Musician, educator, author and storyteller Danny Barker was born in 1909 in the rear building at 1027 Chartres Street. At the time of Barker's birth, the lower French Quarter community was home to a large African American and Sicilian population.
Barker grew up in a creole family that embraced music education and formal brass band performance. 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. According to Barker: “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.”
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 until his death in 1994, Danny Barker and his wife Blue Lu Barker often worked as educators, recorded music, and performed together. An authentic New Orleans raconteur, Barker educated audiences with his entertaining stories and detailed memories. The annual Danny Barker Banjo and Guitar Festival celebrates his multifaceted and enduring legacy.