Jack’s Place, a social staple of downtown Port Allen for more than 90 years, celebrated a grand re-opening on Saturday, Feb. 2 following major renovations.
Neither relocation, prohibition, fire nor flood has been able to destroy Jack’s Place. Not even the heartbreaking absence of the Saints at the Superbowl stopped residents from packing the bar to welcome Jack’s back to business.
In one month, with the help of several volunteers, the Saia family gutted and revamped the place from the bar top to the bathrooms. While the TVs, furniture and no-smoking rule are new, many aspects of the historic bar like the ceiling, fan in the back, and antique pool tables remain original.
Once complete, the bar will display the original wrought iron decor and photos showcasing its story. The next phase will include the addition of a patio.
Jack’s Place is a piece of Port Allen history dating back to 1924 when Jack Saia opened the cafe. Despite its cafe facade, the business sold bootleg liquor out of the back, serving as an integral part of prohibition resistance on the West Side.
“We wanted to do something different but to keep it original to the legacy of Grandpa Jack,” manager and grandson of Jack Saia, Jerry Saia said.
Over the years the bar has undergone several “facelifts,” but this is the most significant change the business has undergone since it relocated from the other side of the levee by mules in the 1920s, Jerry Saia said.
Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee called the changes “another giant step in revitalizing downtown Port Allen.”
Jerry Saia called the bar “the original social media of Port Allen” and hopes to continue to preserve history through the building and the stories told inside of it.
“I’ve learned more history sitting at these barstools than I ever did in school,” Jerry Saia said.