Second Saturday Artwalk - February 11th
- by Grace Birch, photos by Grace Birch and Martha Whitney Butler
Over the past twenty years, the monthly artwalk has become one of the most popular events in the region. Old Town stays lively all day, with many merchants and restaurants offering specials. The pace picks up from 4 – 8pm, when gallery openings and live music keep the streets humming with activity.
Make sure to visit Hot Spot businesses Cuz's Seafood Restaurant (108 S. Beach Blvd) and The French Potager (213 Main Street)!
Second Saturday column
Cuz's Seafood Restaurant
108 South Beach Blvd.
Bay St. Louis
Chances are a walk along Beach Boulevard in Bay St Louis, and a whiff of these will pull you in to Cuz’s Old Town Oyster Bar & Grill.
Cuz and Christy Barnes, who have operated Cuz’s since 2004, have recently moved their beloved boiled seafood restaurant to the center of the action along the Bay’s Beach Boulevard into the bottom floor of the French Settlement building.
The Barnes’ have also handed the keys over to their daughter Ramie, who is often at the front of the restaurant with a smile or hopping from table to table making sure customers are enjoying themselves.
“We love crawfish, we love fresh seafood and we have things to offer on the beach that no one else has,” Ramie Barnes said. “The food at Cuz’s is something different.”
Cuz’s has long been a mecca for locals, but now tourists are walking through the doors in droves. On a recent visit, an out-of-town couple was bellied up to the bar ordering hot boiled crawfish for the second day in a row.
“We see a lot of locals and a lot of return visitors, especially during the crawfish season,” Barnes said. “It’s always good to see people return time and time again.”
“We’ve always been known for fresh fried and boiled seafood,” Barnes said. “Now we are also offering lots of grilled items, which we’ve never offered before.”
“Our new smoked redfish and smoked tuna dip appetizers are very popular,” Barnes said. “We smoke the fish here are the restaurant.”
Cuz’s daiquiri machines are whirring year round — margaritas and bushwhackers often are the staples, but the bar is trying out new seasonal drinks, as well.
“Our eggnog daiquiri was such a hit, we decided to try a frozen King Cake daiquiri, which has several different types rum and Bailey’s Irish Cream,” Barnes said.
The purple drink comes in a hurricane glass rimmed with yellow, purple and green sugar and tastes just like a traditional King Cake.
Cuz’s also offers gourmet Pop Brother’s Popsicles for something sweet the whole family can enjoy.
Locals and tourists alike will enjoy Taco Tuesday, which features $3 shrimp or fish tacos and $3 margaritas.
Whether it’s a craving for boiled seafood, one of Cuz’s famous po-boys or you are looking to honor a healthy New Year’s resolution with something grilled, Cuz’s won’t disappoint. Just follow your nose down Beach Boulevard.
The French Potager
213 Main Street
Bay St. Louis
The first time I overheard this statement, I couldn’t believe my ears, but there’s a reason I’ve heard this several times now from several different potential brides.
When you see the floral arrangements and antiques at The French Potager on Main Street, you can’t believe your eyes.
Martha Whitney Butler grew up with a passion for flowers and antiques. French Potager was the name of her parents’ antiques business in Alabama, but Butler has made her Main Street business completely on her own.
“My parents’ hobby has turned into my livelihood,” Butler said.
The floral inspiration comes by Butler’s mother as well – every Sunday for years, she’s arranged the flowers for her church’s Sunday services.
“She would have the florist come over to the house every Christmas and decorate the house,” Butler said. “She also has an incredible rose garden.”
Butler grew up going to Europe on antique buying trips with her mother, mostly to France.
“My mom would drag me out at 6am in Paris to go to antique street markets,” Whitney said. “We would just bring a couple of outfits or old clothes that we would wear and throw away so we’d have plenty of room in our suitcases.”
Her childhood weekends were spent going to antique auctions where she would bid on things as a young child. Butler ran her first antique booth at 16 years old, which means she’s been an antique dealer half of her life.
Butler has nine vendors in her shop, with treasures from all over, which means new items are coming through the door every day.
On her recent Mexican honeymoon, Butler brought back lots of items that evoked the spirit of Frida Kahlo. She has a few big trips to Europe on the horizon to Europe where she’ll be attending floral workshops and looking for finds to bring back to the Bay.
There are no coolers or freezers at The French Potager, which means all the blooms are out for all to admire and smell, and the flowers are fresh.
The French Potager does a “Blooms for Business” service where they deliver fresh flowers to local businesses every Thursday. She also makes unique arrangements, like roses tucked in beautiful gift boxes, for special occasions - like this month’s Valentine’s Day.
Planning a romantic dinner in town? The French Potager can deliver flowers to the restaurant to make the table setting extra special.
“In addition to our antiques, accessories and home goods, we are a full-service florist,” Butler said. “The best part about being a florist is that we are a part of everything in people’s life — when they are born, when they get married, when they die - we are there. It’s a very fulfilling career.”