"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.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.