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Live Music On Tap 

Jené Jeandron has New Orleans nightlife in her blood. Her late Uncle Grits owned half a dozen bars in New Orleans, including an eponymous Uptown watering hole that still exists and a one-time shrimp factory-turned-dancehall that under different owners became the legendary Tipitina's. So it's no wonder that Jeandron is working hard to continue the legacy. As owner of Tarantula Arms (209 Decatur St., 525-5525), she provides a venue where locals and tourists can not only wet their whistles, but also satisfy their appetites for live music.

"We're an old New Orleans-style bar that appeals to locals because of the local bands that play, but we're also trying to appeal to tourists because of the location," says Jeandron, who has worked for music clubs in both Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Named after the hotel where Blanche Dubois received gentlemen callers in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, Tarantula Arms is firmly rooted in the romance and tradition of historic New Orleans. Yes, you will find exposed brick walls, sultry ceiling fans, framed autographs and burlesque entertainment. But it's not a pastiche of the past.

Opened earlier this year and located in the same block as the House of Blues, Tarantula Arms offers a variety of musical genres -- everything from rockabilly and country to alternative punk and blues. Regular bookings include the Public, a New Orleans-based indie punk band; local jam bands like Gradoux and Billy Iuso and The Restless Natives; and the Honey Island Swamp Band, a country/blues group. On alternate Sunday nights, Tarantula Arms has burlesque performances by Spooky LeStrange and Her Billion Dollar Baby Dolls. On Monday nights, starting this month, local musicians can showcase their talents at an open-mic night hosted by local songwriter/guitarist Philip Olivier. The club also features DJs during the week, a karaoke machine and Katrina Sangria, a house mixture of exotic rum and wine. It opens at 6 p.m. daily.

In the coming months, Jeandron plans to introduce a new menu of locally influenced, casual foods like red beans and rice, and grilled items like burgers and Ahi tuna sandwiches.

"This bar is based in the mystique of this city, the culture and the art and the history," says Jeandron. "I wanted to start a business that would reflect all that."

click to enlarge Jen Jeandron wants her new bar, Tarantula Arms, to reflect - the romance and tradition of historic New Orleans
  • Jen Jeandron wants her new bar, Tarantula Arms, to reflect the romance and tradition of historic New Orleans


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