Gulfport Jazz Club Hangs On Despite COVID-19, Other Challenges

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GULFPORT, Mississippi (WLOX) – Longtime Gulfport residents remember when neighborhoods were packed with businesses and concert halls, but take a trip to the corner of 19th Street and 30th Avenue and one establishment still carries this story, the Jazz Quarts Café ‘.

“Whatever the needs of my community, I try to be there over the years,” said owner Stanley Moore.

It has been its motto for a decade, providing its space for live music, poetry sessions and parties. However, like most business owners, challenges arose when COVID-19 hit Mississippi.

Moore thanks the government for helping to keep him afloat. “Thanks to the SBA, the Biden administration, PPP. It has helped me a lot, “he said.

The event space has been fortunate not to suffer the same fate as other minority-owned businesses.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that black homeownership fell 41% last year at the height of the pandemic, the largest drop among all racial groups.

Moore said the decrease was a Gulfport problem made worse by the health crisis.

“I come from a time that struggled with business within the black community and was self-sufficient. In my 30 years on the Gulf Coast alone, I have seen it decline, ”he said.

He hopes to serve as a role model for the next generation of business leaders, just like those who have helped him achieve his dream.

“I hope I am an inspiration to young people today,” Moore said.

After Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill and COVID-19, the salon had to deal with a lot and now it has to deal with the loss of one of its biggest supporters.

Moore’s fiancee, Mary Ballard, recently passed away, along with her loved ones gathered at the Jazz Cafe for her meal. Now Moore honors her by serving her community as she would.

“Whatever a person’s goal is, I just want to be part of their ideas,” he said.

Through all of the recent trials, the Jazz Quarter Café is one of the few hangouts, and its owner is hopeful that city leaders will help rebuild the region’s music scene and neighborhoods.

“We see what is happening downtown and in certain neighborhoods. The people of the Gulf Coast are not blind but we are patient, wait patiently, ”said Moore.

The Jazz Quarters Cafe hopes to open a new exterior extension of the building next month and then host a blues concert for the public.

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