Second Saturday Souper Mudfest
- story by Grace Birch, photos by Ellis Anderson
The “Souper Mudfest Second Saturday Artwalk" - one of the most popular events of the year in Bay St. Louis - will take place March 11th, rain or shine.
Bowls will be sold on the green space at Main and Second Street beginning at 3:30pm. A wristband will be given to all who purchase the official bowls.
Bowls have been handcrafted by more than a dozen local potters and sell for $20 each. Bowl-buyers are provided with a list of local merchants where they’ll be able to sample gourmet soups throughout the evening - for free! Just show your wristband and hold out your bowl.
As usual, two Hot Spot businesses will be featured: 200 North Beach and The Arts, Hancock County. Read more about them below!
The Second Saturday column
200 North Beach
Bay St Louis, MS 39520
200 North Beach was built in 1903 to house the Sea Coast Echo newspaper. Today, it’s still a source of what’s going on around town as you can hear locals at the bar talking about the latest news and Ann Tidwell herself visiting tables in the dining room, catching up with her patrons.
For many years before Hurricane Katrina, the building housed The Old Coffee Pot at CB’s Coffee House. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Tidwell and her family restored the structure, reclaiming original beaded boards and exposing massive wooden beams.
“We also tracked down the Birds of Paradise design of the wrought iron work that was on the balcony and continued that downstairs,” Tidwell said.
Today, 200 North Beach is a little slice of New Orleans, both in style and taste. The building looks as if it could have been plucked from the French Quarter and the menu features favorites like blacked redfish, soft-shelled crabs, seafood gumbo and oysters any way you can dream them: raw, charbroiled, Rockefeller and more.
In addition to New Orleans fare, Tidwell brings a bit of her country-style cooking, like Fried Green Tomatoes and Ms. Ann’s Pecan Pie to the table.
“I had run the Bay Town Inn before 200 North Beach, but never a restaurant, so I let the chefs take the lead on the menu,” Tidwell said. “The only thing I ever served was breakfast: Bacon and eggs, homemade biscuits, pancakes and homemade jellies — a lady from Picayune would help me with. I’m from Tennessee, so it was more country-style.”
Ms. Ann’s Pecan Pie is a recipe from Tidwell herself.
“Anytime in Tennessee I was supposed to make a dish, they always requested my pecan pie,” she said. “I must have made that pecan pie a hundred times. One time I made it at the restaurant and they requested a recipe to put it on the menu.”
Tidwell said, more than anything, she really enjoys the hostessing.
“I’ve made a lot of really great friends,” she said. “I love the hometown aspect of Bay St. Louis.”
Her family discovered Bay St. Louis after her husband got a job on the Coast. Her daughter, Vicki Niolet, who runs the Bay Emporium, decided to stay in the Bay and even after Tidwell returned to Tennessee she would visit her daughter often.
“We would always be bringing antiques to put in Vicki’s shop,” Tidwell said. “One day we were driving by a historic house and really, I was crazy because it was falling down, but I got it for a steal of a deal and I’ve been living on the beach ever since.”
Tidwell renovated that first house and turned it into one of the top bed and breakfasts on the Gulf Coast. She sold the Bay Town Inn to Nikki Moon before the storm, but still enjoys the view from the beach - both from the balcony of 200 North Beach and from the front porch of her home in the 600 block of Beach Boulevard.
“This is my little part of heaven,” said Tidwell. “Most of the time I’m in my glassed in porch enjoying the view. I haven’t been able to go junkin’ and antiquing because of my knees — so lately when I’m not at the restaurant I’ve just been at home going through my own antiques.”
Tidwell is enjoying life and slowing down a bit. She celebrated 80 years recently and invited her friends to come over to her beachfront house.
“I told everybody for my birthday my present is their presence because my shelves are full,” she smiled. “Just them showing up was a gift.”
The Arts, Hancock County
Presenting Arts Alive on March 18
Celebrating Art, Engaging Communities, Enriching Lives
The Arts, Hancock County is an organization dedicated to promoting art in everyday life in Hancock County. Boasting over 200 members, the organization hosts art shows, classes, events and more. Their members include visual artists, writers, sculptors, musicians, designers, culinary artists, and performing artists and membership is open to ALL artists.
This month they will host the fourth annual ArtsAlive on Saturday, March 18.
"Arts Alive began in 2004 as a studio tour,” said president Martha Whitney Butler. “But now we are bringing the studio to you."
In the past few years, ArtsAlive! has undergone an extreme makeover, emerging as an arts festival that transforms Old Town Bay St. Louis into one giant art studio as dozens of artists set up demonstrations and display booths in front of small businesses and green spaces downtown.
“Thanks to our partners and sponsors, we’re engaging communities by encouraging the next generation of artists,” said Butler. “We’ve added exciting contests with cash prizes – for writers, singer-songwriters and amateur chefs.”
Arts lovers will be able to meet and greet artists, purchase their work and cheer on their favorite creative talents as they compete.
On Saturday, an all-day Artists Showcase features dozens of regional artists showing, selling and demonstrating their art at various Old Town Host locations.
“The key factor of ArtsAlive is that artists demonstrate the process of their artwork,” said Butler. “The best way to appreciate an artist is to watch them make their creations."
Exhibitions by student and professional artists will also be on display with lots of opportunities for artists of all varieties to win cash awards.
“This year, we've added aShort Film Showcase which will follow the Singer/Songwriter finale and feature short films by local filmmakers,” Butler said. “There’s also the new Lazy Magnolia Pottery Village, Serious Salsa Culinary Contest sponsored by Serious Bread, the Shoofly Flash Fiction Contest and more.”
The walkable aspect of Old Town Bay St. Louis offers easy access to galleries, shops, and restaurants with a hassle-free parking garage (122 ½ Court Street).
“Bay St. Louis is the perfect location for an event like ArtsAlive, working hand-in-hand with the businesses of Old Town we are facilitating our creative economy,” said Butler.
“We want to show off our artists, we live in an artist community. It's what makes the Bay so unique and these artists are some of our favorite characters.”