"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.
Pop-up dinner of chef Justin Girouard’s creations reflect farming traditions
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 16, 2014:
newsy bits for the fam
Festival International de Louisiane is right around the corner — April 23-27 — and IND Monthly’s second annual Fest fIND contest is along for the ride.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The perfect color for Easter Sunday
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
A Scott businessman has pleaded guilty to failing to report a conspiracy to award Opelousas Housing Authority construction bids to his company.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
Egg-citing ideas for sharing at family gatherings
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Court-appointed examiner says Lafayette businessman was “effectively on both sides” of transactions, opens door for legal action against him.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette-based insurance broker/risk management group bought by Florida firm for undisclosed sum; principals Landry and Harris continue to run local operations.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
The life and legacy of Dave Perkins will be commemorated with a special INDesign Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2014 event on April 24.