64 Parishes

Spring 2023

Possums in the Rafters, Fiddlers on the Floor

The Blue Moon Saloon and Guest House

Published: February 28, 2023
Last Updated: June 1, 2023

Possums in the Rafters, Fiddlers on the Floor

Photo by Kristie Cornell

Cedric Watson et Bijou Creole performing at the Blue Moon.

Twenty-two years ago, a way station opened up on Convent Street in Lafayette, a place where travelers could put down their heavy packs and pick up a cold beer. Housed in a structure built around the turn of the twentieth century, the Blue Moon Saloon is a music venue, situated near the University of Louisiana off of Highway 167, that also sleeps about two dozen people. As owner Mark Falgout, put it: “Bands come through, we put them up. They get to get out of the van, shower, and hang out at the house. People who come to the shows and stay over at the house  after the show’s over, they get to hang out in the kitchen and on the porch with the musicians. There’s no separation. It’s all part of one big heartbeat.”

Falgout grew up on Bayou Lafourche with two French-speaking grandparents. He went to Lafayette for college, met some French exchange students, and about a semester in, noticed that they were now able to fully communicate in English. He thought, “Man, y’all couldn’t even speak English a couple of months ago and now we’re having a whole conversation. I’d like to do the same thing for myself with French.” So he enrolled in an Alliance Française in Nice, which spurred a period of traveling and staying in hostels. When adult life required that he stay in Lafayette and put down roots, he decided that if he wasn’t traveling, he’d like to be around people who were, so he designed a traveler’s haven.

His business model for Blue Moon Saloon was: “If I rolled into town with a backpack on my back, what kind of place would I want to stay in? It’d be centrally located, clean, reasonably priced, with a friendly staff, a place where I could meet locals, meet travelers, have a beer, and listen to some really good music.” He found a lot of like-minded folks over the years who helped the place grow and thrive, and now, after raising three high-school-aged children, about to embark on world journeys of their own, he still gets to chat with backpackers from around the globe.

One of Falgout’s most famous collaborators is Grammy Award–winning fiddler extraordinaire Louis Michot, whose band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, performed at the Blue Moon Saloon on its second night in operation, in 2001. “Back then it was just a tiny little porch with a stage. We could barely all fit on it. They’ve since added a roof,” Michot noted. “We played there almost every month for years. It’s never failed to be a great time. It’s like being in your own backyard. You don’t feel like a spectacle. You feel like part of a situation. As I was fiddling, my elbow used to hit people, we were all so close. I’ve had people knock my mic stand into me while they were dancing. I’ve seen a possum walk across the rafters while we’re playing. It’s got such a vibe, such a homey place to be.”

The Ramblers recorded one of their most beloved albums there, Live à La Blue Moon, and they are not alone in feeling connected to the space. Sweet Crude, Dick Dale, Billy Joe Shaver, Los Lobos, Old Crow Medicine Show, Reckless Kelly, Tom Tom Club, Susan Cowsill, Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Layla Musselwhite, Marc Broussard, and Leo Nocentelli are some of the thousands of acts that have graced the stage of the Blue Moon Saloon over its twenty-two-year history. With the venue well established and his kids nearly grown, Falgout may be ready to strap on his backpack again and indulge in a bit of wanderlust. In the same spirit, you can swing by Lafayette and catch an open mic night, a Cajun jam, a zydeco dance party, or a touring band nearly any night of the week. Make sure to stay the night. The Blue Moon Saloon will always be there to welcome a weary traveler with a cheap drink, a lively band, and a good story.

Sabrina Stone is a NYC-born, New Orleans–based musician and writer. Her work is featured in OffBeat, I’m Music, Very Local, Where Y’At, ANTIGRAVITY, Hello Giggles, Quarterlette, Femsplain, and the Huffington Post. She has released four albums and headlined shows in New York, New Orleans, and Melbourne, Australia. She is the editor-in-chief of The New Orleans Arts Rag.