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One Book One Community 2023: The Blues: Culture & History

2023 Community-Wide Reading Program celebrating "The Blues: The Authentic Narrative of My Music & Culture" by Chris Thomas King

BR Blues

Learn more in our Baton Rouge Blues InfoGuide

The Digital Library

You'll find the Blues in the Digital Library!

Enjoy concerts from Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Dr. John and more through Qello Concerts!

On Kanopy, you can listen and learn with these documentaries:

Stream or download free blues music from Freegal!

If all this gets you inspired, try your hand at learning to play the blues guitar with step-by-step lessons in ArtistWorks!

Special Collections at EBRPL

The Baton Rouge Room Archive contains materials that reflect historical actions of local governments, businesses, residents and institutions of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. These items include but are not limited to photographs, manuscripts, periodical publications, documents, audio and video recordings and memorabilia. 

Check out some local Baton Rouge artists here!

Looking to dive into genealogy? Let us help!

Get lost in these cool history databases!

Black History Month Driving Tour

The Advocate has put together a self-guided driving tour featuring a variety of important and interesting sites around Baton Rouge!

How many have you been to?

Local Museums

Capitol Park Museum

  • Louisiana offers much to the musical history of the nation as a whole, and many of those vital contributions are on display. In the interactive music exhibits, hear the distinctive southwest Louisiana sounds of Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop, Baton Rouge blues and world-famous New Orleans jazz.

West Baton Rouge Museum

  • The WBR Museum offers diverse rotating exhibits and multiple programs including these:
    • The Juke Joint is a permanent exhibit that acts as an interpretative exhibit, performance venue, and education space. Some of the local Blues musicians featured in this juke joint are Slim Harpo, Silas Hogan, Lazy Lester, Raful Neal, Sr., and the Neal family. 
    • Inspired by The Juke Joint, the museum has a Blues After School program that takes place every Friday going on now through April. Blues After School is a free music enrichment program for West Baton Rouge middle and high school students who are interested in learning music. 
    • Historical Happy Hour is every 3rd Friday of the month where the pubic gets to explore exhibits and enjoy changing monthly entertainment such as trivia, live music, or lectures
    • Le Jam is a Cajun music jam session that is held every 3rd Sunday of the month. 

Baton Rouge African American History Museum

  • The Baton Rouge African American Museum was founded in 2001 by the late Sadie Roberts-Joseph. She founded the museum to expand knowledge of African-American history through engaging exhibits and community engagement. It is temporarily closed to visitors. 

Buddy Stewart Memorial Music Foundation & Rhythm Museum

  • Originally known as Buddy Stewart's Rock Shop, it was one of the largest minority family owned and operated music stores in South Louisiana. It is now an antique record store and rhythm museum with an extensive vinyl collection and a space for local artists to perform, network and learn about the significance of Baton Rouge's African American heritage. The Rhythm Museum displays past and present artists from Baton Rouge and surrounding areas with their musical contributions and accomplishments.

Henry Turner Jr's Listening Heritage Museum

  • The original Henry Turner Jr.'s Listening Room is now Henry Turner Jr.'s Listening Room Heritage Museum. It is dedicated to promoting and introducing new and original musical talent. It also preserves and promotes the music of South Louisiana by focusing on the Blues, R&B, and other Roots Music of the area with the Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room Museum Foundation. The foundation will host a Mardi Gras Festival Pre-Party on Feb. 16th!

Tabby's Blues Box & Heritage Hall

Rockin' Tabby Thomas, Chris Thomas King's father, opened Tabby's Blues Box, Home of the Baton Rouge Bluesmen, on North Blvd in 1979. 

The iconic juke joint became a beacon for the blues with it's late-night Hoodoo parties, jam sessions and strings of Christmas lights. 

While the original building was demolished for a road widening project, its legacy and cultural impact on Baton Rouge blues lives on. 

You can read stories about Tabby's in The Blues

Here's an excerpt about "The Last Real Juke Joint"

Folklife in Louisiana

The Folklife in Louisiana Program , is designed to identify, document, conserve, and present the folk cultural resources of Louisiana. 

The program has initiated many programs to preserve folklife culture including Baton Rouge traditions , Swapping Tales , and The Louisiana Voices Folklife in Education Project

Chevalier Film

In The Blues , Chris Thomas King brings up the history and importance of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. As the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, who rises to heights in French society, King calls him the "Jimi Hendrix of Enlightenment Age France".

On April 7th, 2023, a movie is being released about him! 

Here's the trailer: