Popular New Orleans trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and Mother-in-Law Lounge, the famous Crescent City landmark, has overcome a crucial step needed to re-open after a longer-than-expected closure. Mother-in-Laws closed in December, 2010 and has remained closed during renovations. Because it’s doors were shut for more than 6 months, the business unintentionally lost a crucial zoning permit to operate.
This week, the City Council voted unanimously to grant a new permit to the Claiborne Avenue bar, which is now owned by Ruffins.
“I am excited to see Kermit Ruffins opening the Mother-in-Law again,” said New Orleans photographer Kim Welch. “He is the only person who will be sure to make Antoinette proud in this shrine to her immortal husband, Ernie K-Doe.
Founded as a live music venue by eccentric New Orleans rhythm & blues singer Ernie K-Doe, he named the club after his biggest hit, “Mother-in-Law”, which reached #1 on the Billboard Pop chart in 1961. after his passing in 2001, his wife Antoinette continued operating the beautifully ornate building, making it a shrine to her late husband, including a life size mannequin of the 60s hit maker.
The club, with it’s incredible, hand painted murals featuring New Orleans legends, was completely submerged in 2005’s devastating Hurricane Katrina; a strong financial and physical blow to the club. On Madri Gras morning, 2009, Antoinette passed away, and her daughter Betty moved to New Orleans to continue operating the business that had become her late parent’s legacy.
In 2010, after a long standing and difficult struggle with the business of running a night club, Betty closed it’s doors in December. The next month, widely celebrated New Orleans trumpeter Kermit Ruffins purchased it, hoping to reopen by Mardi Gras. Renovations took longer than expected, and the club lost it’s zoning status. The council this week successfully voted to give the club a new zoning status, allowing it to re-open. Due to the longstanding fame and culture of the club, it’s ability to re-open was hardly in doubt.
Mother-in-Law Lounge (and Ernie K-Doe’s mannequin) has been featured in the HBO drama Tremé, revolving around the lives of New Orleans residents struggling to rebuild and reconnect with their city after Hurricane Katrina.
“I’m sure there will be great barbeque, as only Kermit can grill,” said Welch, “and the Treme neighborhood will once again have a place to commune with great live music and a classic juke box.” Earlier this month, Mother-in-Law made the “Blues Halls & Juke Joints
” 2013 Wall Calendar, as one of the twelve featured must-visit live blues venues across the U.S.