Musician, educator, author and storyteller Danny Barker was born in 1909 in the rear building at this residence. At the time of Barker's birth, the lower French Quarter community was largely home to African American and Sicilian immigrant families..
Barker grew up in a creole of color family that embraced music education, formal brass band performance and dress. Known as the "Banjo King of New Orleans" in the 1920s, Barker toured with local bands along the Gulf Coast, Seeking new opportunities, Barker moved to New York in the 1930s, where he worked with Cab Calloway, Charlie Parker and other legends.
Moving back to New Orleans in the 1960s, Barker sparked a local brass band revival when he established the Fairview Baptist Brass Band to mentor a new generation of young men in New Orleans' distinct brass band traditions. Local musicians Leroy Jones, Greg Stafford, Michael White and many others played in the Fairview, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band evolved from former members in the 1970s.
From the 1960s to his death in 1994 Danny and his wife Blue Lu Barker often worked as educators, recorded, and performed together. An authentic New Orleans raconteur, Danny educated audiences with his entertaining stories and detailed memories. The annual Danny Barker Banjo and Guitar Festival in January celebrates the his multifaceted and enduring legacy.
Around the corner at 617 Ursuline, the colorful sidewalk tiles mark the site of the original Angelo Brocato cafe, reflecting the Italian character of the neighborhood in the early 1900s.
“If you went on the road with [Sam] Morgan, you would play Bay St. Louis, Pensacola, and Mobile. You would stay in Mobile and play Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You would do to same thing when you came back, when you would go through Bogalusa.” - Danny Barker