BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - A series of photographs are helping to preserve the history of a Bay St. Louis landmark.
When the 100 Men Hall Project was first launched in 2019, the goal was to strengthen the community’s connection to the 100 Men Hall.
Last February, the hall’s owner Rachel Dangermond asked those with any sort of connection to the hall to come and share their stories in a unique way. 274 portraits were captured by New Orleans photographer Gus Bennett.
Altogether, they form a powerful visual narrative of the blues music venue.
“All of them just radiate their own inner spirit, and each one of these subjects has a beautiful story to tell," Dangermond said.
Each portrait brings the rich history of this cultural centerpiece into focus.
Not only are the portraits displayed inside the hall, but they’ll also be shared online along with the words of each person’s story.
The project will culminate with a limited-edition book.
During Black History Month, the portraits have been posted at businesses in Old Town Bay St. Louis as a way to showcase the hall’s African American roots.
“We want to celebrate everything that makes us so special and all the cultures that contributed to this heritage area," Dangermond said.
Dangermond said the project is only the beginning of efforts to keep the hall’s stories alive.
“I really want to use the hall to tell those stories, so that even our kids, when they leave the Coast and they go elsewhere, that they leave as little ambassadors of what they learned here, that this place is rich in culture, rich in history, and that it’s a place to be proud of in a sense of what was accomplished.”
For a closer look at the project’s portraits, visit the 100 Men Hall’s Facebook.