Sale price Price $25.00 Regular price

The 100 Men Hall launches its first annual Booker Fest to celebrate the musical genius of James Carroll Booker III. Booker Fest starts Friday, August 30, 2019 at 8PM and ends on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at midnight. The festival features a rollicking good-time itinerary that allows festivalgoers to enjoy the Hall as well as Bay Saint Louis. This is intended as an annual fundraiser for the maintenance and preservation of the 100 Men Hall and also to attract regional, national and international attention to this African American landmark and its history.
Booker Fest is designed to bring awareness to the musical brilliance of James Carroll Booker III (December 17, 1939 – November 8, 1983), who was born in New Orleans and raised by his aunt in Bay Saint Louis. Booker played with the St. Rose de Lima gospel choir and on the historic stage at the 100 Men Hall. The festival will include a gospel tribute by the St. Rose de Lima choir and a piano tribute by New Orleans musicians, Tom McDermott and Josh Paxton, a screening of Lily Keber’s documentary on Booker, Bayou Maharajah, as well as readings and talks by Ellis Anderson of the Shoofly and locals who knew Booker. The event will close with a DJ dance party.
The Booker Fest will promote the city of Bay Saint Louis to new visitors in the region and intends to draw an international following over the coming years. The event will happen Labor Day weekend every year and allow primitive camping in the historic district of Bay Saint Louis.
We are grateful to our sponsors, Hollywood Casino, Lazy Magnolia, Cathead Vodka
Festival Schedule:
Friday, August 30th
8PM               Indoor screening of Lily Keber's Bayou Maharajahat 100 Men Hall. The definitive documentary of James Booker. Food for purchase.

Saturday, August 31st
10AM            St. Rose Gospel Choir on 100 Men Hall's historic stage. Sponsored by Hollywood Casino, Lazy Magnolia Brewery and Hancock Whitney.
4PM              Local readings and reminiscences about Booker.
5PM              The Silver Slipper presents a Booker piano tribute performed by Tom McDermott and Josh Paxton. 
8PM              Outdoor screening of Bayou Maharajah
10PM            DJ dance party in the Hall. Food for purchase.

There will be primitive camping allowed onsite of the 100 Men Hall. 
Food for purchase by Chef Chris Hayes from the Smoking Oyster.

For a wristband that allows entry to all of the events - $25 in advance here: or $30 at door. Wristbands will be given on arrival. 

For primitive camping that allows (2) entry to all of the events - $75
Contact Rachel at for details. You may purchase the camping ticket here:

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 an aunt in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. 

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.

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

Tom McDermott - Larry Blumenfeld of the Wall Street Journal writes, "The relaxed feel of Mr. McDermott’s playing sometimes conceals the boldness of his harmonic decisions and the rigor of his approach, which leans on diligent musicology. His playing and his original compositions draw from deep repertoire (he can play Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s mid-19th-century works with aplomb) and flash the same offbeat wit as the limericks and pencil drawings he publishes in small volumes."

Josh Paxton - In a city known for its piano players, Josh Paxton stands out from the crowd. By combining New Orleans' deep piano traditions with modern jazz twists, classical technique, and a funky rhythmic drive, he creates a unique and memorable style that led Dr. John to describe him as "[freakin'] blessed." Josh moved from his native Ohio to New Orleans in his early 20s to study with jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis. After earning his degree he quickly found himself in demand as a solo performer and sideman, playing solo sets at festivals in and out of town, and touring and recording with such diverse acts as the Wild Magnolias, Li'l Queenie, the Cosmic Krewe, Maria Muldaur, and Bruce Hornsby. And by doing the first written transcriptions of the music of piano legends Professor Longhair and James Booker, he solidified his reputation as a serious scholar of the city's musical heritage.

Food for purchase by Chef Chris Hayes of The Smoking Oyster. Chef Chris is a Food Network star. After obtaining his culinary degree, Chef Chris worked at various restaurants and casinos, before relocating to New Orleans. Earlier this year, Chef Chris was named the winning contestant on Food Network's Cooks vs Cons. His recipes are featured in Louisiana Cooking Magazine and Road Tours Magazine. 
Photo Credit: Sandy Maillho