If anyone can rekindle the peculiar New Orleans magic that illuminated the Mother-in-Law Lounge when the great Ernie K-Does ran it, surely Kermit Ruffins can.
Tuesday, the local trumpeter got the green light from the City Planning Commission to reopen the lounge following a hearing held to determine the future of the odd and wonderful Claiborne Avenue bar and nightclub where Ernie K-Doe performed during the latter stages of his life. After K-Doe’s death, his wife Antoinette filled it with K-Doe memorabilia and kept the bar alive as museum of sorts. Upon Anotinette’s untimely passing on Mardi Gras Day 2009, her daughter, Betty Fox, moved from Memphis, Tennessee to take over the establishment and make a go of it. She failed in her efforts, and in December 2010, the Mother-in-Law was shuttered for good.
Or so it was believed…
When the news broke early last year that Kermit Ruffins had leased the club, it was initially greeted with elation. However, Ruffins was unable to obtain the proper certification to reopen the lounge. Because it had been closed for more than six months, the Mother-in-Law Lounge’s previously legal, nonconforming use status was no longer valid. Thus, to align with B-1A neighborhood business district zoning regulations, both the sale of alcohol and the presentation of live music were prohibited.
Ruffins then went through the process of applying for rezoning and a conditional use permit. On Tuesday, August 14, he got his chance to plead his case to the City Planning Commission. The commission unanimously approved his request, and the New Orleans City Council should rubber-stamp the agreement shortly.
Let the swinging begin!
Here’s a video of the late Antoinette K-Doe describing her transformation of the Mother-in-Law Lounge