“All buildings on Market St. from Scenic Drive to Second St were replaced except the Sea Witch (later Holt’s Restaurant, then Tigre’s Restaurant in 2002). It was formerly owned by Shaggy Mevius. It was run as a whiskey joint and no nice people were ever seen on Market St during the 30s and 40s.”
Quoting below from "Along the Coast," as written in 1895:
"While wondering about on our second day at Pass Christian the writer had the good fortune to form the acquaintance, of Mr. Patrick Curtis, whose grocery on the corner of Second and Market streets is beautifully located, just off of the main thoroughfare. Mr. Curtis is about 65 years old, but in this beautiful climate people do not age rapidly and consequently he does not look within ten years of his age. Many years ago he came from Baltimore to Mobile and not being satisfied there, he decided to come to the Pass, arriving here in 1851. Thus it will be seen he is one of the old time settlers. In the year 1858, he started his present business in the building which at present occupies. It was Patrick Curtis who built the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy at this place, selling it to the Church, and he also built the Crescent Hotel, which for thirty years has been one of the best known hostelries in this section. In former years, Mr. Curtis cut quite a prominent figure in politics, he having been County Treasurer about 15 years ago, and shortly after the war, he was Superintendent of Education for two years. In the town politics he took much interest and held the post of Corporation Treasurer for 18 years. Mr. Curtis has two sons of whom he is very proud, one having graduated form the Christian Brothers College at Pass Christian about 20 years ago, while the other finished his education at the Christian Brothers College at Memphis. The former Mr. John P. Curtis is a rising young attorney at law and also holds the position of head book-keeper with the Fairbanks Scale Co., at New Orleans. Mr. Curtis started with a stock worth about $500 and has built this up until at present time he is rated as worth $10,000 in business and property."
SW Corner of Second and Market
As Remembered by Bobby Parker and Mike McDonald
“Shaggy’s Bar was there many years before I knew about it. Shaggy was the Town Bully. Everybody feared him and did what he wanted – or else – even the Chief of Police let him alone.”
The Bar was segregated. The larger White section had the regular long bar with stools and a back-bar with mirror and the booze racks. There were also two pool tables that even teenagers were allowed to play while slugging on draft beer. It was always dark and dirty – the kind of darkness and dirtiness that gives atmosphere. If it were cleaned up – somebody was bound to complain. But not too much because the regulars who drank there were all fans of Shaggy and whatever Shaggy wanted – Shaggy got!
There was a lean-to add-on shack that had a small window opening beside the back-bar. It had a little counter – just large enough to put up a few drinks and get the money from the Colored trade who had to stand in the shack or out on the street curbing. Some of them took their drinks home if they lived close enough.
Caddy-corner to Shaggy’s was Romero’s Barber Shop. Even though there were a number of so-called “Shoot-Outs” at Shaggy’s, there was one that some of us remember as the “Last Shoot Out.”
Because Shaggy was such a bully, there were many who begrudged him but were not up to making an out and out challenge. Most of these were the fishermen who worked all day and didn’t have the time to spend at Shaggy’s, but were exposed to the results of Shaggy’s long arm of intimidation.
The Last Shoot Out
It was Shaggy’s birthday of 1946. There was always an annual big party blow-out at his place, so he would order large amounts of alcohol and beer. Shaggy was already celebrating his birthday on the night before and was driving home drunk. When he got to his place – he didn’t have the consciousness to apply his brakes. About 50 cases of beer had just been dropped off on the sidewalk along the curbing outside of his bar. In a state of drunk exhaustion, he plowed through the rows of stacked beer – likened to breaking the billiard balls at a pool table – the cases and bottles scattered all over.
Through the afternoon and evening his buddies consoled him by buying more drinks for each other and for Shaggy. All the while, he was getting meaner and drunker.
Across the street at Romeo’s, it was being told that a young Black boy had slapped one of Romeo’s sons. Romeo was damn mad about it and every patron who entered the shop was told the story of how his boy was slapped and what he was going to do when he caught the Black boy. As the men – after being neatly shaved – groomed and paid Romeo – each told him what they would do if they caught the little Black “son-of-bitch.” Then, many of them filed across the street to Shaggy's where they grabbed a drink and told what they heard at Romeo’s.
Through the evening as tempers rose – there was a cry for a lynching. They heard that the Black was at the nearby movie show and some of them prompted to go fetch the kid from out of the theater. Before long, there was the lynch-mad crowd and the saner and soberer non-lynch crowd. They started arguing with each other. As more drinks were plied and the story got ‘round the town, more of the townsfolk started showing up either to get a drink or just to watch. Then the first fists started swinging. Then more and more started throwing bottles and finally a riot grew from the wild raucous. As more word passed though the neighborhoods, the crowd swelled to several hundred. Many drunk and many quite sober – including a large number of those who hated Shaggy. This gave them the opportunity to vent their anger and to beat the hell out of Shaggy – for all of their years of pent up hatred for him.
While the fighting and the beating was going on, Police Chief Jeff Sims showed up. Thinking to quell the crowd, he shot his pistol into the concrete street in order to make a bigger bang. But, instead, the chipped cement spewed out like shrapnel hitting a number of those close by. Many of them threw themselves to the ground in agony while screaming out, “I’ve been shot!”
A few years later, Romeo was shaving one of his tried and true patrons, when all of a sudden – he angrily yelled out that he was sick and tired of his effing job and began to slice his arm. Cutting deep into an artery – Romeo was said to have bled to death --- but his son corrected this thought and said it was a heart attack.
Of Barber Romero, Ralph Ladner remembered that as a kid sitting in the chair while getting his hair cut, loud scuffling sounds were heard due to a fight at Shaggy’s Bar. Romero told Ralph, “You stay here!” Within a minute, Romero was back complaining, “Aw, its already over!”