Bay St. Louis in Hancock County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
100 Men D.B.A. Hall
The 100 Men D.B.A. Hall, a longtime center of African American social life and entertainment, was built in 1922 by the One Hundred Membersí Debating Benevolent Association. Over the years the association sponsored many events and also rented the hall to promoters who brought in blues, rhythm & blues, and jazz acts. Local residents have recalled performances by Etta James, Big Joe Turner, Guitar Slim, Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair, Ernie K-Doe, Deacon John, Earl King, and numerous others here.
In the decades following the Civil War, African Americans throughout the South formed many fraternal and benevolent organizations in order to collectively increase their social, economic, and political power. The One Hundred Membersí Debating Benevolent Association was incorporated in Bay St. Louis in 1894. According to its charter, “the purpose of this Association is to assist its members when sick and bury its dead in a respectable manner and to knit friendship.” The charter stipulated that “the Association may from time to time give entertainments for the purpose of replenishing the treasury.” Despite its name, the association was founded by twelve men, and the nature of its “debates” appears to be lost to time. (In other organizations, the initials D.B.A.
As a resort community in the early decades of the twentieth century, Bay St. Louis was the site of performances by New Orleans jazz and dance bands, as well as local groups, including the Supreme Band and bands led by Paul Maurice, August Saucier, and Harry Fairconnetue (who played regularly at the Promo Benevolent Association Hall). Bay St. Louis natives Fairconnetue and Warren Bennett also worked in Clarence Desdunes' Joyland Revelers. Other local performers of the era included the Alexis family (Peter, Ricard, and Joseph), Edgar Benoit, Sumner Labat, Edward Palloade, Edgar Saucier, Oscar Collins, Eddie Thomas, Anderson Edwards, and Johnny Toncred. Famed New Orleans musicians Lorenzo Tio, Sr. and Jr. and Johnny and Warren "Baby" Dodds also lived in this area in the early 1900s. After
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 132.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 30° 18.569′ N, 89° 20.092′ W. Marker is in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in Hancock County. Marker is on Union Street 0.1 miles east of South Necaise Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Union Street does not run continuous across the city. Marker is at or near this postal address: 303 Union Street, Bay Saint Louis MS 39520, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least Publius Rutilius Rufus Pray (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Stanislaus College (approx. 0.4 miles away); Our Lady of the Gulf (approx. half a mile away); First Baptist Church of Bay St. Louis (approx. half a mile away); St. Joseph's Academy (approx. half a mile away); Old Spanish Customs House (approx. half a mile away); Hancock County Bank (approx. half a mile away); Naval Battle of Bay St. Louis (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bay St. Louis.
Also see . . . About the 100 Men Hall (Hall website). (Submitted on February 23, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 23, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 350 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on February 23, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.