BOOKER FEST Aug 30 - Sep 1, 2024

Sale price$30.00
Size: Friday August 30 @ 6PM - $30



Sponsored by the Silver Slipper

The 100 Men Hall hosts its fifth annual Booker Fest to celebrate the musical genius of James Booker on Labor Day weekend (Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 1, 2024). This year, we honor Booker with a stellar line-up sure to make the crowd jump out of their seats, starring THE LEE BOYS, JOE KROWN TRIO +1 feat. PAPA MALI, TOMAR & THE FC's, SIERRA GREEN & THE GIANTS, comedian RITA BRENT, Jesse Loya & The House Katz, Heat and the Zydeco Gents, and St. Rose Gospel Choir. 

The festival is Bay Saint Louis’ own music festival that happens every year during Labor Day weekend with top musicians and performers, food, libations and a comedy brunch! Tickets are available for each day or for the entire weekend. Buy an early bird Hall Pass that allows entry to every show all weekend for only $95. Hall Pass entry goes up to $110 after August 1, 2024. 

James Carroll Booker III (December 17, 1939 – November 8, 1983) was a New Orleans rhythm and blues keyboardist born in New Orleans, LA and raised by an aunt in Bay St Louis where he attended St. Rose de Lima and learned classical piano. Booker's unique style combined rhythm and blues with jazz standards. 

James Booker Was Hands Down the Greatest 
New Orleans Piano Player Ever

Labor Day Weekend in Bay Saint Louis is BOOKER FEST weekend and this year promises to deliver the full range of Booker's musical genius brought to you by Alligator Mike Promotions:

The Lee Boys“Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations.

When The Lee Boys bring their joyous spiritual sound to the stage, audiences instantly recognize that this is not “sitting and listening” music: dancing, shouting out, and having fun are considered essential parts of their tradition. Founder and bandleader Alvin Lee explains “The inspiration and feeling that comes along with our music is the reason that people feel good.”

Joe Krown +1 with Papa Mali - Krown is a resident of New Orleans with a home in Pass Christian. He is a New Orleans-styled piano and Hammond B-3 player. He has played at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year since 2001 and the French Quarter Festival every year since 1998. From September 1996 to June 2001, Joe held the Traditional Piano Night slot at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans, which was once occupied by James Booker. After the untimely passing of the legendary great Allen Toussaint in November 2015, Joe was selected to fill the maestro's chair by playing piano with Toussaint's band backing up greats like Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Dr. John and more at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz Fest, Hollywood Bowl, Midsummer swing at Lincoln Center and more. He has played the WWOZ Piano Night every year since 1996 to current and has been the producer of Piano Night since 2017. He led a trio with Walter Wolfman Washington since 2007. 

Tomar & The FC's - Tomar & The FCs are a soul band from Austin, TX. Tomar Williams got his start singing lead on the Chitlin Circuit with his family band in the late 1980s. After several decades as a side man on the Austin scene and successful work in Hip-Hop production, Tomar decided to return to his roots as a frontman in 2015. A mutual friend, Nikolas Bouklas, introduced him to a recently formed local instrumental band, the FCs, and common purpose and chemistry were apparent to both sides from the first tune. The band self-recorded and released their first EP, “Day by Day” which The Austin American Statesman selected as a top release and wrote, “Williams shows his own soul chops with searing vocals that drip with blood, sweat and tears.” 

Sierra Green & the Giants - Sierra Green was born and raised in New Orleans 7th ward where she began singing in the church choir at the age of 8. The 7th ward is a mecca for talent, spawning legends including Jelly Roll Morton, Allen Toussaint, and Frank Ocean, rappers Mannie Fresh and Mia X, and film stars Tyler Perry and Sidney Bechet. Hope rings throughout the community. Families are close; music is relevant; and everyone knows someone who made it out and became famous. Music, Art, and Talent remain.

Rita Brent - Rita Brent is a comedian, musician, and military veteran from Jackson, Mississippi. She discovered her love for music as a young girl performing in talent shows and southern Baptist churches as a drummer alongside her mother and singer-pianist, Angela. She credits her mother as the one who helped cultivate and support her talents. At age 18, she joined the 41st Army National Guard Band where she served for nine years and ended her time in service as a sergeant. Rita graduated from her beloved HBCU, Jackson State University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass and Speech Communication, and pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. 

Jesse Loya & The House Katz - Jesse Loya has been playing guitar since the age of 10. Growing up, he worked in any band he could get and explored every genre on the way. He discovered the Blues early on and things haven't been the same since. The Blues are his passion. With his band, The House Katz, he unleashes a fiery guitar sound and a voice to match playing a variety of electric and acoustic blues all over the Gulf Coast.

Heat and the Zydeco Gents - Heat grew up outside of New Orleans and carried his love for zydeco with him to Panama City where he formed his big band and they have played all over the world but kept their musical roots Cajun but more R&B and Blues. 

St. Rose de Lima Gospel Choir - Considered the best Southern Gospel choir in the region, the St. Rose de Lima choir was already a Bay Saint Louis institution when James Booker played there. Several members sang when Booker played piano in the choir. The choir has been featured in the gospel tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Rachel Dangermond, owner of 100 Men Hall, credits the support of multiple sponsors for Booker Fest’s production, “The 100 Men Hall is grateful to our long time major sponsor, the Silver Slipper Casino, with additional sponsorship from Dirty Coast, Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area, Coldwell Banker - Alfonso Realty, Ann Madden Photography, SouthGroup Insurance as well as sponsorship from Cathead Distillery, Beau Rivage, Scarlet Pearl, and Shoofly Magazine. Their support makes it possible to bring this much talent in one weekend to this coastal town.”

James Booker was born James Carroll Booker III on December 17, 1939, in New Orleans, and was influenced by his church and Baptist minister parents and grandparents, who played piano. Booker was a child prodigy who loved classical music (especially Bach) and part of his amazing skill lay in an ability to blend a Rachmaninoff tune with a rolling blues piano riff. After his father became ill during Booker’s early childhood, he and his sister Betty Jean were sent to live with his aunt in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. 

This year's Booker Fest fine art poster features James Booker as the Piano Pope and was created by New Orleans artist Cheryl Anne Grace with graphics by Ann Madden. Purchase your signed, limited edition here. To purchase your limited edition Booker Fest tee shirt, click here.  

Screening Friday, August 23, one week before the Fest, is a documentary directed by Lily Keber, Bayou Maharajah chronicles the life and music of this colorful, troubled figure, legendary in New Orleans but obscure elsewhere. The film features extensive performance and interview footage of Booker, who died in 1983 at age 44. “I’ve got some blues that contains old soul with new wrinkles,” the pianist says in a clip featured in the trailer, perhaps referencing the way his style seamlessly incorporated classical, jazz and gospel.

In his 20s, Booker worked with the touring bands of B.B. King and Aretha Franklin and in 1970, mysterious trouble led Booker to lose his left eye; afterwards he began to don an iconic eye patch. Attendees will be able to purchase Booker Fest merch, a signed limited edition posters, as well as Booker Fest eye patches created by artist Ann Madden at the Fest. 

Throughout the weekend, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase food:  Friday and Saturday features the Gulf Coast's famous Coasty's Food Truck, Sunday brunch stars Bay Saint Louis' favorite chef, Big Bertha’s Kitchen and Catering. Cash/Credit bar throughout the event. 

Tickets for each of the weekend events as well as a button allowing entry to ALL events can be purchased online and available at Will Call throughout the weekend.  Tickets and wristbands purchased at the door during the event will be priced higher and based on availability.   

Booker Fest Schedule

Friday, August 30

6PM Heat and the Zydeco Gents

7PM Tomar & The FC’s

(Coasty’s Food Truck)

$30 (or $95 Early Bird Hall Pass)

Saturday, August 31

1-2PM St Rose Gospel Choir

2:30-4 Sierra Green and the Giants

4:30-6 Joe Krown Trio with Papa Mali

7-7:45 Jesse Loya and the House Katz

8-9:30 The Lee Boys

(Coasty’s Food Truck - beginning at 4PM)

$75 (or $95 Early Bird Hall Pass)

Sunday, September 1

11-1 Comedy Brunch starring Rita Brent

(Big Bertha's Kitchen and Catering)

$30 (or $95 Early Bird Hall Pass)

Booker Fest Weekend Hall Pass - $110
(**Early Bird - $95**)

A Hall Pass button allows entry to ALL of the events - $95 in advance here - price goes up to $110 after August 1, 2024. 

All tickets will be Will Call and buttons will be given at the door.

The historic 100 Men Hall is a 501c3 nonprofit organization (Hundred Members Debating Benevolent Association), supported by tax deductible donations.  Additional information about the venue’s history and other activities can be found on or by emailing