The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Louisiana
Louisiana and Mississippi have long shared a close musical relationship. One of the most important musical paths was that between Natchez and Ferriday, where African American entrepreneur Will Haney operated Haney’s Big House for several decades. In addition to major national acts the club featured local musicians including Ferriday’s Leon “Pee Wee” Whittaker and Natchez’s Hezekiah Early and Y. Z. Ealey. A young Jerry Lee Lewis often visited the club, soaking up the sounds of the blues.
Lousiana and Mississippi are both world famous for music, so it is hardly surprising that the neighboring states have had plenty of musical interchange over the years. The traveling circuit for New Orleans musicians usually included stops on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, while Mississippi Delta artists often crossed the river to play at clubs in Ferriday, Waterproof, Tallulah, and Monroe. The Shreveport-based Jewel and Ronn labels released records by Mississippi natives or residents Artie “Blues Boy” White, Frank Frost, John Lee Hooker, Sunnyland Slim, and Rev. Willie Morganfield, among others, while the Excello
Ferriday’s major contribution to this interchange came via Haney’s Big House, which featured leading blues and R&B acts including B. B. King, Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Roy Brown, Solomon Burke, Percy Mayfield, Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Johnnie Taylor, and Irma Thomas. Located on the 500 block of 4th Street (now East Wallace Boulevard), the club was run by African American businessman Will Haney (1895-1972), a first sergeant in the Army during World War I who later worked as an insurance agent. Property records suggest Haney bought the lot that housed the club in March of 1945. In its heyday the club featured about fifty tables and served food around the clock. Haney’s other business interests included a hotel located behind the club.
Erected 2010 by Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 107.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1945.
Location. 31° 37.786′ N, 91° 33.222′ W. Marker is in Ferriday, Louisiana, in Concordia Parish. Marker is at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue (State Highway 586) and South 3rd Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 218 Louisiana Avenue, Ferriday LA 71334, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jerry Lee Lewis (a few steps from this marker); Jimmy Lee Swaggart (a few steps from this marker); Mickey Gilley (a few steps from this marker); Frank Morris (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Haney's Big House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Leon "Pee Wee" Whittaker (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bayou Memorial Park Flags (approx. 0.6 miles away); DePrato Mounds (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ferriday.
Also see . . . The Delta Music Museum.
Just as the landscape along the Mississippi River changes as it flows from Memphis down through the Delta, so do the musical traditions. Gospel and blues to jazz, bluegrass to country, and rock’n’roll to rockabilly-- all these musical genres and more are preserved and celebrated at the Louisiana Delta Music Museum in Ferriday. (Submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 584 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2. submitted on July 27, 2019. 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 10, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.