COPYRIGHT 2020 © PRESERVATION ALLIANCE OF LAFAYETTE
Good Hope Hall was known originally as “True Friends Hall”, a mostly nonwhite settlement of pre-Civil War Vermilionville. Oral history remembers the non-enslaved Indigenous and Creole families who offered sanctuary and compassion to many newly-emancipated Blacks as they made the heroic struggle for economic survival after the Civil War. Families like the Martins, James, Moutons, Figaros and Cocos were some of the Pre-Civil War free non-whites living in Freetown. They played an important benevolent role after the end of legal slavery, by helping former slaves who struggled to adjust to their so-called freedom. For many years, Good Hope Hall served as the central location and meeting place for this benevolence. It was the home of the True Friends Society, a group that provided services and care to those in need. The Good Hope Society was the name of the official organization that purchased the building in 1910 from Isaac B. Bendel, brother of Henri Bendel. This hall was the place for wedding receptions, celebrations, entertainment, and Catholic Mass on Sundays. By the 1920s, it had became one of the great jazz halls of America featuring musicians from across the country, including Louie Armstrong and Fats Pinchon.