(New York Times) – There was a time, around 40 years ago, when Baton Rouge was not only the blues capital of Louisiana but also one of the busiest blues hubs in the entire United States.
From ramshackle juke joints in the countryside to rough blues bars scattered throughout the city came the raw sound of some of the greats of the genre — Slim Harpo, Raful Neal, Buddy Guy. It was nothing short of a golden age.
That was a while ago now, though. As the legends disappeared so did the places they once played; there are few juke joints left anywhere, and most of the clubs have long since been torn down. For blues fans these days, Baton Rouge is an altogether much quieter affair.
Quieter perhaps, but not silent. For the curious traveler — and music fan — there are still places in the city that hark back to Baton Rouge’s blues heyday. With a mix of the old and the new, it’s surprising to discover that not only are the blues far from dead; in some places, the blues are quietly thriving.