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There's a New Orleans vibe running rampant in the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge,
a fine place for a shot of bourbon or two. Large piñata-like voodoo dolls hang
from the ceiling. And a festive array of Mardi Gras beads dangle from any object
that’ll hold them up behind the bar, including the trusty Saints football helmet
propped next to the TV in the back.
Fittingly, the essence of the bar was borne out of what is perhaps New Orleans’
best quality: enthusiasm for culture, music, drinking and yes, Saints football. Two
bartenders who worked here several years ago and still happen to frequent the
bar came from NOLA. They felt the call to fulfill their fellow Louisiana and Gulf
Coast natives' great need for a Saints bar. And this was even when the Saints
So they went to work “theme-ing” out the place with decorations reminiscent
of the Crescent City. The Black Magic bar became the Black Magic Voodoo
Lounge. All of a sudden it felt right to blast brass music and bless people’s ears
with the jazz- and blues-rooted New Orleans music of venerable artists like
Kermit Ruffins, Professor Longhair and Dr. John. All go well with a bourbon in a
highball glass, in case you were wondering.
But let’s be fair about a few things. During the week, the place isn’t exactly a
fountain of youth. If you’re in your 20s or 30s you’re not necessarily going to
be weighing your options as to who you want to hit on. And it’s a far cry from
some of New Orleans’ most classic bars, like DBA, the bourbon and jazz oasis
on Frenchman St., or a sports and oyster heaven like Cooter Brown’s, where
alligator po boys are a dime a dozen.
But that is well beside the point. This is a tribute bar, not an imitation bar. And
in that feat, the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge gets four fleur de lys. I got my
confirmation of that on a Saints Sunday game day. The bar opened at 8 a.m.,
jam-packed with animated fans who loved to eat, drink, and party—and who are
friendly, tip well, and carry that classic NOLA attribute—enthusiasm.
Come Sunday, with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band taking the lead over the
speakers and echoed by all the football freaks in the bar, you’ll be melodically
reminded of what you already know based on what you see—it ain’t nothin’ but a
party. Who Dat.
- Eddy El Espia