"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.
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, surprised few in the Hub City Wednesday afternoon when he made (semi) official what most of us have known for months: He is running to replace Joey Durel as city-parish president.
Two bedroom town home or three bedroom contemporary home
Let the party begin
Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction — who was a Republican before he was a Democrat before he was a Republican again — is accusing Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of using the black community for votes and providing nothing in return.
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
Rachel Hector returns home to cultivate a generation of yoga instructors.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
It is distinctly possible control of the U.S. Senate will hinge on Louisiana, which is why, during the last several months, outside groups have made this the most expensive election in Louisiana history.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A constellation of South Louisiana musical stars descends on Parc Sans Souci to honor an ailing David Egan.
INDStyle Awards 2014 was one for the books; the American Cancer Society took over The Victorian's big tent; and the battle of the sexes was alive and well for Walk a Runway's Christmas fundraiser.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra teams up with choreographer Clare Cook for a modern take on a Stravinsky classic.
Local food pantries begin seasonal drives
A girl's best fashion friend
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Creative living flourishes at Downtown’s artist hub
Four bedroom cottage or four bedroom traditional
Bold looks for fall define INDStyle Awards 2014
Statement pieces for the season
The gents venture out
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
The Latin Music Festival returns to Parc International this Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon to 10 p.m.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.