Nola nights: 7th Street Gator Band is back at Charlotte’s Cajun Queen after COVID pause

·2 min read

If you’ve never heard a rocket engineer bust out some jazz on a piano at a New Orleans-style restaurant in the heart of Elizabeth on a Sunday evening in Charlotte, well — you’ve been missing out.

Cajun Queen has been providing Nola-inspired cuisine and ambiance for more than 36 years. You might come for the Etouffee, shrimp gumbo or blackened pork tenderloin. But you’ll stay — for the bread pudding and the 7th Street Gator Band.

During COVID-19, live music was put on hold and the restaurant was quiet. Sadly, during that time, the band even lost one of its own: Bill Hanna, pianist and trombonist known as “The Godfather of Jazz in Charlotte,” passed away at age 88. Hanna also performed at the Artist’s Cafe, Double Door Inn, Morehead Tavern and Petra’s.

Then just a few weeks ago, the music quietly started up again (or not so quietly, depending on where your party is seated).

At Cajun Queen, the music is advertised as jazz, but pianist Jim Stack (the rocket engineer we mentioned earlier, who once worked on the Apollo program) told us once that the band often changes it up. “We can do country music, we can do some rock. We do New York Broadway music. We play all kinds of popular music.”

Go this weekend — and every weekend

Want to see the 7th Street Gator Band this weekend? Here’s the lineup:

  • Friday beginning at 5 p.m.: Judith Porter, Gerard Benson and Tim Smith.

  • Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.: Mark Richards, Doug Burus and Tim Smith.

  • Sunday at 5 p.m.: Jim Stack, Doug Henry and Andy Anderson.

Reservations are recommended.

Cajun Queen

1800 E. 7th Street

Instagram: @cqclt

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