"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.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Thursday.
It’s on, y’all. Fest fIND, our annual Festival International de Louisiana reader contest, is now accepting photo submissions.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
Fashion and music make great bedfellows
Producers, manufacturers, restaurants and chefs host roundtable and tasting
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
The easy one-piece way to style
Comfy feet for long days
Newsy bits for the whole fam
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
This Wednesday, April 23, marks the first full day of INNOV8 Lafayette.
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The state’s “greedy trial lawyers” haven’t scared this oil giant away.
Local boutique celebrates all things green
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.