The only right way to tell the story of The Whirlbird Honky Tonk is to let Jim Phillips tell it.
“Christy, my wife, and I became dance partners early in 1994. We frequented the dance halls and dance venues of California’s Bay area, which was rich – we could dance 4-5 nights per week. We became involved in the social dancing scene of what we call “Louisiana French Music” and we began to travel and visit every dancehall we could find in South Louisiana and on a few occasions SE Texas.
Eventually, we bought “a camp” just outside Opelousas, LA near several well-known SWLA dancehalls – Richard’s, Slim’s Y-Ki-Ki, Gilton’s, Borque’s – and we were willing to travel – El Sid-O’s, Hamilton’s, La Poussiere, Randol’s, Mulate’s, Harry’s, Fred’s Lounge, Da Office, The Habibi Temple – then on to evolving places like Café des Amis, Whiskey River, Pat’s, The Blue Moon Saloon.
We knew about old bars, clubs, and dancehalls that were shutting down or were long gone that had played important roles in local dance and music scenes – Jay’s Cockpit, The Southern Club, etc. and passed their crumbling shells as we traveled around. Once we had purchased our camp outside Opelousas, we would tell all our friends in California that we were going to put a dancehall in our yard – well, that dream came true – and through a lot of hard and fun work, we created The Whirlybird, our family rec-room-gone-wild & dancehall/honky tonk.
We have never made it a public place, and, oh yeah! it has a very interesting history. We even got in Southern Living Magazine (with a subscription of 10 million at the time) – but they had to promise not to tell where it was located. The Whirlybird abides… We say: Not a place, but an underground movement by folks highly motivated by fun, and fiercely dedicated to the pursuit of celebrating with good friends and family!”