Former Shrimpers striker Charlie MacDonald put the Bees in front after 21 minutes when he met Carl Cort’s through ball and fired a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner for his 17th goal of the season.
Southend had struggled in the final third in the first half but were a different side after the break and got the equaliser their industry deserved in the 56th minute when Laurent’s shot from a Franck Moussa pass deflected into the goal off Pim Balkestein.
The Shrimpers maintained the pressure but Brentford scored against the run of play in the 62nd minute when Lewis Grabban teed up Cort and he slammed home a right-footed shot from just inside the box.
The lead lasted less than a minute though as Moussa crossed to the right post, where Laurent slid in to score from close range. Bees keeper Wojciech Szczesny was injured trying to challenge Laurent and was stretchered off to be replaced by Nikki Bull.
Southend upped the pressure but Brentford could have nicked the win at the end of seven minutes of added time, only for Grabban to fire straight at Steve Mildenhall when one on one with the goalkeeper.