Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- One of New Orleans' most famous music venues reopened its doors this Martin Luther King Junior holiday.

After years of bureaucratic delays, Kermit Ruffins is breathing new life into the Mother-in-Law Lounge in Treme.

'When you wake up a building like this that has so much culture and love for the music and the musicians and the city. It's always a good thing,' said Ruffins during Monday's official grand opening.

The musician celebrated with friends the rebirth of the iconic establishment along South Claiborne Avenue. Back in the day, the 2,000-square-foot barroom was owned by legendary musician Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette.

Now Ruffins is carrying the torch.

'I'm quite sure that it's going to be successful. I think that Ernie K-Doe laid the foundation for this place. All I have to do is keep the doors open,' said Ruffins.

Shuttered since 2010, the Crescent City landmark is getting a second wind and makeover.

'Everything that you've seen here redone probably started in 2006,' said artist Daniel Fuselier, who has been working on repainting the building's facade since the storm.

As a new generation of music-loving patrons rolls into the historic lounge, Fuselier remains dedicated to bringing the structure back to life. His labor of love dates back to when Antoinette owned the bar.

'There was some local music playing around a year after Ernie K-Doe's passing. I just showed up one night and Antoinette just started asking about myself and I said I was a painter,' said Fuselier who continues to show up on his days off.

'Fantastic opportunity will help to revitalize Claiborne Avenue. It's sorely missed,' said New Orleans resident Al Jackson who attended the lounge's reopening.

Though the neighborhood remains fragmented by the Claiborne overpass -- a renaissance of sorts has begun. Jackson hopes bringing back Circle Food Store and now the Mother-in-Law Lounge are signs of more great things to come.

'This was a strip which was akin to rival Bourbon Street. If Kermit brings this place back it could be the beginning of something good. That we really need,' said Jackson.

Read or Share this story: