1941 local bands in New Orleans

venues, news, social & pleasure clubs, too


1941 New Orleans skyline


Whether the lack of reports in the Louisiana Weekly on the club and band scene was for slack business in the clubs, too muchg competition from traveling acts and a resultant lack of work for local bands, or tight money–or no one to report on the scene, or to sell ads or buy them–it’s impossible to tell. Cobojo’s column transitions to  mostly society gossip, and  by the end of the year, the Weekly’s entertainment coverage is less than half a page.

Two factors in the scene. First, the quick rise of juke boxes, and second,  the local musicians union’s complaint against the newly opened Rhythm Club and its owner, Tudy Mancuso. Alvin Alcorn, president  of Musicians Protective Union local 496, complained that Mancuso and his club were employing too many “name” bands, depriving local union musicians of work, and that during the summer dance season of 1941 between 18 and 25 name bands had been brought in to New Orleans.

Local bands active in New Orleans, 1941

Sidney Desvigne’s orchestra / Sidney’s Moonlight Serenaders Swing Orchestra

George Williams orchestra

Papa Celestin, “the old master”

Paul Barbarin & his Jump Rhythm Boys

Henry Horton’s orchestra

Sidney Cates’ Moonlight Serenaders

Earl Barnes orchestra

Don Raymond orchestra 

A.J. Piron orchestra; Piron with Prof Victor & His Music Masters

Leary & his Society Syncopators

Fats Pichon, with “King Kicks, Satan’s imp”

Royal Playboys

Name acts, 1941

Jazz Lips Richardson

Cab Callaway

Fats Waller

Ella Fitzgerald

Lionel Hampton

Earl Hines

Flournoy Miller & the Tan Town Topics

Erskine Hawkins

Lil Green

Louis Armstrong (at Rhythm Club Sept. 14)

Claude Hopkins

Irvin C. Miller’s Brown Skin Models

May 17, 1941 Louisiana Weekly

Clubs & venues open to Black patrons, 1941

“Swank Chicken Coop to Open on January 6th,” Paul Gross, Propreietor

Gypsy Tea Room [Jan 27, Buddy Tureaud mgr of club].
In July, a renovated GTR opened: “Now the South’s longest nightclub,” it runs one whole city block, with 1,700 capacity & table reservations for 600. 

St. Katherine CYO Hall

Astoria Restaurant & Tick Tock Tavern;

Palace Theatre
August 30, 1941: Palace Theater Musicians go on strike; had been playing for $7.50 / wk, want .50 raise which has bee denied, resulting in non union musicians working there now. 

Pelican Restaurant & Bar 

Lincoln Theatre

San Jacinto Dance Hall, with new management & newly renovated;

Rhythm Club
   Alvin Alcorn & Local 496 file complaint against Mancuso & Rhythm Club for employing non-union musicians.

Tick Tock Tavern
   October 16, 1941: Re-opened under (un-named) management.

New Joy Tavern

News from the Louisiana Weekly

Jan 18, 1941
1: Magnolia housing unit opens; families move in

Feb. 1, 1941
1: Booker T. Washington High School to open in September.

April 23, 1941
1: Calliope housing project opened. 

May 24, 1941
4: Swimming is okayed at Lincoln Beach at Little Wood & the Citrus Canal; they’ll both be cleaned up and police will try to keep people from throwing dead animals & refuse in the water and to remove open toilets and pig sties along the canal. Over 1,000+ attended opening  last Sunday. Eddie Burbridge is the new manager.

June 21, 1941
1: “Juke Box Racket Expose Shows Negroes as Heaviest Supporters.”
    170,000 Negroes in New Orleans and many support the juke box racket, which is dominated by white operators. Currently 7,000 juke boxes in NO, most owned & oerated by Samuel Hoskins.
4: Health department closes Lincoln Beach, noting that the operators failed to obey heath department regulations & the water was contaminated.

June 28, 1941
1: Lincoln Beach re-opened.

July 5, 1941
5: 500 Negro soldiers at Jackson barracks
6: Booker T .Washington High School under construction

July 26, 1941
1: 22 Negro homicides this year; latest was found dead in his cell in Algiers, with no explanation.

August 16, 1941
4: Lafite Housing Project, largest in the South, is now nearly filled, at rent starting for $8.25 / month.

October 25, 1941
1: MPs & police are boycotting & picketing at the Snack, a Black-owned sweetshop & beer tavern near Jackson Barracks, at St. Claude & Delery St., and “out of bounds” for Black-operated businesses.
4: Lease-signing begins for St. Bernard housing projects.

November 8, 1941
1: The Shack mysteriously burned to ground; owner says he’s been targeted since July.
4: Stop Hitler Rally at Shakespeare Park.

• • • 

A partial list of Social & Pleasure Clubs in New Orleans, 1941, compiled from activities listed–club meeting and dances, especially–by these clubs and organizations in the Louisiana Weekly.

Ad Libitum Bridge

Autocrat Club

Beau Brummels

Black Pirates Club

Breakfast Club

Bunch Club

Busy Bee Club

Capetowners’ Club

DBT Bridge Club

Dorcas Sewing Club Helping Hand Pleasure Club

the Dukes

Fiddlestick Club

Euphrosyne Club

Gardenia Stitch & chat Club

Golden Leaf Art Club

GPC Pleasure & Social Club

Helping Hand Pleasure Club

Holsum Girls

Imperial Bridge Club

Jolly Boys & Girls Carnival Club


Klassy Kut-ups

Ladies Royal Twenty-five

 La Vida Bridge Club

Le Circle de Service

Les Chers Amis  Modern Matrons

Los Buenos Apogeo S&P Club  

LTS Club

Marionettes Club

 Mikado Club

Moonlight Sewing Circle

Neighbors’ Whist Club
Original TNTs

New Orleans Poor Club

Phyllis Wheatley Club

Pullman Porters

Plantation Revelers

Rhinestone Club

Rose of Sharon Cub

Royal 25 

Seventeen Club

Sigma Gamma Rho

Sparkettes Social & Pleasure Club

Starlight Revelers
Stardust Revelers

Star spangled 8


Unity Club

Vogue Sewing & Embroidery Club

Young men 22s

–2 December 2023