Back to Back o’ Town Blues: Louis Armstrong in New Orleans Tour

Union Sons Hall (aka Funky Butt Hall)

1319 Perdido St.
New Orleans LA 70112
Location Status: Different structure at this site
Curated by
e/Prime Media & Randy Fertel

The Union Sons Hall, also known as Kenna’s Hall and Funky Butt Hall, was one of the most popular places for dancing in Black Storyville. This “back o’ town” area was a red-light district with music clubs and houses of prostitution patronized by people who were excluded from the vice district designated for whites called Storyville. The name “Funky Butt,” also the title of a song by early jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden, referred to the foul-smelling, “funky” air at dance halls like this. Bolden earned a reputation by playing in his bluesy, improvisational style late into the night, quitting in time for the building to be used as a church on Sundays.

In his autobiography, Louis Armstrong recalled:

“On Liberty, Perdido, Franklin, and Poydras there were honky-tonks at every corner and in each one of them musical instruments of all kinds were played. At the corner of the street where I lived was the famous Funky Butt Hall, where I first heard Buddy Bolden play.”

In the mid-1950s, the city tore down the original structures on this block to make way for the current City Hall.

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From WWOZ's Tricentennial Moments: Funky Butt Hall.