Music clubs are rarely dedicated to a single musician, and few as influential as performer, composer, and pianist Professor Longhair. Henry Roeland Byrd, (a.k.a. Professor Longhair) is one of the most revered rhythm and blues musicians in the legacy of New Orleans music. Longhair created a unique style by fusing rhumba rhythms with boogie-woogie, blues and southern R&B. Fess composed many songs which are part of the Crescent City lexicon, like “Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” which serves as the soundtrack to Carnival every year. Longhair influenced his musical peers and progeny in the Crescent City since the 1950s including Dr. John, the Meters, the Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint, and many others.
Tipitina’s began as a neighborhood juke joint, established in 1977, by a group of young music fans (The Fabulous Fo’teen) to provide a place for Professor Longhair to perform in his final years. The venue, named for one of Longhair’s most enigmatic recordings “Tipitina,” has survived in an ever-changing musical climate despite changing ownership and briefly closing in 1984.
Many of the Crescent City’s most beloved artists developed and continue to grace the stage at Tipitina’s including Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, the Meters, Cowboy Mouth, the Radiators, Galactic, Better Than Ezra, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Tipitina’s has been fortunate over its history to host national artists including Wilco, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Lenny Kravitz, Bonnie Raitt, James Brown, Widespread Panic, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tim McGraw, Goo Goo Dolls, Parliament Funkadelic, Robert Cray, Patti Smith, Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Dresden Dolls, and Medeski, Martin & Wood. Many historic live recordings were made at Tipitina’s by artists including Professor Longhair, Tuts Washington, Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Anders Osborne, Kermit Ruffins, Galactic, Kim Carson, Wet Willie and Flow Tribe. As a timeless musical institution, Tipitina’s has promoted unforgettable music over its rich history and will continue to well into the future.