Heart of Louisiana: Birdie's Roadhouse
As he travels around the heart of Louisiana, FOX 8's Dave McNamara has come across some great places to hear live, local music. All this month, Dave will be sharing some of his discoveries. This week, we travel to an old-fashioned roadhouse in Washington Parish that's dishing out a hot mix of blues, rock and country music.
You can hear the pounding of the bass and drums from the gravel parking lot. And when you walk through the door, the scorching blues guitar riffs command you to listen.
You are now experiencing Birdie's Roadhouse, an old house turned dance hall, bar and kitchen that serves up fried green tomatoes along with some of the hottest music you'll find on any rural Louisiana highway.
Probably the best time to stop by Birdies is on Thursday night. That's because it's an open mic and you never know who's going to stop by and play or what kind of music you're going to hear.
"Musicians just get up and they take turns and they do sets," says Sandy Nauman. " It's a way for everybody to showcase, musicians hook up, it just gets to be fun."
Nauman opened Birdie's 11 years ago with the help of family and friends, donated flooring and cypress walls and a lot of free labor. "And it took 250 cases of beer to build a roadhouse."
Musician Eli Seals says, "You walk in here, you might hear rock, you might hear blues, you might hear country, you might hear bluegrass, you might hear some hip hop, who knows. That's the beauty of Birdies."
"When the musicians click together and we click with the crowd," says musicians Trey Crain. "Just a great time."
Nauman says, "Some of them come in, they blow us away and then they're gone, from Colorado, from California, from Maine, all over, Czechoslovakia, just amazing."
This is not a paying gig for any of the musicians. There is only a tip jar in front of the stage.
Musician Joel Galloway says, "It's a break for some of the musicians that go out and play some of the local bars and restaurants and stuff. This is where we come to have fun, especially open mic night. It's just a bunch of buddies getting together, really."
One night, a Who Dat favorite took the stage -- one of the most musical of Saints fans, Abdul D. Tentmakur.
Nauman says, "And there's a lot of love, there's a lot of love, it's a beautiful thing."
There's nothing pretentious about Birdie's Roadhouse. From those who play, to those who stop by to dance and enjoy the free-wheeling show. It's really all about the music, and how it makes you feel.
Birdie's Roadhouse is located on Louisiana Highway 21, about 10 miles north of Bogalusa. They have music several nights a week, but the open mic is held every Thursday.