One of the historic touchstones of Old Town Bay St. Louis, Century Hall (112 South Second Street), now serves as home to several new businesses. And when a top floor renovation is complete, there's more goodness to come.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson and Lisa Monti
On the November 30 - the last Friday of the month - Century Hall will be open until 7:30 in conjunction with the Night Market at the Mockingbird Café (just next door!). Stop in the see the new gallery and meet some of the artists.
Century Hall is open Tues. - Saturday, 10am - 5pm, on Sunday from 11am - 3pm and closed Monday.
Longtime tenant and Century Hall manager Susan Davis Peterson has taken over the space where Gallery Edge, an artistic cooperative, showcased works of 10 local artists. Peterson said when Gallery Edge ended its successful run, she couldn’t let the space remain vacant. And she wants art lovers to know that “the gallery has not gone away.”
It is now showing the works of several talented artists with various styles in paintings and pottery. The gallery is so new that Peterson hasn’t settled on a formal name yet. “It’s like naming a child: everybody’s got to have input,” she said.
For now the working name is The Gallery at Century Hall, though somehow the word Rebirth keeps coming up, even on a small sign at the entrance to the new gallery. The works are in place, on walls and display tables, and Peterson is planning a grand opening soon. She also wants to have “pop up” exhibits regularly, probably every other month.
Artists currently on display are Tazewell, Marion Knobbe-Scott, Bill Nelson, Eileen L. Morrison, Vicki Niolet, Alexander Brown, Sandra Epton, Kerr Grabowski, Liz Schaffer, Joey Rice, Bill Myers, Stacey Johnson, Craig McMillin, Dale Simmons and Pat Gavin.
Old Town anchor Bay Life Gifts & Gallery relocated from Main Street into Century Hall in March of this year, so it's a newish tenant, not actually new. Owner Janice Guido says the move has turned out to be a great one. Customers love having parking on-site and so many other shopping options under one roof.
"With the all the new goings-on here, we're expecting 2020 to be even busier," said Guido. "And we're thrilled to have Tami Curtis here now too."
Guido's referring to another new addition to Century Hall - the Tami Curtis Gallery on the first floor - just across from Bay Life. The space is packed with colorful creations by the New Orleans artist: painting, prints, cutting boards, notecards and pillows all adorned with her creations that reflect the music, culture, nature and history of New Orleans and Louisiana and New Orleans.
Familiar musicians including Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins and Pete Fountain are prominent subjects of Tami’s paintings. She’s been selected to create three posters for the French Quarter Festival. Her style is unique, with bold colors, and some works feature fabric and vintage architectural pieces found in and around New Orleans.
Tami and her husband, children’s writer Perry Guy, collaborated on a newly published book for young readers, “The Mardi Gras Boat Parade.”
Tami holds a BFA in graphic design and also has experience as an art teacher and worked at the New Orleans Museum of Art’s education coordination.
Tami, who moved to Bay St. Louis from New Orleans and will soon have more space when the renovation of Century Hall’s third floor renovation is complete. She plans to host paint parties and offer private art lessons there.
“It’s a gorgeous space with lots of light,” she said. “I hope open and be ready for business the day after Thanksgiving.”
Across Tami Curtis’ new studio space in the top floor of Century Hall will be the much anticipated food venue Chef David Dickensauge announced earlier this year.
The focus of The Ugly Carrot will be on locally sourced produce (milk, lettuce, tomatoes and more) and products, signature juices, made-in-house Kombucha (fermented tea) and plant-based food to-go.
Covey Rise Farm in Kentwood, La., is just one of the suppliers for The Ugly Carrot. Others include Shroomdom Seasonal Sensations, Country Girls Creamery and G & M Goat Farm.
The chef says all of these farms are located within a 60-mile radius.Chef Dickensauge, who also presides over his C&C Farm to Fork restaurant on Main Street, says the new market in Century Hall will be open at the end of November. The opening can’t come soon enough, according to followers on social media, who are tracking the project’s progress on The Ugly Carrot website and Facebook page.