Our Story

Bay Saint Louis, MS - 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 Members’ 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 Ray Charles, James Brown, Etta James, Big Joe Turner, Guitar Slim, Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair, Ernie K-Doe, James Booker, 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 Hundred Members’ 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. often stood for Death and Burial Association.) By the 1950s the functions of many benevolent organizations were supplanted by insurance companies, although in New Orleans they have survived as social aid and pleasure clubs that organize annual parades.

The Disabled American Veterans acquired the 100 Men D.B.A Hall in 1982 when the organization disbanded. The late 70s and early 80s saw the end of Jim Crow, segregation, and with the advent of disco and DJs, the seep of Black American music entering the mainstream. In the early 2000’s, a couple from Georgia purchased the Hall with the intent of turning it into an art gallery. After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA slated it to be razed and Jesse and Kerrie Loya stepped in to purchase it in 2006. The Loyas restored and opened it in 2011 with the intent of creating a music venue and closed it again in 2014. Rachel Dangermond purchased the Hall in 2018 and resurrected the original 1894 charter, a 501c3 federal nonprofit, with the intent to preserve and maintain the site, to collaborate with artists to tell and document its story, and to continue the “sacred” act of hosting live music.

The 100 Men Hall today is a thriving cultural center for music and community. Upon purchasing the Hall, Dangermond welcomed the African American community back with the 100 Men Hall People Project, featuring portraits of people who have a history with the Hall that were captured by Photographer Gus Bennett.

The original mission to aid the African American community has enlarged to include other undervalued cultures, including the Latin, Jewish, and LGBTQ communities. The Hall is supported by a membership organization, 100 WOMEN DBA, as well as by donations, sponsorships, and rentals.

 As a resort community in the early decades of the twentieth century, Bay Saint 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 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 World War II the 100 Men D.B.A. Hall became a stop on the “chitlin circuit,” a network of African American clubs, with many of the acts booked out of New Orleans. Mississippi coast bands, including M. C. Spencer & the Blue Flames, the Sounds of Soul, Carl Gates & the Decks, and the Claudetts, also played here. Another area venue in the early ’50s was the Cotton Club on Highway 90, operated by guitarist Jimmy Liggins, who relocated here briefly from Los Angeles. Onetime area residents who later achieved musical fame included the Bihari family, whose sons formed one of the most important independent record companies, Modern Records, in Los Angeles, and singer-guitarist Ted Hawkins, who was born in Lakeshore.

The 100 Men Hall, as it came to be known, quickly became a Black energy center along the Coast, hosting music and all life events from baby showers to repasts in the African American community. Over many decades, the Hall attracted legendary musicians such as Ray Charles, James Brown, Etta James, Sam Cooke, BB King, Chuck Berry, Diamond Joe, Ernie K-Doe, Fats Domino, Lee Dorsey, James Booker, Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair and countless other Black musicians at a time when white-only clubs forbid their entry.


The Hall is one of the rare physical sites still standing on the Mississippi Blues Trail, and is a testament to the rich birthing of American music that unfolded during a history of racial oppression. It is one of the few significant African American landmarks in Mississippi.


1922 - 1982 Hundred Members Debating Benevolent Association owned and operated the 100 Men Hall.

12/21/1982 Benevolent Debating Association DEEDED to Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary 50.

08/31/2004 Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary 50 DEEDED TO Diana Smith.

06/01/2006 Diana Smith DEEDED to Tommy Russell.

06/23/2006 Tommy Russell DEEDED to Jesse Loya and Kerri White.

07/27/2018 Jesse Loya and Kerri White DEEDED to Rachel Dangermond (and her son, Constantin "Tin" Dangermond, a/k/a the 101st Man)


Photographer: Ellis Anderson (2018)


The Mission

The 100 Men Hall is an age-old organization that preserves culture, interprets history and gathers the community in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. Through live music events, innovative programs, and artistic expression, the 100 Men Hall seeks to make this African American landmark accessible to visitors of all ages. At the 100 Men Hall, we are committed to the preservation of the distinct culture found within the community of this geographical area. 

Work With Us

The 100 Men Hall was purchased by Rachel Dangermond and her son, Constantin "Tin" Dangermond on July 27, 2018 with the intent to operate it as a nonprofit, music venue, multipurpose hall rental, and community space.

The Hall seats 200-225 ppl with standing room for 400 ppl.

The 100 Men Hall is maintained and preserved by a 501c3 nonprofit called Hundred Members Debating Benevolent Association (established 1894) and its member organization 100 WOMEN DBA as well as the kindness of friends and strangers. 

The Board of Directors of Hundred Members Debating Benevolent Association, Inc. are:

Blake Haney (President)

Albert Cooper (VP)

Will Frost (Community Relations)

Kim McWilliams (Treasurer)

Ann Dinwiddie Madden (Curator)

Angela Sallis (Outreach)

Jenny Adams Falgout (Development)

Brian Keith Labat (Griot)

Dr. Rymsky Graves Labat (Education)

For rental or media, please contact Rachel at 100MenHall@gmail.com and cell 228.231.1920.