"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.
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!
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
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.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
There was a time when United Ballot had a political stranglehold so tight on Lafayette’s black community it was nearly unbreakable, but that grip might be loosening.
The race for Lafayette city marshal may not be the most exciting of this year’s local political contests, but it could prove the most historic.
With the DA’s race too close to call and negative media coverage of Mike Harson on the ebb, will challenger Keith Stutes take the gloves off?
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.