The Eagle Saloon Initiative (ESI), an organization working to restore the historical Eagle Saloon building at 401 S. Rampart St., has installed two cast-bronze plaques commemorating the buildings contributions to jazz history.
Originally built in 1851, the Eagle Saloon eventually became a hotspot in the early jazz age, frequently playing host to jazz pioneers like Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong. Many of the equally historic buildings around the bar came down as the neighborhood was redeveloped over the course of the 20th century, but the Eagle Saloon still stands—albeit in less-than-ideal condition—along with the Iroquois Theater and the historic Karnofsky family building.
“These plaques are another step in the process of preserving and breathing life back into this magnificent building,” said ESI Project Leader Zach Fawcett. “As we continue to progress with the support of our Ambassadors, Curators, and Board Members, these beautiful adornments will give locals a greater sense of what’s to come, all while educating those who travel from far and wide to visit our wonderful, historically rich city.”
ESI is a partner of the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization that owns the building. Both organizations have teamed up with Eagle Saloon “Ambassadors” and “Curators” like George Porter Jr., “Big Sam” Williams, Dr. Bruce Raeburn and Dr. Michael White as part of their revitalization efforts.
In addition to installing the bronze plaques, ESI has also just added new window displays highlighting some of the iconic musicians who performed at the Eagle Saloon.
“We would like to thank everyone involved with helping us make this happen as a collective,” Fawcett added. “These small but significant additions to the building are just a sign of what’s to come.”