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  • 10. Fern Dance Hall

    Fern Dance Hall

    Fern Dance Hall, also known as Budweiser Hall to musicians due to the massive beer advertisement outside the door, was a taxi dance hall located at 1017 Iberville Street in the early 1920s. Formerly known as the Pup Café, Fern Dance Hall was the place where visiting vaudeville actors would gather to listen to jazz. The hall had no regular band and musicians were hired up. It still managed to draw in quite a crowd due to its prime location on the corner, a refreshment and cigar stand, gambling, and a lunch counter in the lobby. Pianist Armand Hug made his professional debut at Fern Dance Hall at the age of 15. Clarinetist Raymond Burke would play four hours a night, every night. Among the many musicians who frequented the dance hall were trumpeter Eddie Faye, pianist Buzzy Williams, drummer Sal Gutierrez, and banjo player "Stale Bread" Lacoume. Musicians would perform in black tuxedos with ribbon ties, sometimes only playing a short 20-second piece during slow hours. During a slow drag, which lasted up to five minutes, all of the patrons would run to the dance floor to show off their best two-step and "tickle-toe." Of course, the famous tango had its place on the dance floor and inspired the name of the area of dance halls and cafes of Storyville, the Tango Belt.