Interview and other footage: Laura Jackson, Kenneth Jackson
Laura Jackson is interviewed in her home. She discusses her father Frank Painia and how he opened the Dew Drop Inn, and her family’s roots in Plaquemine, Louisiana. She explains that the multi-property nature of the Dew Drop Inn, which included at various times a restaurant, nightclub, bar, pool hall, barber shop, and hotel, among other amenities, was because Painia “would just think he wanted to do this, and he did it.” She describes the venue as being run “like family,” and mentioned artists who would live on-site, including Ray Charles. She recalls various jobs that she fulfilled there, including waitress, bookkeeper, and cashier. She credits her mother for working at the Dew Drop during the day, while her father was mostly there at night. Jackson discusses the format of the “standard show,” which consisted of an M.C., comedian, exotic dancer, and “a star,” and run two or three times a night, keeping the club open until “broad daylight, almost, on weekends.” She recalls that mostly family members stayed in the hotel, along with musicians who played at the club. She also discusses female impersonator Patsy Vidalia. Regarding operating a Black-owned club during the period of segregation, she states, “Every now and then some whites would come in . . . we’d have to have a raid and be taken to jail, and that meant Mr. Painia had to go too.” She remembers that Black musicians who worked in the French Quarter would come to the Dew Drop after their gigs ended for the evening. She reviews the various types of non-music performers who appeared, including ventriloquists, tap dancers; Iron Jaw, “who could pick up tables with his teeth;” and snake dancers. She cites integration as “the demise of the Dew Drop . . . (since) Blacks were then able to go into the white clubs (and) whites were not particular about coming into the Dew Drop.” She remembers attorneys “Dutch” Morial and A. P. Tureaud representing Painia in court when the club was raided for allowing white patrons inside. With that, she calls her father “a pioneer of the integration movement too.” She explains how Painia earned the nickname, “The Mayor of LaSalle Street.” She notes that Painia, in addition to running the Dew Drop Inn, also promoted large concerts he’d hold in schools, as he was not allowed to use public auditoriums due to segregation. She lists musicians who played at the Dew Drop. Stating the Dew Drop Inn was “known for its red beans and rice,” Jackson discusses how one of Painia’s sisters, “neighborhood women,” and his brother Paul Painia would cook. She establishes the different uses of the nightclub, which lent itself to sit-down shows as well as a place to dance to the club’s jukebox or after-show house band. Jackson is also filmed showing her family photos on display in her home. There is footage of Kenneth Jackson walking outdoors, possibly outside his mother Laura Jackson’s house; driving a vehicle to the Dew Drop Inn, while discussing growing up in New Orleans and the neighborhood surrounding the club; and entering the shuttered club.