I wanna tell you about ooh poo pah doo
They call me the most
Ooh poo pah doo
They call me the most, yeah
I won't stop tryin' till I create disturbance in your mind
When the late R&B legend Jessie Hill wrote those lyrics in 1960, he had no idea his song would become a New Orleans brass standard, interpreted by groups like Hot 8 Brass and trumpet player Kermit Ruffins. He also didn’t know his grandson Troy Andrews would become a superstar, also known as "Trombone Shorty." Or that Troy and his brother James would perform Ooh Poo Pah Doo in "Episode 7" of the HBO series Treme.
Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar's interior — Photo courtesy of Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar
Hill’s catchy hit tune is also the inspiration for the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar at 1931 Orleans Ave. in the real Treme, opened in October 2013 by his daughter Judy and her husband Brian Broadus. The bar honors Hill’s legacy and offers a warm, hospitable setting for visitors and locals alike. The family appears on the bar’s sign, including trumpeters James and Troy Andrews and their cousin, Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill.
On a typical Saturday night, the Grammy-nominated Guitar Slim, Jr. and his band are onstage. Slim, Jr. toured with Stevie Ray Vaughan and has the chops to prove it. Yet despite his impressive background, Slim, Jr. welcomes a wide array of performers to the stage to sit in with the band.
Inside, the club feels like a homespun neighborhood joint, with its streetside stage long bar and scattered tables lining either side of an open dance floor. That dance floor is usually packed, thanks to Slim, Jr.’s repertoire of old school and new school blues and R&B classics. On any given night, expect to hear rockin’ versions of Michael Jackson hits, get-down tunes recorded by Ray Charles and plenty of tunes made famous by Slim, Jr.’s friend Stevie.
Drinks are small but potent, including a pair of crimson and blue cocktails– called “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” and “Whip It On Me, Pretty Baby” – liquid tributes to Jessie Hill’s hits. There’s a great jukebox, and many nights homestyle New Orleans food is offered at rock-bottom prices.
The welcoming vibe is irresistible. Just be aware that despite its close proximity to the French Quarter, this is a cab-only destination. You’ll feel perfectly safe, but locals wouldn’t walk the bleak expanse of Orleans Avenue that leads to this beacon of family talent and great neighborhood vibe. There is on-street parking out front. But again, if you plan on drinking, a cab is your best bet.