Teddy Johnson, founder of Teddy’s Juke Joint, is one of the Zachary residents featured in our Black History Makers feature in the winter 2023 issue. Teddy also proudly graces the cover of the Winter 2023 issue.
Born for the Blues
Lloyd “Teddy” Johnson was born for the Blues in the little building that would one day become the world-famous Teddy’s Juke Joint. He attended school here in Zachary at what was then Northwestern Junior-Senior High, at the time a 1-12 school for Black students.
Teddy had a front row seat to a changing Zachary and a changing Louisiana, and spinning the blues was a natural reaction for him. The only problem was finding a building to house his dreams. He finally found the solution when his mother invited him to use the old house in the back of her property. It needed some work, and eventually some expansion, but it was up to the job.
Luckily for all of us, it thrived. The Neal Family Blues Band have been an ever-present part of the Juke Joint. If you’ve ever been, there’s a good chance you saw a Neal up on stage. Of course, just about everyone who’s anyone in the Blues world has also stopped by to pay respect to Teddy and play the Blues. BB King even slept on his grandmother’s front porch! Fans (and journalists!) come as far away as Sweden to see what’s happening in that little house off Old Scenic Highway.
International Blues Challenge with the Keeping the Blues Alive Award Winner
Years of hard work and grind have paid off for Teddy Johnson; perhaps not financially, as the Joint has never made him rich, but in terms of professional recognition. This January, he’s being honored by the International Blues Challenge with the Keeping the Blues Alive Award in Memphis.
Now, just like always, you can drop in every Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday night for the best music you’ll hear anywhere. Come a little early, and Teddy might just show you around the Joint. It has more Blues history than just about any other place on the planet.
Teddy’s Juke Joint is located at 17001 Old Scenic Hwy in Zachary.