Ever wanted to own a music venue in New Orleans?
Chickie Wah Wah, the cozy listening room at 2828 Canal St. is for sale.
The estate of late owner Dale Triguero is offering the property at 2826-2828 Canal St., most of the club’s content and the rights to Chickie Wah Wah’s name and website as part of the sale.
The package is priced at $995,000. Offers are due by April 22 at 5 p.m. Shelley Lawrence of Latter & Blum is representing the seller.
After moving to New Orleans from New York in the 1990s, Triguero got his start in the local music business at the Old Point Bar on Algiers Point. He curated a diverse mix of roots music including marching bands, funk, jazz and singer-songwriters.
He refined that mix at Chickie Wah Wah, which he opened in 2006 in the former home of the Canal Bus Stop, a dive bar that occasionally featured brass bands.
Music the main attraction
Triguero cultivated Chickie Wah Wah as a destination where people would actually sit and listen to music. He booked music he liked, mostly local roots music, singer-songwriters and adventurous jazz, along with touring Americana acts.
He created a comfortable, inviting space with tables and chairs facing a small stage tucked away in a corner of the long room. He adorned the walls with signs of closed New Orleans businesses and at least one church.
But the music has always been the main attraction at Chickie Wah Wah. By starting shows earlier than many other music clubs and banning smoking before the city mandated it, Triguero created an atmosphere that catered to music fans who wanted to catch a quality show but didn’t want to stay out until the wee hours, especially midweek, or went home smelling of smoke. His club was a self-proclaimed “adult music bar with food” that he was constantly trying to improve.
Over the years, a trio consisting of Anders Osborne, fellow guitarist John Fohl and harmonica player Johnny Sansone performed for a popular weekly show. Singer Meschiya Lake and pianist Tom McDermott held court each week, as did keyboardist Jon Cleary. Singer-songwriter Paul Sanchez was a regular in the club’s rotation.
Tank and the Bangas, Papa Mali, Alex McMurray, Samantha Fish, Susan Cowsill, John “Papa” Gros, Ed Volker, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Creole String Beans, Woodenhead, Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue and dozens of other local acts who have performed there, as well as touring artists such as guitarists Bill Kirchen, Alejandro Escovedo, Mason Ruffner and Joe Ely.
Like every other music venue in New Orleans, Chickie Wah Wah closed its doors in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic spread. By that fall, Triguero had begun webcasting performances by the club without an audience.
He died on July 8, 2021 following heart surgery.
Triguero’s retirement plan
Reggie Seay, an attorney and longtime friend of Triguero who often worked on Chickie Wah Wah’s door, was appointed executor of his estate. Triguero, aged 68 at the time of his death, was not married and had no children. His two brothers, who live in New York, are his only family heirs.
The property followed a retirement plan that Triguero had discussed. According to Seay, Triguero wanted to sell a home he was renovating in Algiers Point, use the proceeds to pay off the Chickie Wah Wah building, then sell the building and business and move to Los Angeles.
After Triguero’s death, Jacques Ferland, another Triguero friend and a fixture at Chickie Wah Wah, lobbied to have Seay reopen the venue ahead of a sale. Meshiya Lake was also keen to see live music in the room again.
With the blessing of the estate, Ferland — who repairs and restores pianos and installed one in the back of a pickup truck for the roving Piano In a Truck pandemic concerts — and Lake shared responsibility for bringing Chickie Wah Wah back to life.
Together they beautified the venue. The space hosted a celebration of life honoring Triguero on October 5, which officially reopened to the public the next night with a performance by Lake and pianist Tom McDermott.
Lake filled the rest of the October and November calendars with many of the same artists that Triguero booked frequently.
But she resigned from the club in November. After Lake’s departure, Ferland took over the booking duties. Since then, he and Seay have run the club together.
The house that Triguero owned in Algiers Point was sold. With these proceeds, the estate paid off the Chickie-Wah-Wah building and received clear ownership of it.
The sale comes with a few caveats.
All gigs currently on the Chickie Wah Wah calendar are mandatory. Gigs are booked until May 21, by which time the property hopes to have completed a sale.
Some items in the Chickie Wah Wah, including the piano and elements of the decor, are not included in the sale.
But the ice maker, refrigerators, lighting and cameras, sound card and audio, music and kitchen appliances are included – along with the considerable goodwill associated with the Chickie Wah Wah name.
Prospective buyers should contact Shelley Lawrence at email@example.com.