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December 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM

New Orleans Creole Restaurant lays off half its musicians

The New Orleans Creole Restaurant, a musical institution in Pioneer Square since 1985, has slashed its musical calendar to three nights a week, from its longstanding schedule of six. Going into the new year, the club will be “dark” on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, said the club’s general manager Lennon Curtin.

“We’re having to cut back on the bands for financial reasons,” explained Curtin by telephone Friday.

Familiar groups no longer appearing include Tuesday night’s Holotradband, fronted by trumpeter Dave Holo; reed man Ham Carson and pianist Ray Skjelbred, who played alternate Thursdays; and trumpeter Thomas Marriott’s Friday night group, Flexicon.

Surviving are the New Orleans Quintet, Mondays, which also features Holo; The Legacy Band, led by Clarence Acox (pictured here), Wednesdays; and Saturday night blues.

The future of the New Orleans has been in doubt since the death of its co-founder and owner, Gaye Anderson, who died in August. Anderson was a tireless, one-person engine who seemed to keep the struggling club alive by sheer force of will. The venue has reportedly been losing money for a long time.

Anderson’s estate is still in probate, but the presumptive heir to the New Orleans is her nephew, Joe Anderson, who recently hired Curtin.

In a Dec. 6 email sent to musicians about the booking changes, Curtin suggested the gig cancellations were temporary, until the club can recover some of its costs. But musicians who have played there for years are skeptical.

“It looks like the other shoe is starting to drop,” said Holo.

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(Bruce C. Moore)

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