There was a time when East St. Louis was just as lavish as the city proper. When the first fur traders and merchants settled here and became rich, they settled on both sides of the river. But over the years, East St. Louis has become notorious throughout the nation as not a very nice place to be, with its public corruption and collection of old abandoned warehouses, strip clubs, nightclubs, massage parlors, and the area’s only x-rated movie theater.
There’s basically only two reasons one travels to East St. Louis nowadays: to party at one of the nightclubs over there or to have paid sex. The reason the east side is such a party center is because most of the bars on the St. Louis side of the river either close at 1 am or 3 am. Most of the ones on the other side of the river stay open all night.
I remember a group of friends and I went over there when I was in my twenties. We had some beers at Pop’s, one of the biggest nightclubs there, and then decided to take in a movie. An x-rated movie at what was then called The Colony. I was a little suspicious when I saw the sign out front advising people that “There Will Be No Removal of Clothing” while in the theater.
The place was dirty and dingy and there was about half a dozen people in the seats. Almost all of the cars parked in the lot had Missouri license plates on them. An armed guard kept watch over the vehicles while the owners were in the movie house.
About halfway through the film, (once you’ve seen one porn film, you’ve seen them all), the film broke. There was a loud groan of discontent from the audience and a very loud M^$##* F*&$%# from the projectionist. Then a very large chunk of the plaster ceiling came crashing down in the seat next to me. I hadn’t realized that going to a porn movie could be so dangerous. We all left after that and promptly got lost finding our way back over the river.
I hear that things haven’t changed very much over the years in East St. Louis except there have been more strip joints and massage parlors added. Recently, a group of area leaders gathered together and gave a press conference. They demanded that East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks make the liquor serving establishments close earlier. The mayor also serves as the town’s liquor commissioner.
According to the Riverfront Times, about a week later, the FBI showed up and raided Park’s office. They found documents that may show that Park’s received money for the various liquor licenses.
The FBI is still in the process of investigating the mayor and the 70 or so juke joints are still open until 6 am.
Source; The Riverfront Times/news