The Hayden family put the historic theater and a couple of adjacent lots on State Street up for sale in 2014. New Orleans developer Jim MacPhaille is in the process of buying the property for an undisclosed amount. The Haydens’ original asking price for both tracts was $1.2 million.
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The A&G Theatre was designed by noted coast architect William Thomas Nolan, who also designed several other beloved buildings in Bay St. Louis, including the St. Augustine Church and Seminary and the old high school on Second Street - as well as the former school that's now home to the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs.
Named for the two families who originally built and opened the theatre, Ames and Gaspard, the theatre was heralded on opening as a "thing of joy and beauty forever." Although heavily damaged by a fire just months after it opened, it was repaired and operated as a theatre until the late 1960s.
According to local historian Pat Murphy, the building then became home to an alcohol-free and teenage-friendly music venue called "The Purple Pickle." Click here to read more about the A&G in the Shoofly's September 2015 "Growing Up Downtown" column by Pat Murphy.
Hurricane Katrina nearly demolished the building in 2005. Yet, after many repairs, including structural work to stabilize the front facade, the building earned a 2010 Award from the Historic Preservation Commission.