The Maple Leaf Bar is a music performance venue in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is also a bar and hosts a variety of other events.
The Maple Leaf is on Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans. Opened on Feb 24th 1974, it is one of the longest continuing operation of New Orleans’ music clubs with live performances seven nights a week.On that first night Andrew Hall’s Society Jazz Band played and were there every Sat for 7 years. Many of the old time musicians were featured including numerous members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The Society Jazz Band left in the summer of 1981 but have played there several times since including the 30th birthday party in 2004. Musical styles represented include blues, funk, R&B, rock, zydeco, jazz, jam bands and any combination thereof, hosting both local performers and touring national acts. Frequent performers at the Maple Leaf have included local legends James Booker, the Rebirth Brass Band, Papa Grows Funk, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, “Money Mike” Armstrong, The Radiators and Henry Butler. Unannounced sit-ins are not uncommon; Bruce Springsteen once dropped in to jam with The Iguanas and Jon Cleary’s band was once joined by his frequent employer, Bonnie Raitt. The Leaf, as it is sometimes referred, has also been an important incubator for the city’s many up-and-coming bands formed from the ranks of local musicians and music students at Tulane University, Loyola University and the University of New Orleans.
The poet Everette Maddox was a famous denizen of the Maple Leaf and as of 2006 famed psychologist Dave Corey can often be found holding forth at the bar. The Everette C. Maddox Memorial Prose & Poetry Reading, held every Sunday in the courtyard at The Maple Leaf, is the longest running poetry reading in North America.
The Maple Leaf also hosts other events, including poetry readings and fashion shows. The Krewe of OAK, a neighborhood New Orleans Mardi Gras krewe, starts and ends its parades at the Maple Leaf, where it also holds its Krewe Ball.
The Maple Leaf is portrayed in many books and stories by New Orleans writers. It is thinly disguised as “The Raintree Street Bar” in the Ellen Gilchrist short story “The Raintree Street Bar and Washerteria” (the bar formerly housed a small laundrymat within it). Poems about it can be found in books and chapbooks such as Mirror Wars and Shards, by Nancy Harris; Body and Soul and Rhythm & Booze, by Julie Kane; and The Everette Maddox Song Book, Bar Scotch and American Waste by Everette Maddox. There have also been three anthologies of poets who have read their work at the Maple Leaf: The Maple Leaf Rag (1980), The Maple Leaf Rag 15th Anniversary Anthology (1994), and the Maple Leaf Rag III (2006).
R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, and fashion designer Beyoncé Knowles recorded a promotional video for her single Déjà Vu, which features rapper Jay-Z, at the Maple Leaf in June 2006.