Back To Nature With a New Generation
Award-winning author and syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson discovers a magical trail in the Pass.
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.
Auld Lang Syne - What Does It Even Mean???
One columnist's quest to see why we all sing a ballad at New Year's that no one understands.
- by Martha Whitney Butler
The words in the title roughly translate to “old times’ sake” with a message at the heart of the song telling us to cherish our old friendships and the events of the past year.
The song is brimming with nostalgia, and even though I didn't know the words, the tune and the fellowship that it evoked around me was moving. Some years you can see it have a jubilant effect on a crowd and others you see it wash over everyone like that scene in Forest Gump where Lieutenant Dan is just sitting there staring off into space with confetti streaming all over him.
Every year, this song gets a little quieter because it hasn't thoroughly been instilled in our new generations. I'd put it right up there with cheetahs at these point. It's almost on the endangered species list of songs.
I'm hopeful that Beyoncé will cover it and we'll see its revival, but until now, all we have is you, Shoofly readers. Check over the lyrics and see how you feel.
Don't worry, the words didn't make a lot of sense to me either, but I'm really digging the "cup o' kindess" part. I'll have three of those, please!
I would think most of you don't recognize the full version because the first part is what we traditionally hear when the ball drops in Times Square (thanks, Dick Clark). So let's learn it for this year, sing it at the top of our lungs, and then put on David Bowie's “Changes” as we turn and face the strangeness of 2017.
Artwalk Celebrates Dolly's B-day
A lively and full-bodied Dolly Parton themed Artwalk in January celebrates the iconic queen of country music. Hot Spots: Alice Moseley Museum (128 Depot Way) and Bay Cottages (305 Main Street) are the featured businesses.
- by Grace Birch
In addition to the drag race, special events are happening all over Old Town: pie contests at various shops, flower crowns at French Potager, a community mural at Social Chair, a satellite hair salon in the courtyard of Smith & Lens, childrens art activities with butterfly paintings and more."We run the gambit from drag queens to cloggers for christ - all are welcome here!" said organizer Ann Madden of Smith and Lens art gallery.
Judges are Ann Tunnerman, aka "Mrs. Cocktail" of Tales of the Cocktail festival, Shelly Brown of Brown's Home Furnishing and drag queen Arthur Severio. DJ Bella will be spinning Dolly Hits. Participants of the Dolly contest should arrive early and register at Smith & Lens.
Revers should also look for opportunities to donate to rebuilding efforts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, home of DollyWood that recently suffered devastating fires. "We’re all super sad about that," Maggio said. "We understand what that kind of loss is like and we are totally impressed and amazed at the efforts that Dolly has made to take care of her people. We will have a place for donations to support those efforts."
Last year there was a even Dolly sighting — “Listen, I know we love a half-truth about everything, but I swear there was a Dolly sighting in a blue pick up truck on Second and Main last year at Dolly Should,” Maggio said. Ms. Parton has been known the drop in on events held in her honor. Once, she entered a Dolly drag show competition unannounced - and she lost.
Dolly or not, the Bay is gearing up to see lots of sequin boots, bright red lips and big wigs.
Alice Moseley Folk Art & Antique Museum
Upstairs in the Historic Train Depot
1928 Depot Way #2
Bay St Louis
My paintings don't all look alike, but that's good. - Alice Moseley
In a community of artists and art-lovers, Alice Moseley is Bay St. Louis’ most celebrated creative minds. Proving it’s never too old to reinvent yourself, Moseley began painting in her 60s years old and moved to Bay St. Louis at 80 years old.
“I have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and it’s Bay St. Louis. I am moving there,” Alice told her family. It was 1988 and she had attended the Bay's Beachfront Festival, invited by local gallery owner, Jerry Dixon.
Today visitors to the Bay can visit the Alice Mosley Folk Art and Antique Museum in the Historic Train Depot, just steps from her former home, on Wednesday through Saturday. There's no admission charge.
“One of Miss Alice’s wishes that the museum will be open to any and everyone, despite their economic situation,” said art director Donna Oakley. “There will never be an admission charge to the museum.”
The museum features 50 original works by Alice Moseley. There’s also an American art glass collection with over 300 pieces. Tim Moseley, Alice’s son, who still lives in Bay St. Louis, has a Majolica collection on display. Visitors will also find a selection of American antiques.
“Our collection is always growing,” Oakley said. “Tim has just acquired another piece.”
Oakley is a perfect tour guide and ambassador for the museum, having met Alice Moseley on several occasions.
“She was always quick with the one-liners and loved making people smile,” Oakely said. “Alice was a fantastic story teller both in person and through her artwork. For a small lady, she was a larger than life character.”
The museum, a “must-see” for visitors, is in the same building as the Hancock County Visitors Center in the historic Depot building.
“Everything you need to know about what do see and do in our area is here,” said Myrna Green, Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau Director. “You’ll find train artifacts, a Blues Museum, Mardi Gras Museum, Tourism Offices - the park and duck pond are right here. And of course, the Alice Mosley Museum. It’s the greatest starting point to any trip.”
Green was tickled by a recent comment card she read. “A gentlemen wrote ‘my wife drug me in here…’ and then went on to write about how the museum was most wonderful experience he’s had in Bay St. Louis.” Green said. “He now owns several prints after being taken with the story of Alice Moseley.”
The museum also has keepsakes and souvenirs. Prints of all sizes, DVDs, notecards and postcard mean visitors can bring a little piece of Alice Moseley prints home with them.
“Sales of prints and donations are what keeps the museum going,” said Green.
Bay Cottages, LLC
Ronnie & Sandy Robért
305 Main Street
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Ronnie and Sandy Robért, the owners of Bay Cottages Vacation Rentals at 305 and 305 ½ Main Street, had a dream to provide a place for visitors to “live like a local.”
“We wanted visitors to enjoy the charm of our small town and friendly residents,” Sandy said. “At the end of their stay we wanted it to find it hard to leave.” As residents of Bay St. Louis, Ronnie and Sandy know all that the city has to offer and also wanted to provide encouragement to their guests to want to live here.
The couple has succeeded as many of their past guests now own homes in the area. It has also become a place for snowbirds to reside during the winter months in more pleasant weather.
“We feel fortunate that many of our guests throughout the year are now repeat visitors to our area,” Sandy said.
Bay Cottages Vacation Rentals offer visitors a prime location. The Historic Registered 1920 stucco double is located just steps from the shopping and dining of Old Town’s Main Street. The cottages are relaxing as their names imply: Southern Comfort or Latitude Adjustment.
Beautiful hardwood floors, beaded board walls and ceilings and comfortable furnishings tall provide an atmosphere that feels like home for your vacation choice for a few days, a week or more. The cottages also have a shared front porch or back deck.
“You can choose to sit out front and watch the world go by or take a walk to visit the variety of interesting shops, art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops and music venues within a few short blocks of our cottage,” Sandy said.
The cottage is two blocks from the waterfront and harbor and less than one-half mile from the public beach and fishing pier combined with a walkway/bike path along the beach that goes for miles. Visitors are also within a few minutes’ drive of a world class golf course and casinos.
Both sides offer living rooms, two bedrooms, one and one-half baths, fully equipped eat in kitchens with laundry facilities and off street parking. Bay Cottages is a prime spot for families coming in for weddings, reunions or just to have fun at many of the great festivals throughout the year along the Gulf Coast.
“This is a great place to meet the residents and merchants of Bay St. Louis,” Sandy said. “When you stay at Bay Cottages, it’s easy to see why they call Bay St Louis ‘A Place Apart!’”
The property is managed by Manieri Real Estate and rates and photos can be found here: Latitude Adjustment and Southern Comfort.
The Waveland City Hall Gallery
After years of being a nomadic gallery, The Arts, Hancock County finds a permanent showcase for artists in the new Waveland City Hall.
- by Janet Densmore
The gallery has been housed in various locations through the years, but its establishment in the new Coleman Avenue government center is a homecoming of sorts. Pre-Katrina, local artist and potter Regan Carney and her friend Janet Dudding – who worked at the original Waveland city hall – put the empty walls to good use, showcasing work by members of The Arts, Hancock County.
Post-Katrina, there were no walls of the building remaining. For a time the Gallery was hosted by the Pearl River Community College on Highway 90, known as the Wave Gallery. Local artists showed alongside students under careful coordination by volunteer Joan Coleman.
Later, the Hancock Chamber lent additional wall space in their Court Street office in Bay St. Louis for artists to exhibit. A hanging system and display cases were installed there and at the PRCC, courtesy of post-hurricane recovery funds.
Eventually, these venues changed use or moved. The gallery once again found itself “homeless.” Then Waveland’s Lisa Planchard and Mayor David Garcia agreed that the empty walls at the city’s sleek new government building could use some art. Mayor Garcia pointed out that "ours is an artist's community, and what better place to showcase that community than our public buildings?"
With the support of city officials and the help of volunteer/photographer Joe Tomosovsky, the hanging system was installed at the new location. Marilynn Arseneau, then president of The Arts organization, prevailed upon her husband, Paul, to help move the display cases from the Depot and the PRCC - no light task.
But while the space had all the elements necessary, there was no one to curate or to organize shows.
After retiring from a two-year stint as president of The Arts, Hancock, Marilyn Arseneau, took on the challenge of managing the gallery. Along with assistant gallery director and artist Sandra Bagley, the gallery presented juried art exhibits in the lobby, with opening receptions that including food and music. The guest list became a mailing list. After two years, they handed the baton back to artist Regan Carney, with the help of this writer, Janet Densmore. The adventure had come full circle.
Under Carney’s watch, exhibits began to extend beyond traditional fine arts and photography to fabric artists, jewelry designers, floral designers, etc, Perhaps the most popular exhibit was the show by Dale Pohl's elementary school art students in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade - a riot of happy colors.
Currently, through Thursday, February 2nd, 2017, clay work by gallery founder Regan Carney is showing alongside watercolors by Herb Willey.
In addition to being the impetus behind the original gallery, Regan has been the lynchpin of art activities and an inspiration to Hancock artists for over twenty years, with an enviable record of artistic achievements.
Regan Carney can often be found working in her studio at the Bay Arts Co-op (415 Necaise Ave., Bay St. Louis). When asked about the origin of her art, she said that it went back over 9,000 years.
"In ancient cultures, hollowed-out stones or baskets were used to collect water or grains because that's all they had,” said Carney. “But mice can get to grain stored in baskets. Pottery was probably discovered when a basket got clay on it. At some point the same basket went to a fire and the basket burned and the clay stayed stiff. It could hold water; it would keep out mice. In short, clay pottery became the Neolithic plastic bag."
Regan explained that whether the pottery contained bits of added straw, or stone, whether it was coated with a colored slip, or paddled, or carved or smoked to partially seal the surface is how archeologists were able to identify various cultures.
"Glazes came from the desert sands of the Middle East. Somebody built a campfire on top of an outcropping of salt. The next morning there was a blazing blue color in the ashes. It looked like the sky. God had spoken. They started using low-melting sand. These were the first glazed materials."
Carney is a second-generation artist. Her father, Hal Carney, was a revered portrait artist in New Orleans and taught painting at Tulane and Newcomb. Carney herself holds an art degree from Tulane/Newcomb. She has no problems with the blurring of lines between traditional fine art and fine crafts. Even the simple forms she has created qualify as sculpture.
"Hold this cup," she urged. "How does it feel in your hand? How does it fit? Imagine it filled with hot coffee in the morning? Wrapping your other hand around the cup, it grips easily, you won't likely drop it. It warms you; comforts you. It is made by hand for your hands. See how the handle makes a nice S-curve with an indenture at the top that just fits your thumb so nicely?"
The current exhibit of her work at the Waveland gallery is organized by color and design more than specific function. Pieces in one case share an Eastern influence. Another case is filled with black and white clay pieces, made with the neriage technique.
Neriage (pronounced nare-ee-ahhhj) has no applied pigment . The black comes from black clay and the white from white clay. The trick is to get them layered without falling apart. Neriage developed in Japan around 1900, but Regan has put her own modern stamp on these pieces. She confessed she has to "slam the clay down violently" so that the colors "marry," but don't blend.
"It's all about relationships," she offered with a chuckle.
In yet another case of work, some of the glazes are derived from lapis lazuli - stones Regan often uses in her jewelry design (though not in this show). Regan once lent her jewelry talents to Mignon Faget's studio in New Orleans before settling here on the coast.
Soon after moving here in the mid-90s, she launched what is now the oldest cooperative studio for artists: the Bay Arts Co-op just celebrated its 21st anniversary. Regan was also one of the early founders of The Arts, Hancock County organization,
Award-winning watercolorist, Herb Willey, has been quietly observing and painting people along the Mississippi coast for well over a year. His collected beachfront paintings show along Regan Carney’s works in the current show. Herb is a member of the International Watercolor Society and his work has been shown in far-flung places like Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Herb is approaching the second year of paintings along Beach Blvd. He is not sure when or if he will run out of subject matter because "it's so varied. You couldn't go anywhere in the United States that is this close to a major city, like New Orleans, or Biloxi and find a beach that is so deserted you can still see eagles!"
Herb works from photographs he snaps along the way. "You'll see a painting called 'Multitasking.'" It's a jogger with a baby strapped to his back and he's walking a dog. The guy and the baby are both looking at me. Most of the time they (his subjects) got their attention on their own thing: seagulls, pelicans, Bud Light."
"I want the painting to make people think about what the guy is doing. I like to find humor," he admitted. "Also scenes that make you wonder about exactly what is going on."
Herb likes to write stories about his paintings on the labels too. He tells about a watercolor of a "guy that's carrying one dog and walking another dog. Why is this guy carrying this dog?”
Herb has completed nearly 400 works in the last three years. Yet, Herb confesses that after 25 years of painting, he has only begun to feel comfortable with the path his work has taken now he is able to paint full-time.
Herb majored in Fine Art in college, then quickly went to work as staff artist for the Daily Iberian newspaper. He also studied watercolor with noted artist Harrel Gray for ten years. He showed his paintings at the Old Quarter Gallery near Jackson Square in the French Quarter, having his first show with Gray in the early 1990s.
Yet for most of his career, he worked full-time in advertising, completing one of his own paintings only when time permitted. The pace was slow – one per week and sometimes, one per month. Mostly, he painted French Quarter scenes, "stuff that didn't move, with tourist appeal."
Last year, Herb was only Mississippi watercolorist to show work in the Louisiana International Watercolor Exhibit held at Place St. Charles, New Orleans.
"If you let failure in selling dictate your future in art you are not getting what it's about,” Herb said. “You need to keep exposing your art to people and getting your art out there."
The Waveland City Hall Gallery is open to artists throughout Hancock County. Curated exhibits can be scheduled by contacting Cynthia Mahner at Coast Time Realty (228) 493-2852 or by email: email@example.com.
Best Books of 2016
Local book aficionado Carole McKellar polls other avid readers in the Bay to compile a "best of" list to help you find books you'll enjoy reading - and gifting - in the year ahead.
Some titles I read in 2016 were critically acclaimed, but others I enjoyed were not. Some were current while others were quite old. I read Emma by Jane Austen for the first time to celebrate its 200th anniversary.
I belong to Parnassus Books First Edition Club. Parnassus is a Nashville independent bookstore owned by author Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes. Each month they select an outstanding book signed by a visiting author and mail it to their subscribers. I’ve participated for the past few years, but this was an exceptionally good year for membership. I’ll designate the books that I received from Parnassus.
I keep a journal of all the books I read, and as I look back over the list I am struck by what a banner year this was for African American writers. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates continues to be a best seller after winning the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2015. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Parnassus First Edition) won this year’s award for fiction. I loved the Whitehead book as well as these titles by other African Americans writers I read this year:
The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Parnassus First Edition). This is her first novel, and it is remarkable. It tells the story of two friends from the point of view of the church “mothers.” The girls share the sadness that comes from being motherless. There are secrets and betrayals, but this is not a melodramatic book. It stayed with me long after I finished it.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Parnassus First Edition). I loved Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming, a memoir in verse for young readers, and this book, written for adults, is a lovely read. Again, it’s about childhood friendships and the difficulty of sustaining them into adulthood. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Woodson at the Mississippi Book Festival in August.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Another debut novel by a young woman who was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. Homegoing tells the story of two half-sisters, one sold into slavery while the other remained in Africa.
The Fire This Time, edited by Jessmyn Ward. Ward and young African American writers provided essays, poems, and memoirs offering their perspective on race in 21st-century America. The book is an homage to The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, which I read for the first time although it was first published in 1963. I wrote about these books in my October 2016 Shoofly column.
Other favorite books I read this past year are:
When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams. This is a beautiful, poetic memoir that I wrote about in November 2016.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (Parnassus First Edition). I love every book she writes, and this book is a worth successor to Olive Ketteridge and The Burgess Boys.
My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante. These are the first two of the four Neapolitan novels. These books tell the story of two friends from Naples starting as children in the ’50s and tracing their lives to the present day in late middle age. I look forward to reading the remaining two novels in 2017.
Free Men by Katy Simpson Smith (Parnassus First Edition). Smith is a young woman from Jackson, Mississippi, and she writes historical novels using the most beautiful prose. I read her first book, The Story of Land and Sea twice.
Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Parnassus First Edition). This is the third book in a series that includes Gilead and Home, but you don’t have to read the other two to enjoy this heartbreaking story of love and redemption.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. It’s hard to say what I liked so much about an odd but appealing young woman who tells of training a hawk. It’s much more than a bird book, however, as Macdonald grieves the loss of her father, who taught her to view the world with wonder.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Parnassus First Edition). The gentleman in question is a Russian nobleman who is sentenced to life within the Metropole Hotel for the crime of being an aristocrat. Count Rostov makes a life in confinement and thrives due to his intellect, curiosity, and kindness. This book was so convincing that I did research to find out if the count was real.
Hold Still by Sally Mann. Subtitled A Memoir with Photographs, this book tells of the remarkable life and career of Mann.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I read this book in one day because I couldn’t put it down. It tells the story of two broken marriages and the damage done to the children.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is the founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative whose works won “reversals, relief or release for over 115 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row.” I wish everyone would read this book. Stevenson’s fascinating TED talk is available online.
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (Parnassus First Edition). This novel describes the struggles of a family dealing with mental illness.
The Dream Life of Astronauts: Stories by Patrick Ryan (Parnassus First Edition). These stories are all set around Cape Canaveral, but they are about much more than outer space.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This hefty book tells a tragic story, but it was so good. I read it on a trip and felt travel time breeze by.
I asked my Bay Book Group to list some of their favorite books of the year. Here are some picks of the members who responded:
Allison Anderson, BSL Architect
Allison loved the following books and gave them 5 stars:
Before I Fall by Noah Hawley
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers
The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
A Burglar’s Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh
Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott
The Girls by Emma Cline
A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks
Cindy Williams, Bay High School Librarian
Honeydew by Edith Pearlman.
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Young Adult novel)
Jenny Bell, AdLib Communications owner
Stitches by Anne Lamott. Although the book came out in 2013, Jenny wrote, “I reread it this year and found it very timely, at least for me.”
Ann Weaver, NOAA Coastal Services Center Facilitator/Trainer
When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams (who reminds me that one person can make a difference)
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit (reminds me of the importance of being alone outside)
Dita McCarthy, Attorney
Euphoria by Lily King. Said Dita, “I was pleased to learn more about an anthropologist character based on Margaret Mead. I particularly enjoyed the way it offered a look back at a school of anthropological thought that was considered progressive and groundbreaking at the time, and now, from our perspective, seems quaint. I also liked the way the author treated the inherent problems with such anthropological studies of remote tribes. By inserting themselves into the tribes, both out of a thirst for knowledge and also greed and desire for fame, they are indeed affecting the tribe.”
The New York Times 10 Best Book of 2016 Fiction
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
The North Water by Ian McGuire
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, translated by David McKay
At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar
The Washington Post 10 Best Books of 2016 Fiction
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
The Trespasser by Tana French
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar
Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That
Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War by Ben Macintyre
Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich
I look forward to 2017, which promises to be another good year for readers. I have a stack of books on my nightstand that includes Moonglow by Michael Chabon, LaRose by Louise Erdrich, The Trespasser by Tana French, and The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen.
George Saunders’s first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, will be released in February, and I can’t wait. Swing Time by Zadie Smith and News of the World by Paulette Jiles are on my list of must-reads. I hope some of the books mentioned above spark your interest and lead you to the bookstore or library.
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke gives us a year-end round-up on city projects and progress, as well as a sneak-peak into what's ahead in 2017.
I do not know if ground will be broken by 2018, but rest assured that the project is diligently being worked on. In addition, Waveland will begin planning additional pedestrian modes of transportation throughout Waveland.
Waveland is expecting the final plans for the Waveland lighthouse and comfort station before the spring. The lighthouse project is one that has been talked about for way too long, but it very close to seeing physical progress.
Waveland has a large portion of the money needed for the project set aside in our Tidelands Trust Fund and recently received $300,000 of GOMESA funding from the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. I’m anticipating construction of the lighthouse and comfort station to begin before the end of 2017.
The most significant task that Waveland will be undertaking during 2017 will be a number of sewage improvement projects throughout Waveland. During this past year, Waveland secured monies from MDEQ’s State Revolving Fund in order to start the process of addressing problems in our sewage system.
A few projects that Waveland will address with this sewage system is increasing the capacity of the Gladstone Street lift station and lining pipes to decrease infiltration into the system. All of these projects are needed to protect our environment and decrease the amount of wastewater Waveland is treating.
This month, several board members and I will be going to up Jackson to speak with lawmakers to request funding for various waterfront projects and discuss a number of other issues that affect Waveland.
One of the positive notes of 2016 was the amount of quality building that is taking place in Waveland. The Waveland Building Department issued permits for over $8 million of construction projects in 2017. Of the $8 million worth of construction, 23 were new residential home projects.
I look forward to 2017 as a great opportunity for Waveland. Let's make it happen! Come on 2017!
McComb, Misssissippi is only a two-hour drive from the coast, the perfect day-trip for train buffs, or fans of Southern cooking, or blues lovers or outdoor enthusiasts. There's more than you might expect.
- story and photos by Karen Fineran, additional photos courtesy McComb Chamber of Commerce and the Dinner Bell.
La Terre Integral Center
Deep ecology workshops, vision quests, and art classes in the forests of Hancock County: Meet James and Peggy Inabinet.
- story and photos by Ana Balka
For the past three years James and Peggy Inabinet have hosted Walk in the Woods, a holiday sale event featuring a handful of local artists and pieces of their work for sale, as well as demonstrations in various arts like pottery, weaving, and handspinning.
So one Saturday afternoon early in December a friend and I made our way to Dedeaux, northeast of the Kiln. The driveway is in thick trees, and at a fork a sign bears a quote from Henry Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” Either direction leads to the Inabinet home, otherwise known as La Terre Integral Center, in the woods of Bayou La Terre.
Nine artists including the Inabinets (James, woven items, and Peggy, painting and clay) displayed work under a carport. A raised wooden sidewalk led to a house tucked in the trees. Several outbuildings peeked out from the forest, and paths invited exploration.
That day when I met and began talking with the Inabinets, I realized La Terre is much more than a great studio space and a home where the couple raised two now-grown daughters (one of whom, Danielle Inabinet Runnels, also had work for sale at Walk in the Woods).
I talked the most with James Inabinet that day. He is above all passionate about nature, about science, about being human, and about the ability of humans to create “more naturally integrated human niches,” living in better alignment with our human potential, having more respect for the aliveness of nature, and taking better care of the environment.
A big, animated guy, Inabinet is a study in enthusiasm. He uses his hands to talk and his eyes widen when he says that nature is attempting as humans do to individuate — to self realize. Humans are but one thread in nature’s web, he says, our humanness in tandem with the is-ness of all things. Squirrels, rocks, trees — each creates its own niche within the milieu, or social environment, of the whole.
Inabinet holds a Master of Arts in Earth Literacy from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana, and a PhD in Philosophy and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He says that before he went for his master’s and his doctorate, he was a geologist and worked in the oil and gas industry; he also said that being laid off was one of the best things that ever happened to him.
Now he teaches a science program to young students in schools throughout Mississippi and Louisiana, and gives workshops in deep ecology and facilitates vision quest retreats at the Integral Center. The 39th vision quest since 1989 will take place January 4–8, 2017.
Peggy Inabinet holds art classes for young people and adults in a new studio space onsite. After teaching art in public schools for over a decade, she now focuses on deepening her own art practice — works in clay, and watercolor paintings — as well as teaching at La Terre Center. She plans to schedule drawing and painting classes this spring. More information will soon be available at the La Terre website, and a website under construction will soon showcase her own work.
Around the time the Inabinets bought and then built (they built the house and outbuildings themselves) on the Bayou La Terre property in 1990, James started a series of earth literacy workshops for 5th–9th grade students at public schools in Mississippi and Louisiana. This was not long after he’d been laid off from his oil-industry job, and he sought to pass to the students his knowledge of ways people can mitigate human ecological impact on the planet.
He continues teaching science courses in several area schools, encouraging students to look at their surroundings in new ways. “Now, my work is ‘what is home’: If we start thinking that the woods and the forests and the bayous and the oceans are home, we think about it differently.”
Deep ecology workshops fall under the umbrella of La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology, a joint project between Inabinet and John Clark, professor emeritus at Loyola University and author of several books on ecology and workers’ rights, and who owns and utilizes adjacent property. The La Terre Institute’s aim is to bring together a growing group of people interested in improving community and working practically on ecological concerns.
Clark leads workshops and programs at the La Terre property and in New Orleans; Inabinet also plans a series of workshops with the Institute this spring. Workshops cover a range of topics, with recent titles including “Exploring the Way and Its Power: Reading and Reflecting on the Daodejing,” and “The Practice of the Wild: Reading and Reflecting on Gary Snyder’s Nature Writing.” (See here for more on past workshops; updated website under construction.)
At home on Bayou La Terre, Inabinet seeks to deepen his knowledge of human connection to the environment — the place that individuals hold within the ecosystem itself. He helps others to find that connection to the land and to explore their own human-ness with the vision quest workshops.
In indigenous societies, Dr. Inabinet explains in workshop literature, vision quest “was enacted as a self-defining experience, a rite of passage that initiated and propelled a life-long journey along a path to articulate and become that person one already is.”
The wooded site, bordered as it is by the winding water of Bayou La Terre, provides a natural setting with separation from external, mundane influences and facilitates the “discernment and development of relationships between . . . self and world,” helping participants to turn the gaze within and develop a deeper awareness of individual potential and a heart-guided path.
Tate Thriffily, an ecologist with the De Soto National Forest, did his first vision quest at La Terre at age 16 in 1991, took a couple more later in the ’90s, and served as an assisting staff member several times in more recent years. While he was interested in the natural world before his first vision quest, he knows that new perspectives he gained on natural systems from vision quests impacted his life’s path.
“Looking back now I can see it was a beginning of a journey that was going to last the rest of my life,” Thriffily says. “I learned to trust feelings and intuition rather than letting someone else tell me what to do or be. It helped me to let go of things, and to better accept and adapt to change. It helped me to relax into moments enough to be present to myself.
“When the mental chatter winds down it opens a lot of space, and when that space is open you never know what you might find.” Tate pauses, his careful approach to speaking evident as it has been throughout our conversation. “I got a glimpse into who I might actually be. I’m still learning.”
Vision quest retreats can accommodate up to eight participants. For the upcoming retreat, participants will arrive at La Terre on January 4th and begin by constructing individual shelters with building supplies the center provides. (Participants receive an equipment list with more specifics for the whole retreat upon registration.)
All meals are provided and eaten together as a group; the retreat culminates with a 40–hour fast and a nightlong vision quest that each participant spends in (supervised) solitude in the woods.
The center’s very name, La Terre, means “the earth.” People seeking fuller understanding of the human experience within nature, a deeper understanding of philosophies and myths around the earthly experience, and collaboration with nature while striving to express one’s humanity can gain tools here to forge a more meaningful path forward.
To contact James Inabinet about January’s vision quest or future vision quests at La Terre Integral Center, email firstname.lastname@example.org. See also the La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology’s public group on Facebook for more on that organization and its upcoming workshops.
A New Closet For a New Year
Give your closet a fresh start in 2017 - fashion consultant Greg Matusoff makes it easy to wind up with only the clothes you love!
I have friends that keep items in their closets as "motivators" to lose weight, get in shape, and tone down a size. But what happens most of the time is that these items have more of a shaming effect, and inevitably do the exact opposite of making people feel good about themselves.
Now I'm not saying to abandon the gym or use this as a sign to mark off "get in shape" as part of your New Year's resolution, but what I am encouraging you to do is embrace who you are right now.
An added bonus is that you will rediscover everything that you have. I guarantee you that you'll find articles that you forgot you had and still have their tags on them. It's my hope that through reading this the past few months, you might be inspired to try something you haven't before. And there's no better place to start than with what you already have!
So let's get to the closet!
Let's begin by pulling everything out. If this is a daunting task in its own right, start with a section, say jeans or shirts or sweaters. Get every item of that kind out and in a pile it on the bed. Look like a huge mess? Great! You're doing it right!
Let's start with our favorites — you see them instantly — the jeans that fit just right or the go-to blouse for meeting a client. We both know you're keeping them, so put them on the hanger and back into the closet.
Once you have your favorites rehung, then pick up one piece at a time and try it on. Look good? Like the way it fits? Have you worn it in the last six months? If yes to all three questions, it's a keeper. If no, then you have a decision to make. Keep it and put it somewhere outside of the closet or place it in the donation or resale pile.
Why keep some items that don't pass the test? These might be those "motivators" and perhaps you will keep your promise to yourself and lose those last ten pounds. If so, great! The skinny jeans are in the attic. If not, no problem, you are perfect as-is; those jeans can stay out of sight until you're ready to part ways.
And what to do with the rejects? There are some great consignment shops, resale shops, and places that gladly accept your donations. For your business clothes, there's Dress for Success that provides outfits for people interviewing for a job. For everything else, my personal local favorite is the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport. The proceeds from their resale shop goes to operating costs of the shelter.
If you are able to get only the wearable items back into the closet, it'll feel so much better as it's clean, organized, there's some extra room, and only items that fit are in there. How to keep it this way?
1. Have a donation bag that's tucked in the corner of your closet. When I try something on and it doesn't look right, it goes back on the hanger. The third time this happens, it then goes into the bag. And once the bag is full, it goes out for resale/donation.
2. Keep an item in/item out rule. Every time you go shopping and come home with a new shirt, an old one gets the boot. This is great for the impulsive shopper!
Giving yourself a new closet with items that you love is really a gift to yourself. And in the end, we should all feel good about our own personal expression and live an inspired life.
Email Greg with thoughts and questions! Also, if you'd like to be considered for a fashion makeover from your own closet in a future issue of the Shoofly!
A Legacy of Joy
The Krewe of Nereids celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017 and membership for some has become a treasured family tradition.
- story by Rebecca Orfila, photos by Ellis Anderson, Ana Balka and courtesy of Nereids
The krewe has 134 members; 101 are casting members who participate in the ball and parade. Of the 134 members, the krewe has 50 members who are legacy members. The genealogy of families with generations of membership is complicated, but altogether fun.
Several legacy members said that while it is an honor to be named queen, it's even better is to see one’s own children, grandchildren, sisters, and nieces join and participate in the traditions of the Krewe of Nereids.
One example of family heritage in Nereids is the Ladner/Turcotte/Roche family, represented by 19 members. Four generations have served in a variety of roles at the annual ball including pages, maids, and queens.
One member explained, “Most of the children are involved as they are growing up. Whether it is dancing in the balls, helping their moms with beads, floats, whatever is needed. So becoming a member is just the next natural step.”
In some social organizations, legacies (aka female family members) are given preference for membership. The Krewe of Nereids’ approach is different: applicants with family members in the krewe are reviewed for membership without favoritism.
A requirement for membership is for the woman to be 21 years old or older. Despite the age limit for membership, young people (children and grandchildren) can serve as pages.
The Krewe of Nereids is a multicultural, multi-faith organization. It's not a secret how to become a member of the Krewe of Nereids. First, you complete an application, which you can get from a member of the krewe or from the website and have three members verify that you would be a good member. The krewe board will meet to approve or disapprove the request and vote whether to accept or not.
Heritage is not limited to the women and girls of this all-female krewe. According to many members, “We could not do it all without the men.” Husbands, sons, cousins, and grandsons participate by preparing floats, participating in the parades, and attending the lavish balls. They also serve as pages, dukes, and kings for the ball and parade. The king is selected by the captain.
Several members spoke of the exhilarating nature of parading: waving at the crowd, throwing beads, singing to the music and, altogether, enjoying the experience!
“The parade is exciting," said one Nereid. "[I would] never miss the parade. I would have to be dying!”
Past Nereids parades, photos by Ana Balka and Ellis Anderson
Each year during the parade, float riders throw signature beads, cups, and doubloons. Other throws include cups, posters, doubloons, and koosies related to the theme of the year. Stuffed animals and toys are also tossed out to a delighted crowd. Since 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Krewe of Nereids, members are working on a special throw to celebrate that milestone.
February is the apex of activities for the Krewe of Nereids: the 50th annual ball will be held on Saturday, February 4, and the krewe will parade on Sunday, February 19 at noon.
For additional information on the parade route or to purchase tickets to the ball, the tableau, or after-party, go to the Krewe of Nereids website. With the hard work of the krewe members and their families, both the 50th anniversary parade and ball will be magic!
Thirty Wines For Thirty Years
Wine connoisseur Anna Speers celebrates her upcoming birthday with 30 of her favorite wines. Many are available locally and they're categoried as Steals (around $10), Deals ($15 range) and Splurges($20 - $40 range)!
No, my friends, this month we are celebrating with a list of 30 of my favorite wines from over the last 30 (ok fine, nine) years. Ten steals, ten deals, ten splurges; all wines that I have personally bought and enjoyed repeatedly.
A disclaimer before we proceed: Most of these wines can be found locally. Some are available at larger wine retailers around our area; others will require a trip into New Orleans to find. Normally I would not do this, but it's my birthday and these wines are delicious and you will thank me for it later.
For easy reference, I've starred the ones that might be tricky. Whites come before reds, and the list in each category progresses from sweetest to driest.
($20 - $40 range)
You may have noticed that there is a slight prevalence of Washington state wines on this list. For that, I make no apologies. My home state is cranking out some exceptional wines and we Mississippians deserve to seek out those treasures.
As for our own local vineyards, I would encourage y'all to check out Pontchatrain Vineyards Zinfandel. Our southern clime is not necessarily the best for producing much more than muscadine wine, but this locally-grown-and-bottled Zinfandel is a solid offering, considering our climate and soils.
Welcome to 2017, my fellow bacchanals. Let's do this right. Here's to the next 30 years!
Zone Meals To Go
295 Suite 13 Highway 90
Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi
A new concept in low-carb carry-out could help busy locals keep their resolutions to eat healthy and stay in shape.
- by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
All of the food is low-carb, based on the Zone Diet created by Dr. Barry Sears with the goal of balancing fat, carbs, and proteins as a way of maintaining insulin levels. Martin followed the diet herself to improve her eating habits, but after tiring of the same old meals she “got creative to make food taste good.” One big accomplishment after many attempts was to learn how to make a tasty low-carb bread.
“And here we are,” she said from inside her new location at Zone Meals To Go Low Carb Bakery & More. The decor was the handiwork of Martin’s 17-year-old daughter, Jasmine.
The meals range from 1,200 to 2,000 calories a day so they can help with weight loss and are considered diabetic-friendly, she said.
Customers who sign up for a six-day meal plan receive breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks and dessert each day. The meals are prepared and packaged individually for pick up or delivery twice a week.
At the new location Martin is able to respond to growing customer demand for healthy grab-and-go meals, baked goods, breads, salads and hot and cold drinks.
The meals change every three days to keep things fresh and interesting, Martin said. And customers can come in and enjoy fresh-brewed Coast Roast Coffee and hot tea, a cinnamon roll, or a meal at the cozy tables.
On a recent menu, breakfast was apple crisp, lunch included protein-packed parmesan chicken bites, dinner featured Salisbury steak with mashed “potatoes” (actually cauliflower), and desserts included a satisfying but not-too-sweet Nutter Butter parfait, and bread pudding with caramel sauce.
Customer Nancy Sorak was in to pick up her second order. She said she likes the size of the servings because cooking small portions can get complicated. “So this is great,” she said.
A Chain Reaction
A new bike club in Bay St. Louis is lighting up the coast nights! Meet the founder of Bay Bikers and find out how you can join them on Friday night rides.
- by LB Kovac, photos/video by Ellis Anderson
With that many cyclists, big things are possible. And local Karen Angelo has big plans for her new adult social cycling club, the Bay Bikers.
Every Friday evening at 6:30 p.m., she and other area cyclists meet at 112 Court Street in Bay St. Louis, directly in front of the Daiquiri Shak. After a brief introduction, the cyclists leave Daiquiri Shak and go on one of three routes Angelo has mapped in the neighborhood.
“When the weather is good, we do everything,” she said.
Angelo, who lives Waveland, originally came up with the idea for Bay Bikers as a way to get to know people outside of her neighborhood. “I wanted to meet people in the community . . . and have a happy affair.”
“Everybody rides their bike in Bay Saint Louis,” says Angelo. Since October, she has been growing her group, and what started as a small collection of friends has now includes 30 or more riders every Friday night.
Angelo leads cyclists down one of many roads in the greater Bay Saint Louis area. Depending on the weather, Angelo says they might take a leisurely ride by bay or check out one of the community new restaurants or bars. There are lots of opportunities to explore even in a familiar place like your hometown.
The ride always ends at someplace “social.” Bars are always a good option — hence Angelo’s “adults only” policy — but Angelo maintains that the most important part of the ride is to learn something new about the community.
Her daughter started a similar club in Gretna, Angelo reports, called EZ Riders of Gretna. EZ Riders started with 19 members, but a recent meeting had a turnout of more than 300 riders.
With that many people, big things are possible. EZ Riders recently did a charitable ride for a member with a cancer diagnosis. Over 200 cyclists attended, each donating $10 for the ride, and the proceeds provided a significant contribution to the member’s care.
Many clubs are using their cyclers for social change. Bikes Not Bombs, a Boston-based cycling club, raises money to support environmental causes. Riders in their annual bike-a-thon use creative means to find sponsors for their race, with the proceeds going to domestic and international charitable organizations and empowering community members to address local social and environmental issues.
Angelo hopes to do community-driven projects in the future. A recent can drive by members of Bay Bikers helped needy families in the area have a richer Thanksgiving celebration. They also supported local Veterans during the recent Veterans’ Day celebrations.
Angelo says that the club is “purely social,” with cyclists from “aspects of Bay Saint Louis welcome.” Angelo reports that, “We’re not out to compete. We’re just out to have a good time.”
Angelo says that the Bay Bikers are being accepted with open arms into the community. She reveals that “people wave” as they make their nightly rounds. And the colorful lights affixed to their wheels make them highly visible.
The club might be small now, but Angelo hopes that one day all of the Bay Bikers will light up the night.
If you’re in the Bay Saint Louis area and wish to join the Bay Bikers, look at the Bay Bikers Facebook page or email Karen Angelo directly at email@example.com.