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1985: A Church Fair Becomes Crab Fest
"Crab Lady" Pam Metzler and other Crab Fest veterans share the history and traditions of this favorite coast festival.
- story by Lisa Monti and Tricia Donham McAlvain, photographs by Ellis Anderson
Friday June 30th:
11-2 Hog Wild Production
3-6 Pat Murphy & Sippiana Soul
8-11 Chee Weez
Saturday, July 1st:
3-6 Bucktown Allstars
7-11 Todd O'Neill Band
Sunday July 2nd:
11-1 Family Tradition Band w/Troy Ladner
2-6 Ryan Foret and Foret Tradition
7-10 Category 6
“We don’t charge for admission so it’s impossible to know how many people come in, but it’s thousands. At night sometimes you can hardly walk,” said longtime Crab Fest chairperson Pam Metzler.
Church fairs were a big part of growing up here, and many volunteers are carrying on a family tradition. “All the local church families worked the fair,” said Metzler. “My mom worked the cake booth.”
The first few years of the festival, it was held on property that celebrity clarinetist, Pete Fountain owned (near the foot of the bridge where the Chapel Hill neighborhood is now). Pat Murphy remembers playing there with his wife Candy, guitarist John Bezou and drummer Jerry L’Enfant.
Metzler says the festival was moved to the church/school grounds because the shade from the live oaks gave some relief from the mid-summer heat, yet still allowed for breezes from the gulf.
This year’s Crab Fest will be the 20th year Metzler has served as chairperson. In 1997, Pam, who was Hancock County's circuit clerk at the time, was approached by Father Pete Mocker, who asked if she'd take on the enormous job of chairing the event. After consulting with her family, who promised to help, she took on the job, becoming the first woman to do so.
Now she's retired from the county, but not the Crab Fest. She and the other dedicated volunteers return year after year to keep the pieces and parts of this three day festival rocking along. It’s hard work, in the heat, but they enjoy it.
“Everybody always has a wonderful time. A lot of volunteers aren’t even church members, they’re just members of the community or members of other churches, other denominations,” Metzler said. “Because it’s so fun.”
Just a few of the regular volunteers
Metzler and others shift into Crab Fest mode in January, and a few even set up camp on the fair grounds ahead of the opening. “Six months ahead of time, they start getting ready to prepare food,” Metzler said.
Laura Pizza Griffith makes 600 pounds of crab stuffed potatoes. Others boil 7,000 crabs and 3,500 pounds of shrimp. Some fry the seafood and make the gumbo and other items.
Kevin Haas and Mike Gibbens have been boiling the crabs and shrimp since the beginning days of the festival. "Starting 15 years ago, we got it down to a science,” said Haas. “We boil the crabs and shrimp separately in big pots with baskets in water. Then we cool the crabs or shrimp in water with seasoning, in what we call "charge pots" and then they are ready to eat.”
The Monti family has been involved in the Crab Fest since before day one. “The Monti brothers, Bill and Joe, had the original idea for the Fourth of July fair and carnival,” said Metzler. “They said let’s do a crab festival, it’s the Gulf Coast and there was no one doing one at the time.”
The late Gene Monti (“The Sweetest Man in Town”), his wife Mary Alice and his sister Lydia Favre were long time volunteers. Gene was well known as the cotton candy man and he also handmade cast nets that were raffled off. The husband of Monti’s niece carries on the traditional of knitting crab nets that are raffled.
“It’s a great, great festival and so much fun. We laugh and we work and we’re tired, I truly love it,” Metzler said. “I tell people you can’t quit the Crab Fest, you have to die to get out,” Metzler jokes. “We’ll be 80 and still be out there boiling crabs.”
And for those who make it to closing, there’s even a fun tradition.
“We get the band to play the second line and the die-hard volunteers who have stayed to the end dance all around the pavilion waving napkins," says Metzler. "When we throw our napkins down that means Crab Fest is officially over for the year."
"Then, we go soak our feet in the [soft drink] cooler with the leftover ice," she says, laughing.
Robbie MacDougal, Shetland Sheepdog and canine journalist - and longtime watcher of squirrels - takes a closer look at these frolicsome creatures, including Pete, President Truman's White House squirrel.
Next I read a tiny item that squirrels were once one of America’s favorite pets. One in particular, Pete the Squirrel, belonged to President Harry S. Truman.
When I researched squirrels as pets I found an article at atlasobscura.com that confirmed that squirrels indeed were popular pets. Mungo, for example, was a very special squirrel who belonged to Benjamin Franklin. When Mungo was killed by a dog, Franklin wrote, “Few squirrels were better accomplished, for he had a good education, had traveled far, and seen much of the world.”
Katherine Grier’s book Pets in America noted that while colonial Americans kept many types of wild animals as pets, squirrels were the most popular. By the 1700s squirrels were the rage — they were kept in fine homes, clothed, fed well, and often even appeared in the ubiquitous family portraits. Eventually the fad of ownership lessened.
They were, after all, wild animals, and behaved as such. Many states in the U.S. now have laws on the books prohibiting keeping squirrels at home.
Squirrels still have a big place in our hearts, so there is National Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21.
To help you better appreciate these backyard critters, here are a few facts and thoughts on squirrels:
Recognize these two fellas? They are the infamous Disney characters Chip and Dale.
To help you better appreciate these backyard critters, here are a few facts and thoughts on squirrels:
Recognize these two fellas? They are the infamous Disney characters Chip and Dale.
Did you know that chipmunks are rodents and members of the family Sciuridae, just like grey squirrels?
There are around 280 different species of squirrels, including gray squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, fox squirrels, marmots, and groundhogs. Betcha didn’t know there were so many.
There are a lot of famous squirrel characters. See if you remember these characters compiled by ranker.com.
To test your knowledge of squirrel trivia, check your answers to these questions at the National Wildlife Federation blog:
If you have children in your household, one of the best ways for them to learn about squirrel and other backyard habitats is using resources from the National Wildlife Federation. Ranger Rick is one of the best.
I want to be fair to my gentle readers who do not see squirrels and their relatives as benign, fun, lovely additions to the backyard environment. One of my neighbors sees them as enemies to be thwarted, and pesky rodents who steal birdseed from feeders. The World Wildlife Fund has some tricks for slowing down squirrels like weight-activated feeders, a feeding station just for the squirrels, and various baffles.
Keep in mind that squirrels are very resourceful, and that young squirrels learn from their mothers and grandmothers in attacking your feeder.
Whatever you feel about squirrels, my advice is to get a good comfy chair and position it by the best window in the house and watch them perform.
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke reports on the Destination Waveland Celebration on Saturday, July 1st, new construction projects and an update on beach maintenance and parking.
Any businesses or residents who want to get involved in the celebration, please contract Tammy Fayard at 228-467-4134.
Sponsored by City of Waveland and numerous generous community sponsors.
Caution: Men at Work — SOON
The Waveland lighthouse, public pavilion, and restroom project has spurred so much interest from contractors that Waveland decided to extended the bidding process until June 6. Bids for this project were scheduled to be open until May 17, but due to overwhelming solicitation for bid packets and the large scope of the project, the mayor and aldermen decided it was best for taxpayers to allow contractors more time to put together a quality bid.
Waveland has decided to seek bids for to paving Garden Lane, Gladstone Street (east of Henderson) and to mill a number of sections of Waveland Avenue. I expect these paving projects to be completed by Labor Day.
A Day at the Beach
Hancock County Board of Supervisors just executed a $376,400 beach maintenance contract with local company Black Diamond Construction. Black Diamond’s proposal was the most competitive bid, and I have no doubt will do a great job.
The new contractor just took over the beach maintenance in mid-May, but the quality of performance maintaining the beach and walking path is already far superior to years past.
During May, Hancock Count Board of Supervisors discussed during public meeting the plan to pave parking bays on the south side of Beach Blvd in selective location. This project has been mentioned in years past, but I suspect that this project will finally come to fruition in the next few months.
There is a high probability that the Board of Supervisors will have at least one of the proposed parking bays constructed on the south side of Beach Boulevard in Waveland by the spring of 2018.
Paying Your Respects
Could an outpouring of community condolences on the loss of an antisocial dog stem from the coast's hurricane culture?
- story and photo by Ellis Anderson
Buster was different. Since he wandered into my life shortly after Katrina destroyed the gallery, he’d led more of a cloistered life. His heritage remained a mystery and his looks condemned him to canine profiling. While a genetic test determined Buster had a boxer heritage, most people assumed he was a pit bull. Parents would snatch their toddlers off the sidewalk when we approached.
Buster’s demeanor didn’t do him any favors either. Around strangers, he wore a perpetual look of suspicion. I remembered the same worried brow from old Humphrey Bogart movies, when the actor played characters who'd just broken out of jail.
If someone outside of Buster’s tight inner circle of people tried to pet him, the brawny dog would shrink back, fearful, expecting malice. Although he could have taken almost any human down in a heartbeat, I never saw any aggression, only angst in those situations.
So what accounts for the communal compassion for an antisocial dog, one that unintentionally inspired more fear than warm-fuzzies?
I’ve lived other places where tears shed over the loss of a dog were cause for derision. “Get over it,” I’ve been told. “It was only a dog, for Pete’s sake.”
That has never happened to me here and I’ve been wondering why.
Of course, Bay St. Louis and Waveland are known as “dog towns.” Most locals recognize that all dogs are service dogs. They’re here to remind humans we’re not rulers of the universe — we are merely an integral part of it.
But the fact we’re canine-friendly communities still doesn’t explain the sort of wholesale compassion I experienced after Buster’s death. I’m beginning to believe the extraordinary outpouring wasn’t motivated by attachment to a particular dog, or neighborly feelings for the dog’s owner. It was ignited by a shared empathy. Most of us here have lost more - and more times - than a person has a right to expect.
We don’t like to think about hurricanes in the fair-weather months, but they’ve shaped our culture. In most cases, for the better. A friend once told me that on our coast, you try to stay on good terms with all your neighbors: you never know when your life will depend on them.
Because this hurricane culture is one of repeated loss — through many generations — it has also taught us that value has no connection with money. The cost of things is irrelevant, because the truly precious belongings can’t be replaced with all the gold in the world.
All of us who lived through Katrina have grieved bitterly for even simple objects. We invested memories in those touchstones, banking joy that could be endlessly withdrawn with only a glance. The treasured photo album. An ancient tree we played beneath as a child. A family heirloom, like the ship's bell from the schooner your great-grandfather sailed around Cape Horn.
So we tend not to judge when a friend suddenly tears up in a casual conversation recalling a belonging snatched by Katrina, or even Camille. It’s not for us to ridicule attachment to a seemingly trivial object.
Or a neurotic pit bull.
Here on the Gulf Coast, the phrase “paying your respects” has taken on deeper meaning. The cause of the grief is almost irrelevant. The respect we offer is more for the love that has made the loss so hard to bear.
Marshall Moving Services
A young hometown entrepreneur is on the move with a new business that aims high and carries through.
- story by Ellis Anderson
“My crew has worked with me from the very beginning,” he says. “They’ve seen how much the business has grown just through word of mouth. And that comes from being professional on every level and offering stellar customer service.”
A Bay St. Louis native and a graduate of Bay High, Hoffman worked his way through college at Southern in Hattiesburg. He learned the moving trade from Nick Kolinsky, a Golden Eagles football legend in the 1960s and owner of popular tavern Nick’s Ice House, who also owned a moving company. Hoffman stayed with Kolinsky’s company until he graduated, learning the business from the ground up.
Kolinsky’s health was failing, but his son Buddy held to the strict standards for perfection his father had set. One of the things Hoffman noticed was the way the Kolinskys did little marketing; most business came to them from referrals. He also learned the importance of punctuality and how much cleanliness and courtesy mattered.
In 2015, Hoffman graduated from USM with a degree in criminal justice. He returned to the coast, was hired on at Stennis, and worked a second job as a bartender.
The new business was born when Dave Hubbard of Hubbard’s Hardware in Waveland asked if Hoffman could help him with a move. Dave had been unable to find a full-service local company that would pack his belongings as well as move him.
Marshall put together a crew and went to work. The team packed boxes, broke down equipment, spackled holes in walls and even swept up when they were through. Hubbard was so impressed, he recommended the recent graduate to friends and customers. Who recommended the mover to others. Business began to boom. Hoffman quit the bartending gig.
In June 2016, the young entrepreneur invested “a small fortune” in the equipment he’d need to take on serious moving jobs: an enclosed trailer, top-drawer dollies, moving blankets and more. He was ready to take on the world.
But the phone didn’t ring for two weeks. No moving jobs came in. Not one. Hoffman was beginning to think he’d made a grave mistake when the dam broke and the jobs started pouring in.
Since then, the schedule has stayed full, seven days a week. The Marshall Moving formula of going over the top for customers builds loyalty as it creates more business.
Local realtor Holly Lemoine-Raymond has become one of Hoffman’s biggest fans.
“We refer local services to our customers all the time,” says Holly. “All kinds of homeowner services. Everyone seems happy, but we rarely hear back from them. Except when we started recommending Marshall Moving. Now we have clients calling to tell us how happy they are after using Marshall.”
Hoffman realized he’d need to get certain business essentials in place at the very beginning if he wanted it to thrive and expand. So he sought out — through referrals, of course — Kristie Buddenbaum of Bloom, LLC. Bloom specializes in small business development, websites and branding.
“I’ve never seen such hustle in anybody,” says Kristie. “He has amazing goals, drive and standards.”
Hoffman had a generic name in mind for the company, but the two decided to go with his first name instead.
“We could have just called it something like “Nice Movers,’” says Hoffman, smiling. “But it’s my name now, which means I stand behind our work 100 percent.”
Hoffman’s British Lab, Ziggy, represented the traits that the young businessman wanted to encapsulate, so Kristie incorporated a profile of the dog’s head into the company logo.
“Ziggy’s hardworking, loyal, and well-behaved. You can count on him,” Hoffman says. “That’s the whole idea behind my company.”
Kristie takes on administrative duties for a small number of her clients, and Marshall Moving became one of them. She’s now the company’s business manager, handling all the behind-the-scenes paperwork. The arrangement has freed up Hoffman to focus on keeping his customers satisfied.
“If you’re bogged down with administration and marketing, you don’t have time to do whatever you’re best at,” says Kristie. “And Marshall’s forte is working with his customers and crew.”
Hoffman says his crew understands the importance of courtesy and attention to detail and are experts at moving antiques and family heirlooms. Crew members wear neat uniforms. Punctuality is a high priority: if a crew member is even five minutes late, the day’s tight schedule — and the all-important customer — suffers.
“These are not just guys off the street I’ve hired,” says Hoffman. “My crew is made up of skilled professionals who take pride in the quality of their work. To be a great mover takes a lot more than muscle.”
The majority of Hoffman’s business comes from the Hancock/Harrison County area, but Marshall Moving can handle regional jobs within a 500-mile radius.
Hoffman offers everything from an hourly service (2 hour minimum) for smaller jobs like loading or unloading, or moving a major item like a pool table.
If a client wants a full-service move (including options like packing), Hoffman prices by the job and handles all the details.
At the end of a long day the equipment, truck and trailer are carefully cleaned, ready for the next morning’s job.
“People notice that kind of thing. Customers are always trying to buy my trailer,” Hoffman says, laughing. “We keep everything spotless and I always get compliments. It makes a statement about who we are.”
Fathers in Literature
Book columnist Carole McKellar takes a look at some of the best and the worst fathers in modern literature - and in real life, with Every Father's Daughter, edited by Pass Christian author Margaret McMullan
The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar was picked by The New York Times as one of the five best nonfiction books of 2016. It tells the true story of Matar’s father, who was kidnapped by Quaddafi’s forces and thrown into a secret prison in Libya. His family never saw him again, and the book tells of a son’s search for the truth of his father’s death and the tragic lives of Libyan refugees in a well-written story of familial love.
In The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (from Parnassus Book First Editions Club) the father is a career criminal who tries to provide his daughter with a normal life. The story moves back and forth over time and weaves the story of the twelve times Samuel was shot during his life with his intense love for his dead wife and child. This book reads like a thriller, and I loved it.
Other admirable fathers in fiction:
Some less than admirable fictional fathers are:
Real-life fathers, both good and bad, are eloquently portrayed in Every Father’s Daughter: Twenty-four Women Writers Remember Their Fathers selected and presented by Pass Christian author, Margaret McMullan. I enjoyed essays by some of my favorite writers, including Alice Munro, Lee Smith, and Jane Smiley, but I equally enjoyed stories by writers unknown to me. Melora Wolff’s essay brought strong memories of my father when it began:
Maybe we remembered hugging the fathers when we were little girls and they were like trees, and we balanced on the tops of their shoes; maybe we remembered lifting out arms above our heads and waiting for our fathers to lift us up as if we were little ballerinas, into the air where we spun and squealed.
The forward by Margaret McMullan is worth the price of the book. She wrote about her relationship with her father and their love of books: “When we talked about a book, we were always talking about important things.”
If you are fortunate to have a living father, please enjoy one of those hugs described above. If, like me, you no longer have a father in your life, buy Every Father’s Daughter and read all day on June 18. Or, you could watch To Kill a Mockingbird and enjoy Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch, who exemplifies the best of fatherhood.
For fathers who read this article, Happy Father’s Day.
Step up to summer at the June Second Saturday, June 10th. You'll find cool deals, fresh meals and lots of art and live music. It's the way we throw a family-friendly party here in the Bay and you're invited!
Make sure to visit Hot Spot businesses Bay Life Gifts and Gallery (111 Main Street) and Gulf View Properties (111 Court Street). Rory's Jazz Band will be performing at Bay Life 4pm - 7:30pm and Bronwynn Brent will be performing at Gulf View Properties, 5pm - 8pm.
- stories by Tracy Shields
Bay Life Gifts & Gallery
111 Court Street
Bay St. Louis
During the artwork, Rory's Jazz Band will be performing fro 4pm - 7:30pm, and light refreshments will be served.
After being a part of corporate America for 28 years, Bay Life owner Janice Guido decided she wanted to be her own boss. Janice opened her doors in March of 2015 and has not looked back.
“I enjoy being my own boss even if it does include sweeping the floors and unpacking heavy boxes,” Guido said. She loves being a part of Old Town Bay St. Louis, and it truly shows in her store.
Bay Life is designed to inspire all who walk through its doors. Guido has her store set to exhibit the Southern coastal charm of our life in Bay St. Louis and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Its tag line, "the shop for Bay coastal style," reflects Guido’s intention: “I want people to feel that they can find a little bit of everything for everyone when they enter my store. “
This shop features charming gifts for everyday life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for yourself or for anyone you care about. If you are a visitor, Bay Life is designed to make you smile at the memories of a great getaway where you purchased the perfect gift for yourself or for someone you love.
Bay Life is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30–5pm and Sunday noon to 4 during the months of June through August. Come walk around this delightful store, where you will find everything from birthday or wedding gifts, to happy surprises for people dear to you.
Guido has plenty of home and table décor, and she especially loves selling local artists’ works and Mississippi-made products.
Bay Life has a little bit of everything for everyone, and you are sure to find what you’re looking for at Bay Life.
Gulfview Properties, LLC
111 Court Street
Bay St. Louis
During Second Saturday, Bronwynn Brent will be performing from 5pm - 8pm at the Court Street office.
Kevin Jordan, owner of Gulfview Properties, LLC, knows that opting to rent a house instead of staying at a hotel when traveling adds a more intimate dimension to a vacation.
Aside from the seclusion, there's your own stocked refrigerator if you crave a midnight snack. It's also a great way to get in with the locals — suddenly you're the new neighbor.
When you factor in the per-day cost as well as room for family members or friends sharing the tab, a week or two at a spacious beach house or cottage can cost far less than a hotel.
Gulfview Properties offers furnished beach houses and cottage vacation rentals on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, primarily here in Bay St. Louis. Each of their Bay St. Louis rentals is a quiet retreat to help you feel right at home, as well as close to all the wonderful attractions that Bay St. Louis has to offer.
All you have to do is slide the key in the lock, and it is home sweet home for your stay. “Bay St. Louis is the perfect town to live in or visit for a stay,” said Jordan.
Jordan’s family owed the very first vacation home on 121 Seymour Street. Today there are more than 400 vacation homes on the Gulf Coast.
“I love doing historical restoration, and I never want to sell after I finish with the job. Plus this keeps me out of trouble, for the most part,” said Jordan.
If you are planning your dream vacation to Bay St. Louis, contact Kevin Jordan at Gulfview Properties, 228-344-3004, or go to gulfviewproperties.net.
Rockin' at the Crab Fest
Each year, Crab Fest organizers bring in top regional bands. Get the scoop on this year's line-up, including Pat Murphy and his new band, Sippiana Soul.
- by Karen Fineran
The live music lineup at the Crab Fest always tries to outdo the previous year. For 2017, the music will be nearly continuous throughout the entire three days and nights. That means no matter what time you venture out to the Crab Fest, you’ll be able to catch a good band!
The festival begins on Friday, June 30, at 11 a.m. The music kicks off with Hog Wild Production from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by the ever-popular Pat Murphy with his new band Sippiana Soul from 3–6 p.m. The five-piece tribute band Chee-Weez will finish the night from 8–11 p.m.
Pat Murphy reminisced about his long history with the OLG Crab Fest, having played at least 15 times on several of the fest’s stages. Pat remembered playing at the very first Crab Fest in 1985, with his wife Candy, guitarist John Bezou and drummer Jerry L’Enfant.
Sippiana Soul is made up of Pat Murphy, keyboards and vocals, John Bezou, guitar and vocals, Phil Guay, bass and vocals, Steve Sandberg, drums and Mark Rybisky, tenor sax. Murphy's known Phil Guay since he was sixteen, Guay traveled with his band from Baton Rouge to play for local teen dances.
“I’ve always enjoyed Crab Fest because I run into people there that I don’t see very often,” says Murphy. “Also, I love where they’ve put the stage now, back under all the beautiful big live oaks!”
Pat predicts that the sound from the stage this year will be phenomenal, with Aaron Lee heading up sound and production.
Crowd favorites Chee-Weez perform covers of ’70s funk, ’80s pop, and ’90s grunge rock, thrilling audiences with the addition of crazy costume changes, giant video walls, lasers, lights, and pyrotechnic explosions.
The Chee-Weez have pulled in sizeable audiences at Crab Fest on Friday night every year for the last eight or nine years. Joey Mangiapane, Chee-Weez’s bass player, spoke about his band’s long relationship with OLG Crab Fest.
“When we first started playing the Crab Fest, it was a newer festival, and they didn’t have a stand-alone stage yet. We played under the crab-eating tent, right in front of the tables and chairs. After they got a big stage up the next year, I think that we were the first band to ever play on it.”
Mangiapane added that Crab Fest is one of the band’s all-time favorite festivals to play, because there is usually an enthusiastic crowd of six or seven thousand people there on Friday nights (and because the food there is so delicious).
On Saturday, July 1, the fest begins with Razzo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by the Bucktown All-Stars from 3 to 6 p.m., and then the Todd O’Neill Band, 7–11 p.m.
The horn-powered Bucktown All-Stars have become legendary in Louisiana, performing their own mix of rock, soul, funk, R&B and New Orleans classics at outdoor festivals, nightclubs and special events across the Gulf South.
This summer, the award-winning All-Stars celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band. (They have taken one of Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Awards for nearly 10 years in a row, as well as several of Gambit Reader’s Choice Polls.)
The All-Stars have played their second-line funk and Motown soul at the Crab Fest at least five times over the last several years. Steve Alfonso, the band’s drummer, elaborated upon the Crab Fest.
“We love it. It’s one of the more top-notch festivals that we play — one of the reasons is that it’s always very well run by Pam [Metzler]. There’s just a great mixed crowd of locals and New Orleanians, it’s extremely family-oriented, and it’s in the most beautiful setting you could imagine, shaded by those big oak trees. Oh, and there’s also great food and boiled crabs. It doesn’t get much better than that!”
Todd O’Neill is a country music singer and guitarist. Based in Nashville, but originally from Hammond, Louisiana, O’Neill’s musical style blends a little Cajun zydeco and New Orleans R&B into his country songs.
On Sunday, July 2, the music gets started with the Family Tradition Band, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., followed by Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition 2–6 p.m. The Crab Fest closes with Category 6, 7–10 p.m.
Ryan Foret is a nationally recorded country music artist with four CDs released since 1999. His band’s mix of country with a dash of zydeco, R&B and funk is in high demand along the entire Gulf Coast.
New Orleans cover band Category 6 combines high-energy stage antics with UV blacklighting. Their clothes and faces glow neon colors in the dark, and yours can too! (Category 6 “glow wear” is available for sale at their shows.)
There you have it — three days and three nights of premier live music and dancing under the stately oaks! Come on down to the Crab Fest to pass your Fourth of July.
House of Dreams
Three very different buildings make up the home of artist Kat Fitzpatrick, yet they magically mesh to create a space where dreams become reality.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
It’s there I conduct my interview with Kat, which at first seems a little ridiculous since we’ve been friends for years. But information emerges that I’ve never heard before. About, for instance, the zebra car.
Kat grew up in uptown New Orleans, surrounded and nurtured by creative people and “wonderfully eccentric characters.” In the early ’70s, she entered the new art program at the University of New Orleans. The fledgling department was housed in an old airplane hangar with swallows nesting in the walls.
Kat found the program inspiring and began to find her artistic footing. The only fly in the ointment? She repeatedly had trouble finding her car in the vast UNO parking lot. She solved the problem with a can of paint and a brush: she painted the old Volkswagen bug with zebra stripes. The car and its driver achieved celebrity status in New Orleans. “The ’60s happened in the ’70s in New Orleans,” Kat says.
When she met her future husband, a Tulane architecture student named Kevin Fitzpatrick, the two clicked creatively. The couple collaborated on several artistic enterprises, including painting leather belts.
The couple left New Orleans for Kevin’s native Florida, where he completed his degree in architecture and Kat obtained hers in fine arts photography. Their son Liam was born while they were in Gainesville. After graduation they moved to Tampa for a few years, but even after nearly a decade in Florida, they never lost the longing for New Orleans.
Kat's art studio in the steamboat house
Meanwhile, Kat’s mother Jean Hammett had moved permanently from New Orleans to Pass Christian. Kat’s sister Chris was raising her family there as well. So when Kevin took a job in New Orleans, Jean saw her opening. She scouted out a small historic cottage in Bay St. Louis that might suit the small family.
The cottage at 233 Boardman had been built in 1905 and had two bedrooms, a small kitchen and living room and a “skinny bathroom where you had to walk sideways.” A muscadine grape arbor cooled the breezes on their way into the house.
A few years later, after daughter Molly was born, the artist and her mother began sharing a studio in the Masonic Temple building on Main Street. She remembers the Bay St. Louis of that time as idyllic.
“I started becoming part of the downtown life,” she says. “We’d take a break for lunch at Trapani’s, take a walk on the pier and then go back to the studio and paint more. The windows in the building then were operational, so we’d open them up and let the wind rip around the studio. It was magnificent.”
Eventually, the two growing Fitzpatrick children had Kevin making drawings for an addition to the Boardman cottage. The back addition was 600 square feet with an open living area, bedroom and bath. It wasn’t completed by the time of Kat’s fortieth birthday, but the addition still hosted a memorable celebration.
The renovated addition
When the couple parted ways soon after, Kat found that trying to live the life of an artist as a divorced mother of two was a “white knuckle experience.” She took a job that wasn’t a good fit, but found solace at St. Rose de Lima Church. After one service, she mentioned to choir member Phil Williams how meaningful their singing was to her.
“He said, ‘Maybe you need to come sing with us,’” Kat remembers. “‘But you don’t even know if I can sing!’ I said. Phil said that wasn’t the question. He told me I just needed to show up and say I wanted to be a part of it.”
Kat sang with the choir for the next 18 years.
The unhappy job only lasted a year before she began teaching art at Coast Episcopal School. She flourished in the environment, and so did her students. Her own son and daughter grew up in the cottage on Boardman, thriving in a community with “heart, intelligence and compassion.”
With the kids eventually away at college, Kat was an empty nester when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore in 2005.
The unprecedented storm surge floated Kat’s historic cottage off its piers. Massive trees fell across it, crushing its spine. The addition on the back survived, but barely. It had flooded to the roof’s peak.
Yet, the local schools rallied and Kat, staying with a friend, returned to teaching only a month after the disaster. St. Rose rallied too.
“The church had only had minor damage,” she says. “It was miraculous. Those first services, everyone was there in muddy clothes, but Al Acker [the legendary choir director] was dressed in a suit with a tie and a little pocket square. He looked like a million dollars. It was a beautiful time. We just fell into each other’s arms, so grateful to see our friends alive.”
A few months later, on Thanksgiving Day, Kat and Molly, who had returned home from college, watched as the original Boardman cottage was bulldozed. Kat’s legs buckled from the grief.
Kat made the decision to renovate the back addition and make it into a self-contained tiny house. During the yearlong process, the discouragements were many and snowballed into despair.
She visited friends who relocated to Natchez and made the decision to move north too. After 13 years at Coast Episcopal, she resigned. Kat put the renovated addition — now a complete cottage — up for sale.
“But when an offer to actually buy the cottage came, my heart sank,” Kat says. “I wasn’t ready to cut ties. I just needed to feel like I had some choices.”
Returning to her teaching job wasn’t one of those choices once she made the decision to stay. The school had already hired someone else.
“So I decided to take a bet on a long shot: Kat Fitzpatrick,” she says. “And it was a long shot. Very few people are able to make a living as a working artist, even a bad living. I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve had that opportunity.”
Another astonishing opportunity presented itself in 2010: a historic home, coincidentally also built in 1905, hadn’t been repaired after extensive Katrina damage. It was slated to be torn down.
Local contractor Scott MacDonald believed it might possibly be moved onto Kat’s property. Kevin Fitzpatrick stepped in to help facilitate grant funding for the project from Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH).
The steamboat house -
originally built in Waveland by Jules Favre in 1905
The cottage had been built in a style sometimes called Steamboat Gothic, because its porch wrapped the front of the house like the prow of a ship. It was located on Jeff Davis in Waveland. Jules “Papa” Favre had built the house for his family in the evenings after work, milling all the ornate trim himself.
The first time Kat stepped through the front door in Waveland, she looked up and saw sky. The tarps covering the missing roof had torn away, leaving the interior completely exposed. Grant money would help, but the scope of the work needing to be done was formidable.
She took the risk and purchased the house for one dollar.
The original shutters and doors, which the owners had planned to sell on eBay, cost her $1500. That was just the beginning. With the help of volunteers supervised by MDAH, the house was taken apart board by board. Each piece was numbered with a code and then placed in a shipping container.
At Boardman, the house was painstakingly reassembled. Kevin designed an umbilical walkway that married the renovated 1990s addition and the steamboat house. The entire process took more than two years from start to finish, with more volunteers, help from St. Rose, and a father-son team of contractors, Ed and Bob Odom.
The steamboat house contains a large guestroom/library, a front parlor, a large bathroom, and a central living area that has become a showroom and staging area for Kat’s work. A spacious wing off to the side that once served as the home’s kitchen has become a studio that sets creative energy a-buzzing as soon as one walks through the door.
The beadboard ceilings and walls haven’t been painted; a sealer shows off the raw wood and layers of paint that were applied through the years. It provides the perfect backdrop for her her lush, evocative paintings. This is a dream house in a different sense of the term: dreams become reality every day here, manifesting in Kat’s artwork.
Inside the steamboat house
The former addition is now Kat’s main living area, since it’s easier to heat and cool. A diminutive kitchen, living area, bedroom and bath provide enough space and ample light for the single artist.
Then last year, Kat began looking at plans Kevin had drawn up soon after the storm. He’d designed a building for Kat that would return the space lost by the destruction of the original historic cottage.
The idea was to give her room for a separate studio and living area. Since the steamboat house fulfilled those needs, Kat had put the plans aside, but the building would have been stunning. Kevin’s gift as an architect shone in the design.
Kat contacted local contractor Ed Madden, who had helped her design and build an eye-catching garden shed. They discussed repurposing the plans for a lofty screen house. Kevin modified the original designs for living space, adding “bump-outs” that could serve as sleeping areas.
It’s no wonder Kat has nicknamed the new space “the temple.” Exposed rafters, painted white, accent the silver roofing metal and subconsciously bring angels to mind. Soft lights, shaped like stars, hang high among the beams. Plush seating areas, a dining table, and stools from an old convent invite guests to sink deeply and leave their cares at the door.
Cool colors drench the eye inside, playing off the surrounding park-like garden and grounds. Birds flutter around the screened house. It seems like an aviary in reverse, with the viewers on the inside.
“It feels like sacred space,” says Kat. “At night when I’m in here, it seems like a play house. My eight-year-old self is never far away.”
Kat has intentionally played each of the buildings off of each other, so they now shine as individuals, yet complement each other.
“The new doesn’t have to mimic the old to be pleasing,” she says. “It just needs to show respect.”
She says that although she’s an introvert, the completed complex makes it a joy to entertain.
“I always want there to be room for eccentrics, for people who don’t fit any mold,” she says. “That’s what this town has done and it’s why Bay St. Louis has such a grip on my heart.”
Acclaimed fiber artist Kerr Grabowski has made her mark on the national art scene, but she's now blazing new trails here in Bay St. Louis.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
For most of this stellar career, Kerr created wearable art — painting, printing and dyeing fabric that was then used to construct high fashion, one-of-a-kind garments. Kerr’s show-stopping silk kimonos might retail for thousands of dollars in a metropolitan gallery. Since the pieces were naturally limited in production, they became highly sought after by serious fashionistas.
Kerr started making her marks early, in Jasper, Alabama, in the hill country north of Birmingham. Recognizing her talent early on, her parents signed her up for art classes. But in a bizarre effort to impress Kerr’s parents and keep the lessons going, the art teacher would paint over each of Kerr’s works. The experience almost turned Kerr against art altogether.
The family moved to Gulfport, where Kerr continued pursuing that eloquent line in high school. After graduation, her parents convinced her that making a living with art was unrealistic, so she headed off to college majoring in chemistry and biology, first at Mississippi University for Women, and then Mississippi State.
Leaving school to become a wife and mother, Kerr began painting children’s furniture and purses. Her success convinced her to return to college, this time for art. After she obtained her degree from Delta State, the young family moved back to the coast. Kerr began drawing late at night, then focusing on batik, an ancient method of using wax and dye to produce designs on cloth.
Divorcing when her daughter, Crawford, was six, Kerr had $200 in the bank when she decided to start selling her work at craft shows to pay the bills. She traveled to regional shows in a 1958 VW van that could “only go for about four hours without breaking down.” When Crawford had sleepovers, Kerr would enlist (and pay) the children to help iron and sew.
The business grew, and so did Kerr’s skills. With a more reliable vehicle, she was able to show at crafts venues in the northeast. It turned out to be an enormous asset that she’d been working on the Mississippi coast, where fiber artists who might have influenced her work were rare. In the Northeast, where fine crafts were sought after and revered, Kerr realized that her work and the some of the techniques she’d developed were unique.
Kerr hired assistants and purchased a studio in Pass Christian. By the mid-’80s, she’d become a shoo-in for highly competitive shows featuring the top craftspeople in the country, like the Smithsonian. Gallery owners across the country snapped up her work.
She’d been considering moving to the Northeast when she was offered a position as head of the fiber program at the prestigious Peter’s Valley Crafts Center on the Delaware River in New Jersey.
“I felt immediately at home in those woods,” she says. “The rock formations and the forests seemed just like the ones I’d loved as a child in Huntsville. It turns out they’re both bookends of the Appalachian Mountains. The job was for three years. I stayed for nine. I did a lot of adjunct teaching in the surrounding universities during that time.”
In the mid-’90s she purchased a derelict historic building in downtown Sussex, New Jersey, 60 miles from New York City. She rehabbed the bottom floor, and it served as her gallery, studio and living space.
She continued teaching, extending her range exponentially in 2007 when she made a DVD demonstrating her signature deconstructed screen-printing technique. The DVD sold internationally, and the invitations to teach outside the country began arriving regularly.
But her granddaughter was born in Jackson, Mississippi that same year, and Kerr began to feel the tug to return to the South. Artist friends, including Vicki Niolet, Kat Fitzpatrick, J.J. Foley, John McKellar, and Bill Myers, all urged her to move back.
In 2010, she found the perfect house on Keller Street in Bay St. Louis. With an original historic cottage and a small contemporary guesthouse, it provided ample space for both home and studio. The guesthouse had been renovated, but the restoration of the 1920s cottage had stopped mid-stream. After its purchase, she flew back and forth to supervise the construction. When it was completed in 2011, Kerr moved to Bay St. Louis full time.
“I love the vibe here,” she says. “I can sit on my porch, or walk over to the Mockingbird [Café] and meet friends and have coffee. There’s a wonderful energy in this town. And the arts scene across the whole Mississippi coast is really taking off.”
Soon, locals interested in learning from Kerr won’t have to fly to Australia to take one of her classes. She’ll be offering instruction at the new Bay Creative Arts Center later this year.
“There’s a supportive group of very talented people making art here, out of the love of making. The show at Smith & Lens really made me feel like I’m a part of that community.“
What Katy Did
Award-winning author Rheta Grimsley Johnson introduces a moving new book by noted journalist John Branston.
“Watch out for snakes!” I warned.
“Kaboom!” yelled the dam-destroyers. They were fearless.
That’s where I’ll keep Katy Branston. In the hollow, in the branch, in the box of faded snapshots under the bed. For somewhere there is a photograph I took of her that dam-building day. She is standing with her father, mother and brother, on the side deck where I’d line them all up each annual visit.
The Branstons, a handsome couple, had such beautiful children that you felt compelled to document their big eyes and pinch-able cheeks. I once tried to sell my publisher on a photograph of Katy’s brother Jack for a book cover. I am talking cute.
In 2014 I received an email from Katy announcing she was leading a bike tour across America to raise money for something called “Bike and Build.” It was a fundraising scheme for affordable housing that involved pedaling nearly 4,000 miles in 75 days.
Once again, I marveled at time’s swift passage.
Little Katy was grown and gone, already graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina’s Elon College and living near her brother in Montana.
For a while that year I was current. Katy blogged about the trip, and I saw a few photographs and read well-written accounts of her adventures. She made it safely with her 32 charges to the Pacific Ocean. Still fearless, I thought.
But this past November when Katy’s father, John, called to tell me she had taken her own life, I refused to believe Katy was age 29; it simply could not be. She was the small girl in overalls.
Now, because life is so damn tough, there’s a book you should read, as close to the bone as anything ever written. Titled What Katy Did, it also is what John did after his daughter died. He wrote, same as he’s done every day of his adult life. Katy had started writing a book and wanted to share it with friends and family when she turned 30, which should have been this month.
John finished it for her.
John and Jenny Branston have been in my life since 1981, when John and I worked in a small bureau for United Press International in Jackson. No, we didn’t deliver packages in a brown truck as many assumed. UPI, not UPS. We were reporters -- young, driven, competitive. He was a Michigan Yankee. I was Deep South. But we were good friends.
We even took jobs with the Memphis newspaper the same day, sharing the ride up from Jackson for our respective interviews. We both eventually left that paper, but print journalism had its hooks in us. The Branstons named their firstborn, Jack, after Jack Burden, the reporter in All the King’s Men. John, an exceptionally fine writer, authored a well-received book, worked for Memphis magazine and, for years, the alternative city paper.
I have seen the Branstons more lately than I have in decades. John had retired, was a bit restless, and he and Jenny visited us in the Pass. They fell in love with the place. It happens.
Before we knew it, they bought a second home on Second Street previously owned by a lady named Gisela who grew up in Nazi Germany and survived Kristallnacht. The Branstons started giving the house the clever decorating touches that Jenny is famous for in Memphis. John rejoiced in doing some physical work for a change.
Then they lost Katy, who never saw the new family home in the Pass. She never saw Cat Island in the distance, or up close, the siren sight that convinced her father to locate here.
I knew for certain that John, living through the worst imaginable thing any parent could face, would write something. He would have to. It is how writers work through everything, joyful or bleak. Especially for reporters, it isn’t real until it appears on the page in short declarative sentences.
“This is a short book that can be read in an hour or two,” John writes, “which is fine because that’s about all I have in the tank and Katy wouldn’t want us moping around. Katy believed in living true….”
It may be short, but it is perhaps the most profoundly heart-breaking story of struggle I’ve ever read. Written by a seasoned journalist, it is full of evocative, but never maudlin, details that make Katy as real to me as she was that day in the branch.
She taught herself to play the ukulele. She worked for Habitat for Humanity in Whitefish, Montana. She faced down a mountain lion. She missed her folks.
Using his own words, Katy’s words, her friends’ countless tributes, John has managed to lasso his sorrow into what may be the single best profile I’ve ever read.
“It is possible to have a life after horror and loss,” John concludes. “Gisela lived 77 years after escaping the Nazis. Walter Anderson was most productive after escaping from the state mental hospital. Pass Christian completely rebuilt itself after deadly hurricanes in 1969 and 2005. I have hopes.”
He is following his daughter’s example. Living true.
Breakfast in the Bay
Lisa Monti takes on a tour of some of the most popular breakfast spots in Bay St. Louis. Visiting any one of them is a surefire way to start your day off with a smile - and a satisfied appetite.
110 South Second Street
Bay St. Louis
Mockingbird Cafe, a local favorite since 2006, has outdoor seating and breakfast is served Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Take your pick of eggs your way, omelettes, frittatas, waffles, yogurt, fresh fruit and various sides. Not surprising for a place that started out as a coffee shop, the coffee here is fresh and served all day. Pick from espresso, latte, cappuccino, mocha, iced and specials along with hot and iced tea.
112 North Second Street
Bay St. Louis
The tables on the tiny front porch and in the shady front yard of Buttercup Cafe on Second are favorite spots for breakfast and people watching. Eating at one of the tables inside the cafe also is comfortable and casual for lunch and breakfast. And the fact that breakfast is served all day is another endearing thing that keeps attracting locals and visitors to the bright yellow building just off Main Street. Some favorites are the omelettes, pancakes and the roasted potatoes on the side.
Buttercup Cafe is open daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lulu's on Main
126 Main Street
Bay St. Louis
The breakfast menu at LuLu’s on Main is plentiful, playful, and reliably delicious, from the kitchen of chef Nancy Moynan. The Breakthrough Breakfast Sandwich (cheese, fried egg and ham, bacon or sausage on a toast English muffin) is getting rave reviews. There’s Lu’s Bagel, the top of the line “everything” open-faced bagel with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, red onion, capers and sliced hard-boiled egg. For balance, there’s low-fat yogurt & fruit parfait topped with granola. And for something that combines the best of breakfast and lunch, the fried chicken beignets sprinkled with powered sugar seem totally well worth the calories.
LuLu’s breakfast is available Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
315 Reese Street
Bay St. Louis
Sunrise Cafe is a cozy spot at the corner of U.S. 90 and Dunbar Avenue that’s often packed with locals, so table sharing isn’t unusual. Customers come in for the cooked-to-order breakfast (and lunch) dishes and other favorites including hearty omelettes, breakfast sandwiches and buttermilk pancakes. There are specials, too. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon.
2400 McLaurin Street
Grammy's Donuts and More
308 Hwy 90
Bay St. Louis
More donuts can be found at Grammy’s Donuts & More, where you might find yourself in a long line at the drive through to get your order. It’s that popular. The donuts made here bear no real relation to the manufactured variety except for the shape. The texture, glaze and flavor will have you understanding you've never enjoyed a real donut before. It's hard to believe that such a divine dining experience.
The "More" part of the name means daily specials (a recent weekday featured shrimp & grits, and a pork chop breakfast), full traditional breakfasts, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches on fresh croissants made in-house ($2.99). Try a breakfast and then a donut for dessert. You can skip lunch and not miss it.
Solar Boat Bayou Tours
Shoofly correspondent Lisa Monti gets a delightful, insider's view of local waterways on a silent solar-driven vessel, guided by boat builder Mark Isaacs.
The lightweight, Coast Guard–certified craft can be hauled on top of a car or on a trailer and accommodate one or two passengers in cushioned swivel bucket seats. The boats run on German-made electric motors charged either by the sun or by electric outlets and have a top speed of 5 mph, the better to take in the rivers, bayous and bays and far quieter and fume free than gas-powered motors.
Putting in at the end of North Beach Boulevard at the Cedar Point boat launch for a late-afternoon tour of Old Joe’s Bayou, Isaacs slid our two boats into the water and unloaded the gear from his car: two motors, one battery for each plus a spare, life jackets with compass and whistle, two paddles and other accessories. Isaacs takes extreme caution in his preparation and instructions on safely operating the boats.
My own experience running a boat is negligible, so I admit to palpitations right before stepping onto my boat and settling into the chair. My main concern wasn’t for my safety but for my new iPhone in my life jacket pocket.
Isaacs does take care to talk about the proper way to board the boat and keeps a dry bag for your wallets and keys. “We have ways to address those concerns,” he said.
Facing sideways and with right hand gripping the tiller, I rolled the tiller handle forward to slowly pick up speed and followed close behind Isaacs’ boat as we set out into the peaceful bayou on the back side of Hollywood Casino.
It took no time to get the hang of changing the craft’s speed and direction, and with the beautiful marsh scenery and birds of all kinds flying all around, the fact that I was on this boat by myself didn’t distract from the peaceful sightseeing.
“As many times as I’ve done this, I continue to not quite get over the quietness of the experience,” Isaacs said. “This for me is quiet and meditative. It’s the most powerful aspect of the experience.”
As to what you’ll see on one of these tours, Isaacs said that’s up to nature. “Different locations offer different experiences,” he said. The possibilities include a heron with a six-foot wing span taking off close at hand, dolphins feeding in the Jourdan River, and sand crabs scurrying on shore.
Bridge swallows put on a show for us at the old bridge near our launching spot. Isaacs once saw an enormous alligator gar in a full arching breach through the air. “You can’t control what you see but most of the time there’s a nice diversity of birds,” he said.
Tours of Old Joe’s Bayou are about an hour and cost $60 for a boat for two. Catfish Bayou takes about three hours to tour and costs $90. Bayou Bogue Homa on the Mississippi side of the East Pearl River typically takes about two hours for $90 and No Name Bayou in Diamondhead is $80.
Conditions have to be right before any tour to ensure safety. Wind can’t be more than 12 mph and temperature must be over 60. “Typically, wildlife are more active either in the early morning hours or evening so think of this as a sunrise or sunset tour,” he said. Tides also have to be right, so Isaacs recommends calling well in advance to plan a trip.
For more information, call or text (228) 363-2529 or visit the Solar Boat Tours website.
Carrying on her mother's legacy of building community and love of local libraries, Suzi Lee believes in the ripple effect of goodness.
- story by Tricia Donham McAlvain
Grace was a well-known local librarian who began working in 1970, after Hurricane Camille. “I was in private nursing school in New Orleans,” said Suzi. “My mother saw the need for extra income. To meet financial needs, she applied at the library where she loved to spend time.”
In the years to follow, Grace drove the bookmobile to rural areas in Kiln, Lakeshore, and Pearlington before Diamondhead was a community. Eventually she helped open the library in Kiln.
Suzi loves to tell how her mother enjoyed making stops with the bookmobile at places like a neighborhood grocery store because there were no libraries at that time. Grace is still remembered by locals who were children then.
Now adults, they remember how Grace would choose books for regulars, knowing their reading preferences and setting books aside for them. For instance, Tim Kellar, Hancock County’s Chancery Clerk, believes that Grace always saved “the best books for me.”
In Grace’s spare time she would repair rare books. “Mom loved books, this library and her job. When Mom died, three library books were lying on her bedside table.”
In 1978, Hancock County officials designated Grace Rhodes Appreciation Day to honor the roving librarian. And in the lobby of the Bay St. Louis library, a brass leaf of the Bay St. Louis Foundation Tree reads “In Memory of Grace Rhodes.” Suzi purchased that particular tribute to recognize her mother’s work.
Suzi says, “Give to the places you believe in. The library does so many good things with their money.”
Her belief in the impact of libraries on the community has led her to being a member of the Library Foundation of Hancock County from 2006 to the present, where she served as a board member from 2006 to 2011.
In 2003, she helped dedicate the new library in Waveland, built after the older one was destroyed by Katrina. Her grandchildren are honored in the main branch of the Bay St. Louis Library and she has given to the Dr. Joseph Lee Waveland Children’s Library, named in honor of her husband.
As a registered nurse and wife of local surgeon Dr. Joseph Rillens Lee, the medical industry — and especially the surgical field — is dear to her heart. Doctor Lee is now a semi-retired surgeon after working 37+ years at the Hancock Medical Center.
Suzi’s dedication to the communities of both Bay St. Louis and Waveland led her to serve as a board member of Hancock Medical Center for the past eight years. During that time, she has worked to see the facilities were outfitted with updated surgical equipment. She also dedicated a new surgery suite at the hospital.
“[I believe] our actions are like tiny pebbles thrown into a body of water,” said Suzi. “The ripples created from the stone hitting the water can create goodness in everything you do.”
Sneezing is something we all do, but did you know we actually adopt certain sneezing styles, which reflect our personalities?
- by Christina Richardson, PhD.
I learned that before a sneeze hits I can rub my nose, press on my upper lip, or take a deep breath out my nose. I did some searching and found out some other details about sneezing.
Click here for additional sneeze factoids.
The video below explains the science behind the sneezing mechanism.
Patti Wood is a body language expert who is the official spokesperson for Benadryl and creator of the “Benadryl Sneeze Analysis.” Ms. Wood has really put a lot of work in to the sneeze business. In “Shooting the Breeze about Sneezing” on her website, Ms. Wood identifies sneeze styles.
The NICE, or sensitive, sneezer: These people are warm and friendly and their most important priority is their relationship with others. They tend to have a single “achoo” and turn their heads away when they sneeze.
BE RIGHT sneezers are careful and accurate. They take their time, play by the rules and wish others would do so. They are the most likely to cover their noses when sneezing.
GET IT DONE sneezers are fast, decisive and to the point. They are leaders and get things done. These folks often hold in a sneeze but when they let go it is a loud one.
THE ENTHUSIASTIC sneezer is charismatic, imaginative and open to people. When they sneeze it is usually big or multiple.
In the study of 547 people Ms. Wood found that sneezing matched personalities. Some of the respondents added their own type of sneezers: the big bad wolf, the tease, spray gun, freeze tag, hand as handkerchief, the how high can you count sneeze, the cartoon sneeze, the coughing sneeze, and others. The article goes in to traditions, why we say “bless you,” and some celebrity sneezers.
Sneezing is one of those automatic things we do and don’t do much thinking about. Maybe now you will.
D.I.E.T.: Change Your Outlook For Optimum Health
Feeling fluffy? Forget traditional dieting this summer and try a general lifestyle change instead.
- by Christina Richardson, PhD
Five Tips for Healthy Summer Eating:
1. Eat as close to natural as possible, choosing salads and foods from the garden and farmer’s market with a high water content. Watermelon and leafy greens are wonderful. When you eat foods with a high fat content — protein or carbohydrates — it takes energy to digest and body temperature rises.
2. Eat less than you do in the winter — you need less fuel to keep your body temperature in balance. Graze throughout the day. Make your regular three meals a day six smaller ones. Think about what your body needs today. Savor what you eat and do not give up what you love. Eat a few French fries, not an entire serving. Deprivation just makes you want something more.
3. Move more by parking your car further away from your destination. Take a morning walk. Avoid exercising in the middle of the day. Do a class with friends in yoga or at the gym. Enjoy!
4. Enlist your friends to help you stay on track. Ask them to join you in eating close to natural, eating less and moving more. No matter what task we set out for ourselves, we accomplish more with a little help from our friends. Some years ago I read the transcript of a sermon given by Dr. Robert McNeish, pastor of the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Resistertown, Maryland. In 1972 He used the example of geese flying in formation to show how people can work together.
My favorite line is, “The geese flying in formation make loud honking noises, called contact calls, to help them stay together.” Pastor McNeish’s lesson was that we need to make sure that our honking is encouraging, supportive and that it brings out our best. Here is a video based on McNeish’s sermon.
5. Remember that tomorrow is another day. Every day is a day to begin again. Stay away from the weight scales. Every day jot down how your body feels. Diets do not work. Lifestyle changes do.
Chopsticks on an Old Upright
Award-winning author and syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson reflects on the pleasures of being impractical.
Find out more about Rheta's books and read her latest syndicated columns at RhetasBooks.com. Rheta's new gallery/shop, Faraway Places, is located at 102 West Front Street, Iuka, Mississippi.
My Girl Scout leader, not so much. I figured I got enough Bible stories in Sunday School and didn’t have the patience for a felt Zacchaeus up a felt sycamore tree.
I’ll have to admit, however, that the bad judgment tag stuck. I’ve been told by my father and two husbands that I make impractical decisions, first cousin to bad. I choose to think of myself as romantic.
I made another such decision just the other day. Impractical, not bad. At least I hope.
I bought a piano. I have no place to put it and couldn’t play it if it did play. Which it does not. Did I mention this was a tad impractical?
For years I’ve wanted an old upright piano. My grandmother had one, could make even the most puritanical, blood-soaked hymn sound like a honky-tonk hit. The figurines she kept on top of the piano danced when she played, and the fat on her upper arms shook to the beat.
After my grandmother died, my aunt sold that iconic upright to a stranger for $50. Better that than let family benefit.
Soon enough I rented a furnished house in Monroeville, Ala., Harper Lee’s hometown. We were caretakers, actually, my former husband and I, settling in amongst the dry-rotting treasures in a rambling mansion in the woods.
The cost we paid for baby-sitting such splendor was $200 a month. The house had an old upright piano. We didn’t have the money to get it tuned properly, but every party centered around the instrument. We were young. There were many parties.
Always there was someone who could coax a tune from the yellowed ivories. I played at the level of “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul,” and my grandmother’s favorite stride piano song, “Redwing.”
But planted in me during that brief period was the desire to sit down at a keyboard and become a Scott Joplin, or, better yet, Jerry Lee, a man who could take “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from audio doggerel to Grade-A groove.
So when a friend took me to see an old house she’s buying in the Pass, I couldn’t help but notice the old piano sitting idle in the modified dogtrot. Next thing I knew, I was talking to its owner about what would happen to the treasure.
“It can be yours,” he said. “For $1 and getting it out of here.”
“You were over-charged,” my former husband said when I told him what I’d done. “They usually pay you to get it out of there.” I reminded him of the fun we’d had with the Monroeville upright, but evidently in his maturity he’s forgotten the delight he felt when I taught him the treble part of “Silver Bells.”
I already had realized the impracticality of my purchase after calling Three Men and A Truck – more like 30 men with 15 trucks -- who all put the bottom line for moving a piano at about $400-plus. Turns out, it takes four men to move one safely, and this particular antique was extra heavy.
I knew the piano needed work. Both the furniture and the innards were pretty crusty. So I decided to have the movers shove it into the garage, the only place I could think of big enough to accommodate a piano.
“So you’ll need another $400 to move it out of the garage when you decide where you want it,” my current husband said. Husbands are always demanding you use the soft pedal.
I decided to shoehorn my acquisition into the living room, which necessitated rearranging every piece of furniture in the small house. But it fit.
A practical woman might be sorry about all of this by now. I’m not – practical or sorry. I still think once a piano expert is called in and works on the guts, and a furniture doctor spruces up the outside, and I learn to play something other than “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul” and the two recital pieces I remember, I’ll have the last laugh.
Or I’ll sell the piano to another romantic soul for $1.
Mad for Mid-Century
Tips about picking up great mid-century finds and where to hunt for them in Old Town Bay St. Louis.
- story and photos by Karen Fineran
Clean lines and a streamlined, sleek appearance are the characteristics that define mid-century modern furniture, putting the emphasis on function and utility. With its understated look, less becomes more.
Without intricate lines or cluttered adornments to distract, mid-century modern style furniture tends to be highly practical, serving many different purposes to meet the demands of the modern lifestyle.
Form follows function; many furniture designs nest, bend, stack or fold in order to be used more conveniently. Bold, vibrant colors abound, as do graphic blacks and whites.
Another distinctive feature of MCM furniture is their use of the alternative man-made materials that emerged during World War II. Post-War designers integrated stainless steel, glass, molded plywood, fiberglass, vinyl, and plastics such as Plexiglass, Lucite and Bakelite into the design of their creations. Many MCM designers also used natural woods, but the one that tends to predominate is teak wood, with its warmth and strength.
Popular culture also has helped to bring mid-century modern design into the mainstream. The AMC series Mad Men, which ran from 2007 to 2016, is an obvious cultural influence. The show's reputation for period accuracy extended to the sets, which were specifically designed to reflect East Coast interiors in the 1960s.
MCM collector Amy Irvin moved to Bay St. Louis two years ago from New Orleans, where she had started her first antique business, MCM Furnishings. Irving’s collection of retro furnishings, barware, and accessories can now be found at Identity Vintage, at 131 Main Street in Old Town Bay St. Louis.
Amy has been passionate about vintage fashion and design for more than twenty years, beginning her vintage collecting with costume jewelry, dresses, shoes, and fur coats. Five or six years ago, her collecting focus shifted to mid-century modern furniture. Amy was attracted to the era because of its style, its aesthetic, and its functionality.
Amy became particularly enamored with the sophisticated drinking culture of the 50s and 60s and its beautiful barware – like slender cocktail shakers and geometrically-etched martini and cocktail glasses.
In an age when we have seen the price of some other antique furnishing styles soar, Amy appreciates being able to find more inexpensive pieces. She loves the hunt for the next treasure, a pastime that she can pursue whether she is at home on the Gulf Coast, in New Orleans, or road-tripping about the United States.
It’s easy to find vintage MCM items that fit your budget, Amy explains. All you need is one statement piece to set the tone nicely, and you can build the rest of your room around it. It does not have to be a set, but for best effect, avoid too many patterns and stay within a color range. Sleek and slimmed down furniture in open spaces gives the MCM home a light and airy feel, especially compared to the boxier, darker and heavier furniture styles from other eras.
Suzi Walters, the owner of Identity Vintage, the Main Street vintage store where Amy Irvin’s MCM pieces are found, is also a connoisseur of retro pieces. Many of the vintage hats and accessories in Suzi’s collection are mid-century modern, and she also creates décor items from mid-century fabrics.
Suzi also has a passion for collecting and selling vintage vinyl LP albums (she has accumulated nearly 1,000 classic albums in her stock already), and she carries vintage turntables to play them on. Now, that’s retro mid-century!
The distinctive MCM furniture style combines beauty, innovation, and function. Look for mid-century in other Bay St. Louis antique stores as well: Antique Maison (111 North Second Street), Antique Maison Ulman (317 Ulman Ave.), the French Potager (213 Main Street) and Magnolia Antiques (200 Main Street). Although mid-century isn't the focus of their collections, they often have wonderful MCM items for sale.
Although finding genuine and timeless mid-century modern articles can sometimes be hit or miss, what better reason could one have to frequent Bay St. Louis’ diverse retail shops to enjoy the search. Happy hunting, mid-century enthusiasts!
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