Biopic helps to bring life back into Saenger Theater

Biopic helps to bring life back into Saenger Theater

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Sept. 17, marks what would have been Hank Williams Sr.'s 94th birthday.

To celebrate the occasion, the historic Saenger Theater in downtown Biloxi showed a movie about the beloved country singer's love affair with the city in the early 1950's.

"The Last Ride" is a 90-minute film that focuses on William's last days. It is said that just three weeks before his death, William's last public performance in Biloxi at Sie's Place, a nightclub that used to be on the corner of Reynoir and Division streets.

Attendees were treated to a special "Last Ride" birthday cake before the show.  All of the money raised from ticket sales will go toward renovating the historic theater, which has been in need of major renovations for some time.

Louise Bender has been a fan of the country music icon since she was a little girl. She says she would to the venue restored it to its former glory.

"It would be wonderful to see more stars here, for people to see them live and everything," said Bender.

Cecilia Dobbs-Walton, with the City of Biloxi public affairs office, says part of this year's municipal budget will help to restore the outside of the building, but the city is going to continue to look for funds to renovate the Saenger.

"When all of that is done, this will be more of a premier place for performances to happen here," said Dobbs-Walton.

Restoring downtown Biloxi has been one of the mayor's top priorities since taking office.

"Mayor Gilich feels this place is a gem and we just want it to be that way. Once [the repairs] are complete, there's no limit to what type of performance can be in here," added Dobbs-Walton.

In addition to the money raised from ticket sales and the city's budget, the city is also applying for grants cut the cost of repairs.

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