After operating for just shy of a decade on Government Street in Mid City, the Tipitina’s Music Co-Op is poised for a major expansion in Baton Rouge at a new location at the corner of Melrose and Florida boulevards that is nearly 10 times as large as its former home, which closed last December.
Though renovations on the co-op’s new 14,000-square-foot home have been delayed, the Tipitina’s Foundation is aiming to have the facility open by the end of the year, Sandra Benenate, a project developer for the Tipitina’s Foundation, tells Business Report in a new feature from the current issue.
“We’re going to have a greatly expanded program and we’re going to be able to address so much more than we were in the small space we had on Government Street. It’s very exciting,” Benenate says, “and we’re thrilled that we are able to bring a little vitality back to that corner in Mid City.”
Since 2006, Tipitina’s has provided educational programs and other services for musicians, filmmakers and digital media artists in Baton Rouge through the co-op. For a $15 monthly fee, members are provided computers, internet access, printers, copiers, scanners, phones, conference rooms and audio software programs such as PreSonus Studio One, Pro Tools and GarageBand Mac.
But at the new digs, they’ll also have access to rehearsal space, which the smaller location couldn’t provide.
“We like to do things in addition to the co-op proper’s main functions,” says Roland Von Kurnatowski, Tipitina’s Foundation founder and chair. “We like to have rehearsal rooms and get into video. Leasing the old space where we did, there was just no room for anything else.”
Another major addition at the new location will be an internship program led by Grammy-winning blues artist Chris Thomas King.
“Given his background and capabilities, we consider the internship program with Chris Thomas King a coup,” says Von Kurnatowski, a New Orleans real estate developer who saved one of the Crescent City’s legendary music venues when he purchased Tipitina’s in 1996.