Dew Drop Inn

The Dew Drop Inn represents one of the most significant music heritage sites in New Orleans. Small Center provided architectural plans and a strategy to renovate the Dew Drop to accommodate both new and historic programming. To help bring attention to the renovation effort, Small Center also built a dynamic screen across the front of the building featuring pictures of some of the Inn’s historic performers.

Project Dates

September 2013–December 2015


The Dew Drop Inn had a rich and vibrant life rooted in civil rights and music, but closed its performance venue around 1970 and was shuttered entirely by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was given Historic Landmark status in 2010 and listed as an endangered New Orleans historic site by the Louisiana Landmarks society. Its original owners, the Painia family, hope to revitalize the former neighborhood institution in order to give it new life and to bring music back to LaSalle Street in Central City.

Small Center Engagement

Small Center worked with the Painia Family, Milne Inspiration Center (MIC), and Harmony Neighborhood Development to envision a dynamic renovation, reinterpreting its historic uses while introducing new programs for both music and youth. The team provided a comprehensive survey, architectural plans, construction budget, and overall strategy to renovate the Dew Drop and accommodate youth programming, a barbershop, a boutique hotel, and the historic supper club music venue. In the fall of 2014, Small Center completed a temporary façade installation to celebrate the history and culture of the site and bring attention to the revitalization effort.

Partner Organization

Harmony Neighborhood Development is a nonprofit organization focused on the comprehensive revitalization of Central City New Orleans. Their approach includes blight elimination, high-quality home construction, homeownership services, resident organizing, community asset building and small-scale commercial development.


The Painia Family and Harmony Neighborhood Development are overseeing a fundraising campaign to realize the project. To view or download the completed visioning document, please click here.


Dew Drop Inn

  • Kenneth Jackson (Owner)
  • Painia Family (Owner)

Milne Inspiration Center

  • Le’Kedra Robertson

Harmony Neighborhood Development

  • Una Anderson
  • Charles Cutno
  • Michael Hellier

Team Members

Project Leads

  • Giovanna Galfione Cox (Design Lead)
  • Nick Jenisch (Project Manager)
  • Vince Baudoin (Design/Build Leader)
  • John Stubbs (Preservation Advisor)


  • Braham Berg
  • Michelle Brenner
  • Matthew Cerick
  • Alisha Croft
  • Sarah Grace Godwin
  • Peter Henseler
  • Jenny Renn Key
  • Scott Mikawa (2014 PID Fellow)
  • Sarah Norman
  • Rosemary Phillips
  • Olivia Pontiff
  • Allison Price
  • Kathleen Smith


  • Maurice Cox
  • John Coyle
  • Dan Etheridge
  • Maggie Hansen
  • Dozenia Marshall
  • Sue Mobley
  • Emilie Taylor Welty


  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation

Press and Awards

As New Orleans Recovers, Will The Dew Drop Inn Swing Again?


Dew Drop Inn to reopen


Iconic Central City landmark to be resurrected

Louisiana Weekly