Grant St. going smoke-free

by Heather Miller

Starting Saturday, Grant St. Dance Hall will be the first large music venue in Lafayette to convert to non-smoking indoors. Grant St. Dance Hall owners have taken a liking to the message of the Let's Be Totally Clear movement to end smoking inside at bars and casinos: Starting Saturday, it will be the first large music venue in Lafayette to push the butts outside to the club's covered porch.

Grant St. managing partner Toby Dore says it's a move owners have been considering for a while, in part fueled by speaking with local musicians and attending meetings with Let's Be Totally Clear and Tobacco-Free Living reps.

Proponents of the push to end smoking in bars and casinos have long lobbied that the issue is not about invading the personal rights of smokers, but instead aims to protect the lungs of the people who work inside.

Similar live music mainstays like The Varsity in Baton Rouge and DBA in New Orleans also have gone smoke-free, Dore says.

"It's not an anti smoking policy. It's more about indoor venues and those bartenders, sound engineers and musicians, their ability to work in an indoor, smoke-free environment," Dore says.

With the announcement in place, what better way to celebrate the new smoke-free dance hall than with Lafayette musician David Egan and Grammy-winning zydeco frontman Chubby Carrier, two of the largest supporters of Let's Be Totally Clear. Saturday night, Grant St. will host a free show with Egan and Carrier, also offering free jambalaya and red beans and rice.

"Grant St.'s always been a leader in the music community, and it would make sense they would make this commitment to their musicians," says Let's Be Totally Clear spokeswoman Kelley Anderson.

Smokers are invited, too, Dore says, and can puff away on Grant St.'s covered porch that houses up to 200 people at a time.

Grant St.'s upcoming music, but not smoke, filled weekend also includes Horace Trahan's music video release party Friday night and Soul Night with Dinner at the Thompson's from Paris, France, Sunday night. The historic dance hall also will open Monday night for its soon-to-be smoke free open mic night.