers the Southern eccentricities of pianist Bobby Lounge, and The Fabulous Boogie Kings and G.G. Shinn wrap up the weekend on Sunday night.
There was a conscious effort to book Louisiana-centric bands for the opening weekend. "We wanted to center it around Louisiana music and giving back to the community and the local musicians they've supported through the years," says Maraist. "That's how I wanted to come out with the opening weekend, but I don't think that's indicative of exactly what this place is going to be like. I would like to bring in bluegrass, rock, jazz, blues, — a lot of different music — and just have it be really good entertainment across the board no matter what the genre is."
The new owners hope lightning strikes twice in the same location that hosted musical legends like Ray Charles, Maceo Parker and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Through its Web site, www.grantstreetdancehall.com, the club is selling tickets for its re-opening weekend and other upcoming shows — Jimmie Vaughan, Lil' Band O' Gold, Eric Johnson, Doyle Bramhall, Bob Schneider, and Sons of William.
As a bonus for opening night, the Air Conditioned Lounge, an 1,800-square-foot room hidden from the public view behind the stage, will be open for business, long before its original anticipated opening by year's end. There are three other California clubs with the same name, owned by Wide Eyes Entertainment, Maraist's partners in Grant Street. The other clubs are self-contained, not a part of a larger venue like Grant Street. Air Conditioned will be open six days a week and feature live music and smaller shows throughout the week.
The lounge is just another feature to further the club's musical mission. "To me," Maraist says, "Grant Street has always been the place that hipped Lafayette to new music, whether it was Medeski, Martin & Wood or Los Lobos. No matter what the genre of music, there have been times in the history of Grant Street when you knew you could just show up and you would see a good show no matter what type of music."
For now, the only sound is buzzing saws, and Maraist is surrounded by floating sawdust and the smell of freshly cut wood. With all that's left to do, will Maraist and his crew make the looming deadline for the grand re-opening? "Absolutely," he says.
For tickets, call (800) 594-8499 or visit www.grantstreetdancehall.com. For more info, call 237-8513.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.
Three bedroom cottage or three bedroom ranch
Sheer lace perfection
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
Three bedroom in Lawtell or two bedroom in Rayne
Fall's new darling
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.