Red Stick Social announced Wednesday, Nov. 20, that it’s helping revive the memory of an iconic Baton Rouge blues venue. The Electric Depot entertainment space is partnering with Chris Thomas King, son of the late local blues legend Tabby Thomas, to rebrand its music stage as “Tabby’s Blues Box” with memorabilia from the famous blues joint and a regular music series.
Chris Thomas King recently became a partner at Red Stick Social and says in a press release, “We were careful to partner with the right venue that allowed us to best maintain Tabby’s legacy and the authentic vibe of Tabby’s Blues Box. We will make Tabby’s Blues Box at Red Stick Social the place for great authentic blues music in Baton Rouge and a landmark on the blues music scene.”
Ernest “Tabby” Thomas opened the original Tabby’s Blues Box in the late 1970s on North Boulevard. It later moved to Lafayette Street downtown before closing in 2004 when Thomas suffered a stroke. He died New Year’s Day 2014 at 84 years old. Throughout the Blues Box’s tenure, it was known as a stomping ground for blues veterans and new talents alike. It was a regular showcase of musicians like Henry Gray, Larry Garner, Gregg Wright or Lil Ray Neal.
Chris Thomas King performed there regularly as well. The Grammy-winning musician was also a star of the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and now tours the world with his band.
The original Blues Box’s Thursday night “HooDoo Parties” were a popular event that usually saw Tabby himself taking the stage late in the night. Red Stick Social plans to revive those events starting in January 2020 and featuring an all-star cast of local legends—including Chris Thomas King himself—and regional blues musicians for a crowd-pleasing jam session.