New Orleans funk band, Galactic, has announced the purchase of the legendary Tipitina’s nightclub from owners Mary and Roland von Kurnatowski. The recently finalized deal, which has been in negotiation since the beginning of the year, transfers ownership of the New Orleans music venue and its business to a revered local band that cut its teeth on the Tipitina’s stage and has been playing the venue for more than 20 years.
“Our goal is to preserve, promote, and protect the future of New Orleans music, culture and heritage via the Tipitina’s venue and brand,” said Galactic’s Stanton Moore in a release.
“We’re so incredibly honored to be part of the team tasked to be the current caretakers of such a historic venue,” added the band’s Ben Ellman in the release. “My connection with the club started way before I was lucky enough to take the stage. My first job in New Orleans was at Tipitina’s as a cook in the (now defunct) kitchen. The importance of respecting what Tips means for musicians and the city of New Orleans is not lost on us. We’re excited for the future of the club and look forward to all the amazing music and good times ahead!”
The iconic two-story yellow building on the corner of Tchoupitoulas Street and Napoleon Avenue will continue its rich tradition of hosting the most talented musicians and groups from New Orleans and the world. The band will herald in their stewardship with a show on New Year’s Eve.
“We received multiple attractive offers for Tipitina’s,” said Roland von Kurnatowski in the release. “It was really important to us to ensure that this club, the icon that is Tipitina’s, end up in the right hands. We purchased the club in 1997 and have nurtured it ever since. We’re confident that Galactic is the right fit – that they will cherish Tipitina’s and take it to the next level while protecting all that makes Tips such an authentic American cultural venue.”
Tipitina’s began as a neighborhood juke joint, established in 1977, by a group of young music fans (The Fabulous Fo’teen) to provide a place for Professor Longhair (aka Henry Roeland Byrd), one of the most revered rhythm and blues musicians in the legacy of New Orleans music, to perform in his final years. Many New Orleans bands cut their teeth at the iconic venue as well as numerous big names acts such as Patti Smith, Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Lenny Kravitz, Bonnie Raitt, James Brown and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The purchase of Tipitina’s does not include the Tipitina’s Foundation, which was created by the von Kurnatowskis to support Louisiana and New Orleans’ irreplaceable music community and preserve the state’s unique musical cultures by promoting childhood music education, the professional development of adult musicians, and the increased profile and viability of Louisiana music as a cultural, educational, and economic resource.