One thing’s for sure, it’s changed hands enough times to make you go, What was that place again? Well here is a short but sweet rundown. It started as an illegal gambling casino operating in the 1890’s called Southport, then later named the old Southport Club. It’s been the Farhad Grotto, a gymnastics school, Racketeers and under two previous failed ownerships as Southport Hall. Oh, and was it mentioned that there is an apparition or ghost, that has since been named George, hanging out behind the stage and back bathrooms?
So if you are counting, this is the fifth time it is being called Southport. Is the fifth time finally going to be the charm? The new ownership purchased Southport Hall in March of 2004. Southport Hall was purchased by Harold O’Reily and sister and brother, Catherine Bagnetto Foss and Charles Bagnetto Jr. This location was a second choice for the brother, sister and close friend who were all ready to restore the old Robert E. Lee Theatre in Lakeview. Due to “political red tape” that venture could never get its feet off the ground. And what was Orleans Parish’s loss has become one of Jefferson Parish’s biggest gains ever since.
Remember that magic number five from earlier? Well on March 7th 2009 when the Molly Ringwalds take the stage it will have been five years of being in business. And more importantly over these first 5 years, Southport Hall has changed the view of many people. No longer can people say that you have to be in New Orleans to find great music, big named acts—such as Little Feat, Percy Sledge, Zebra, & Down, to name a few—with top notch sound and lighting equipment.
What Southport has become known for, is its love for “The Cover Bands.” The top cover bands descend on Southport every month, such as “The Worlds Greatest 80’s Tribute Band” the Molly Ringwalds, “The Hardest Working Band in the Business” the Topcats, “The Baddest Show on Earth” the Bag of Donuts (who never run short on toilet paper or Jack Daniels), and the “Show Them Some Love” and hard hitting and tell it like it is sound of the Chee-Weez. To go along with all of the great music, Southport Hall has become a popular private party site over the years, housing all types of events, such as high school reunions, weddings, graduations, sweet sixteens, birthdays, anniversarys, showers and company crawfish boils.