Archive for the ‘Le Phare’ Tag

THE OTHER SHOE DROPETH   Leave a comment

I respect you in the morning and the check is in the mail have been forever two of the most quoted lies when it comes to highlight empty promises that people often make but have no intention to follow through.

Although it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone within spitting distance in this town, many of you readers from the blogosphere may appreciate getting a background about the lukewarm support of tango at Le Phare, how the romance came to a sudden end, the sadness began and a few things more.

The nice manager of the former Loft 523 seemed very eager to resurrect “the tango night.” He had heard so many tales about the pre Katrina tango night at the Loft, he had said when  we happened to walk by the place and see it open again after two years in the aftermath of Katrina. During that time we had been nurturing the emotional wounds caused by the bitterness and bile of a few former dancer/student/friends who for some evil reasons were “unhappy that we had returned to New Orleans.”

There was a  caveat though, and that was that the available day was Wednesday. Not good because there already was a very well attended dance in Baton Rouge which we liked to attend every now and then on Wednesdays. For the rest some do swing and others suck on sour grapes. But there was a core of dedicated dancers from the past, a number of friends who promised to respect us in the morning, and a handful of new bodies so we went ahead and got back into providing an opportunity for good tango dancing on September 17, 2008.

We managed to survive through the holiday season which this town takes very serious, focusing on family and friends, and even took in an unusual amount of thunderstorms and even a snow fall. The word lukewarm kept defining the support the community at large gave to arguably the best floor, the best ambiance, and the best music available to indulge in the intimacy and exhilaration of the tango. Yet, Mr. Nice Manager kept assuring us that all was good, that he enjoyed the small group, and that the rumors that a hip hop DJ wanted to move in on us were unfounded. Then came the last minute email, “it’s not you, it’s me.” The other shoe dropeth. The party line is that the finance people (nobody’s ever seen them, but they do exist, don’t they?) were not happy with the meager $150 tango dancers were dropping at the bar every Wednesday.

I have another theory. Two weeks ago as I approached the bar counter I was shocked hearing a most offensive racist statement regarding Mr. Nice Manager who was even closer to the wingnut than I was. Somehow the racial rant was about, and I paraphrase, how Mr. Nice Boy Manager got to have an education, a job and a good life because of the money that the federal government took away from the Mayflower families coffers midway through the twentieth century.

The “it’s not you, it’s me” email continued, “I regret to inform you that after my meeting today, the managing partners for Le Phare have decided that Tango Night isn’t what we’re looking for on a Wed. Night.”

I think that Mr. I Carry a Card That Proves That My Ancestors Arrived In The Mayflower got Mr. Nice Manager pissed. Thump, kaboon, and the tango got kicked out of Le Phare.

Posted April 1, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in HOME

Tagged with , , , ,


Something has changed in the way winter visits our city. It used to feel like it was a matter of days that we had to scramble looking for sweaters and jackets before the subtropical weather returned reminding us why we came here looking for a home base of year around bloom and greenery. So far this winter appears to have overextended its stay, or so it seems.

Last night was the coldest so far with temperatures dropping to the mid thirties and it took a lot of love for what we do to leave the toasty confines of our camel back bunker to venture out to the CBD for another tango night at Le Phare. Just as the car heater began to blow warm air around we started circling Gravier, Magazine, Poydras and Camp in search of a parking spot. Through the windows of Le Phare we saw the usual suspects, the loyal brigade that week after week work hard on their technique and styling for an hour before indulging in a couple of hours of intimate dancing.

At 5 past 8 something unexpected began to unravel. The spacious room was filling up with people we hardly expected to see. A gentle couple from California we had meet last July during Valorie’s birthday month made their unannounced entrance. A known horn player who had played at Myra’s wedding came in saying that Myra had recommended us as the best place to learn the tango. A couple of young Argentine college educators returned bringing with them a couple of young men very interested in learning the dance. Then, there were a handful of people whom we had not seen for the longest time. At one point it almost felt like the old days at the House of Tango when time after time we brought along a new crop of tango dancers.

There is nothing more inspiring than to have a room full of people expecting to be challenged, so we did. I never know why we choose a particular style of music and offer a lesson on choice moves that match the music. Last night Juan D’Arienzo seemed a natural choice to heat up a room that had started cold and empty. The This is the king CD from our collection got spinning and we proposed a sequence that uses the base in crossed feet to generate a double time change of direction using the opening step of the woman’s code and a triple pizza slice step for the man. As with all tango trickery, the devil was in the detail and once we put the turn in context with the use of known elements and familiar patterns, we experienced the second high of the night as the couples began to execute and understand the purpose of the figure and its relation to the beat of Juan D’Arienzo.

The dancing period that followed was also intense and full of energy lasting way into the midnight hour when the remaining Argentines began to wake up and squeezed out the last tanda before venturing out into the coldest night invigorated with the energy of the hottest night at Le Phare.

Posted February 5, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in HOME

Tagged with , , , ,


Joe Canoura is an acclaimed musician who worked in New Orleans for many years on the Latin and Jazz scene. Sabina Lewis is his wife, and one of the founding members of the tango community in New Orleans. After losing their home to Katrina floods, they have relocated to San Francisco.

This week they’re in town so we had a great party to welcome them at La Phare, 523 Gravier St., New Orleans, home of the Argentine tango on Wednesday nights.

Photos by Jessica Hack

Photos by Jessica Hack


You beautiful people are the best to party with!

The fine autumn weather is here and it just gets everyone in mood to go out again.

After a long wait of nearly three years, the posh bar formerly known as Loft 523 is up and running again.

As you all know we held weekly classes and a milonga there for three years every Tuesday before Katrina. Now Le Phare has invited us back albeit on Wednesdays to resume weekly Tango Nights! The place is much the same, only better!

The cool upscale decor and comfy sofas are still there. The great sound system is there. The wood floors are there, with ample space for dancing. Video screens have been added, so we can show tango movies, and excerpts of dancers in Buenos Aires.

We have a super cute and friendly bartender named Jonathan, who was with us before, and a new manager Bruce (also very cute). Both of them are making us feel welcome, and doing all they can to make Wednesday Tango Nights a long lasting and successful fixture at Le Phare. But the most important element is you!

You made Tuesdays at Loft 523 the most popular milonga in New Orleans, and judging by the energy and enthusiasm last night, you are going to make tango at Le Phare fun and happening once again!

You know we play all tango all the time, so you can dance from 9 until midnight non stop. The group classes are always fun and informative, so come early and join in.



Posted September 18, 2008 by Alberto & Valorie in TANGO PARTIES

Tagged with , , ,