BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - What was once the hub of African-American culture and music in Bay St. Louis has a new owner. Rachel Dangermond has purchased the 100 Men hall, built in 1922 and also included on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Rachel Dangermond, a writer by trade, sometimes wonders why she fell in love with the 100 Men Hall.
"Why would a blues hall be perfect for me. I didn't even get it. Then I came to see it and I walked through the door and there it was. I could see it, I could see hosting music events, I could see having a lot of community activity here. Youth activities, my writer's workshops," Dangermond explained.
There's something about the hall that soothes the soul. "This place is so layered with history, that once you start the excavation, you're more in awe of every moment. You have Ray Charles, James Brown, Etta James, perhaps Jimi Hendrix played here."
Her plan is to reach out to the young. "It's very important that we give them something to do. A purpose, meaning, and bring them in to be part of this community and active members of it."
Rachel Dangermond is a native of New Orleans and has lived there for most of her life. But as part of the transformation of the 100 men hall, she plans on making Bay St. Louis her permanent home. That home is the living quarters adjacent to the hall. "I began to notice that every time I was here, I felt really good. And when I would go home to New Orleans, I just wasn't feeling the love there like I used to. When the opportunity arose to move here, I jumped on it."
The Big Easy will still be in play at the hall with artists taking the short trip to visit. "There are a lot of people in New Orleans who have strong ties to the Bay, and I think it would be wonderful to have them experience the hall and get them to engage with the community."
If that happens, the 100 Men Hall will once again be a cultural centerpiece.
Dangermond purchased the historic hall for $350,000 dollars, and plans on making improvements totaling about $50,000 dollars during the next several months.