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Arts Speak

New book memorializes St. Louis’ iconic Mississippi Nights music venue

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Mississippi Nights 1982 Photo by Andy Mayberry.jpg

Mississippi Nights in 1982; photo by Andy Mayberry.

One night of music trivia inspired a four-year journey that recently culminated in a self-published book about one of St. Louis’s most iconic venues.

For married couple and mega music fans Stacy and Garrett Enloe, memorializing Mississippi Nights was more than an opportunity to remember the now-closed music venue. The project binds together a community that shared so much during its 30-year run.

Owners Tom Duffy and Rich Frame, Garrett and Stacy Enloe at the Book Launch Party at The Record Space in Affton.jpg

Mississippi Nights owners Tom Duffy and Rich Frame with authors Garrett and Stacy Enloe at the book launch party; photo courtesy of the Enloes.

“The big thing is just the memories it will jog,” says Stacy Enloe, co-author of “Mississippi Nights: A History of The Music Club in St. Louis.” “I know how dear the club is to so many people, and I want them to get that feeling back from reading the book.”

Opened in 1976, Mississippi Nights was located in the Laclede's Landing section of downtown St. Louis at 914 N. 1st St. The venue could hold up to 1,000 people and regularly hosted acts representing a vast array of genres, from Nirvana to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Stevie Ray Vaughn to The Police. Stacy Enloe’s favorite shows at Mississippi Nights included Tora Tora and Saigon Kick.

The intimate setting, old-school feel and great acoustics made the club a must-visit for music fans and musicians alike. Mississippi Nights took on special significance for local artists –many of whom were interviewed by the Enloes for the book.

John Lee Hooker, August 6, 1987 Photo by Mark Gilliland.jpg

John Lee Hooker on August 6, 1987; photo by Mark Gilliland.

“With a lot of local bands, the biggest thing everyone said was that Mississippi Nights was the ‘goal,’” Stacy Enloe explains. “That was the mecca – that’s what everyone wanted to play. It holds quite a place in their hearts.”

Although the venue closed in 2007, the Enloes – and many others in St. Louis’ live music scene – never forgot about Mississippi Nights. During a trivia night about 10 years later, Garrett Enloe won the historic awning from Mississippi Nights. The prize inspired him to launch a Facebook fan page, where today, he and now over 10,000 others reminisced on the good times had at the club.

Inspired by the outpouring of support, the Enloes decided to preserve Mississippi Nights’ memory by making their first book a tribute to the venue. After four years of work, “Mississippi Nights: A History of The Music Club in St. Louis” was published in October 2022. The 290-page self-published book chronicles the history of the 1830s-era building before it became the now-venerated venue and continues all the way through its unfortunate shuttering in 2007.

Nick Bowcott of Grim Reaper, October 4, 1984  concert Photo by Patricia Fitzgerald.jpg

Nick Bowcott of Grim Reaper at an October 4, 1984 concert; photo by Patricia Fitzgerald.

The book includes interviews with the owners, managers and others who worked at the venue. Year by year, the book details what made Mississippi Nights so special to the community. The back section of “Mississippi Nights” features a comprehensive list of all the bands who played the club. The Enloes worked with designer Angela Sebben on the layout and cover art.

Although the Enloes haven’t decided on their next venture just yet, they’re certain that this passion project turned published book is just what the St. Louis music community needed.

“We realized that it needed to be done for people,” Stacy Enloe says. “Everyone loved it so much, and we didn’t want it to fall by the wayside. We wanted people to remember it, and I definitely think we accomplished that.”

“Mississippi Nights: A History of The Music Club in St. Louis” can be published at local bookstores and record stores, as well as at mississippinights.com.

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