"That's why we're having the grand re-opening, because we're doing a lot of things," says the 33-year-old Guercio. "We call it the new face of 307. We're going to 307 as a moniker, because we're trying to get people used to the idea of seeing and doing more than listening to live music here."
Grand re-opening plans include diversifying the club's entertainment offerings. 307 will be pushing its Tuesday comedy night and adding more headliners to the lineup, pairing up with Zeus CafÃ© to offer an international music night on Thursdays to complement its popular Latin night on Saturday, and holding an all-star musicians jam once a month to benefit Healthcare for Musicians. (The comedy aspect is unique, because Lafayette has no other stand-up comedy venue. Maximillian's in the Hilton recently discontinued its comedy nights.)
At the time of 307's opening, The Sound Factory and Root Hogs were the only businesses open at night in the 300 block of Jefferson Street. 307 now shares its nightlife with Guamas, Rain, New Orleans Daiquiris and Froggy's.
Buildings on either side of the club, at 305 and 309 Jefferson St., were also available for lease, so not long after leasing 307, the owners leased the other two buildings, with expansion plans in place before the business even opened.
Guercio and Delcambre, 31, met at UL Lafayette as industrial design students and started a design business together after graduation. When Delcambre noticed 307's building up for lease, he approached Guercio about opening a club together, and the two were drawn to the building. They were then introduced to Dr. Darrell Henderson, a partner in The Surgery Center and Plastic Surgery Associates; Henderson became a financial backer and co-owner and allowed Guercio and Delcambre to design the space and oversee construction. (The three partners declined to give figures on their expansion costs, but have already invested more than $200,000 in the property.)
"I love new projects," says Henderson. "There hadn't been a jazz and blues club in Lafayette." The club booked local and New Orleans jazz bands nightly in its early days, and Lafayette blues legend Carol Fran was a regular act during the club's first year, as was Harry Hypolite and Henry Gray.
New Orleans jazz band Astral Project has played the club both before and after its expansion. "It's a beautiful place," says drummer Johnny Vidacovich. "It's got a great sound, and there isn't a bad seat in the house. It's a collective atmosphere for musicians and people." Even though Astral Project has been playing Lafayette since the 1970s, Vidacovich says the club gave the band a new venue with some newer, younger faces in the crowd.
Henderson, a former musician, played a big part in the acoustics of the club. His son William plays keyboard and saxophone in Spontaneous Comphunksion and several other local bands, and Henderson wanted a place where his son could hear great music, learn to do sound and play occasionally.
In the beginning, Delcambre and Guercio booked music blindly, with mixed results. "We've come to the conclusion that we don't have to have live music every single day," says Guercio. "We had no idea it was so difficult. We thought that if you book great music, people will come. People can get live music in a lot of places in Lafayette, so we've gone to focusing on bigger shows, bigger acts, instead of more acts." Cajun and zydeco music were incorporated into the repertoire last year, and the club branched out to offer theater, cabaret performances, poetry readings and comedy.
The 309 expansion will give the club additional space for private parties and nonprofit events. "In the back of the building, there's just a slab, but we want to add a banquet hall facility on the outside with a raised roof and exposed beam ceiling that would also serve as an expansion to the lounge, so we could do bigger shows," says Guercio. He would also like more room in the bar so the club could offer a lunch menu. "We're going to be serving snacks and appetizers eventually," he says, "but we can't do lunch with three tables."
The adjacent 309 expansion is dependent upon the bar moratorium currently in effect for downtown. Formerly Smokin' Joe's and Goodfellas, 309 was opened as a restaurant, so a bar can't open in its space. Guercio says they are waiting for the review of the ordinance in June and hopes to be granted permission to open 309 as a bar. "We feel like our place is good for downtown, something that Lafayette can be proud of, and we're hoping to be able to utilize that space," he says.
"307's always been very supportive of downtown, and we're excited about the expansion and support,' says David D'Aquin, newly hired marketing director for Downtown Development Authority. "They helped revitalize their block, and their faÃ§ade improvements really helped improve the look of that block."
Guercio, Delcambre and Henderson signed a 20-year lease on all three of the buildings, so the entrepreneurs plan on being around for a long time.
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.