This New Orleans-based Country/Rockabilly band that will be performing in Bay St. Louis on March 10th defies all stereotypes.
- Story by Pat Murphy
Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue will be performing at the 100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis on Sunday, March 10, from noon - 4pm. Advance tickets are only $15 ($20 at the door). Buy yours online now.
This music would encompass the likes of Webb Pearce, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and George Jones. My Dad's family were rural farm people, and when I was a child he would sing me to sleep at night with old Jimmy Rogers songs.
Several months after hearing about Gal Holiday's performance at Jazz Fest, a number of us made a road trip to Ruby's Roadhouse in Mandeville to see the band perform live. Anyone who isn't familiar with Ruby's should know that it is a roadhouse in every sense of the word. That night at Ruby's I discovered that Gal Holiday was much more than Patsy Cline and that this band could rip through old honky tonk country and rockabilly music with the best of them.
About nine months ago I saw Gal Holiday (real name Vanessa Niemann) when the band performed for an open air concert series sponsored by the Pass Christian library. Though I wouldn't have thought it possible, the band was even more diverse at this event, performing a broad range of tunes from John Prine and Johnny Cash to Leona Williams.
I was extremely excited to learn that the band would be bringing its diverse brand of self-described "punkabilly music" to Bay St. Louis's historic 100 Men D.B.A. Hall on Sunday, March 10, at 1pm for a live performance. Tickets are $20.00 at the door.
The band was founded in 2004 by Vanessa Niemann, and their popularity has steadily grown with regular performances at clubs, roadhouses and concerts in the New Orleans area. The band is regularly featured at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. They continue to perform and tour both in the U.S. and abroad in Europe.
The Honky Tonk Revue is comprised of talented, seasoned musicians armed with powerful songwriting capabilities. The musicians who make up the band are as follows:
Vanessa "Gal Holiday" Niemann handles the job of bandleader and primary vocalist. She arrived in New Orleans in 1999 from the Maryland area and put this band together five years later.
Justin LeCuyer handles acoustic rhythm guitar and vocals for the group. He came to New Orleans in 2012 to explore the music scene and has been there ever since.
Corey McGillivary is the group's very talented Acoustic upright bass player, and she also sings background vocals.
The lead guitarist for The Honky Tonk Revue is Jimbo Mathus, who I really like because of his ability to play in that single picking country and rockabilly twang style of guitar.
Tony Frickey plays drums for the band and does a really great job.
When Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue roll into the 100 Men Hall, you can expect an afternoon of great old-style country music in the vein of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Leona Williams and Webb Pearce. Also look for a generous helping of the band's original material showcasing their individual songwriting talents. Armed with this kind of versatility, they put on a show that I promise you won't forget.
Their latest CD is entitled "Lost & Found." The band's performances never grow old and continue to delight everyone, from rowdy roadhouse two- steppers to new country music listeners as well.
While the music of New Orleans is most often thought of in terms of funk and jazz, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue continue to prove that the Crescent City always celebrates its musical diversity with a lot enthusiasm. Country music is alive and well, and you'll know it when you experience this band. I hope to see you at the show.
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke reports on the upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade and the city's new appointments.
The parade will include the regionally famous Krewe of Shamrockers, The Queens, and the Raw Oyster Marching Club.
The parade will start on Waveland Avenue, travel down Central Avenue, turn right onto Coleman Avenue, right on Beach Boulevard, then disband at Waveland Avenue. The Waveland Police Department decided this route is logistically the best route for the parade. Hope to see everyone lined up on the route ready to catch beads, cups, and, of course, cabbage!
In February, Waveland approved the appointment of former Lt. Phillip Pavolini to assistant police chief and Mickey Lagasse as city clerk.
Assistant Chief Phillip Pavolini has been with Waveland Police Department for a number of years and rose through the ranks. Assistant Chief Pavolini will be an outstanding addition to the leadership team at the Waveland Police Department. He brings a wealth of experience and an impeccable service record to his new role.
My expectations are simple: law and order and providing exceptional service while maintaining community confidence in our police force. Not only has Assistant Chief Pavolini fulfilled that expectation, he has earned the respect of the public and his fellow officers with his impressive service to our community.
Mickey Lagasse will be an excellent fit here at the city for a host of reasons. His love of customer service will serve the city residents well. He also has years of experience leading staff, streamlining processes, overseeing budgets, preparing contracts, and is a well-organized professional. These are all necessary attributes that we were seeking when filling the city clerk position.
The 17th Annual Arts Alive! Festival celebrates our Gulf Coast creative culture with all of Old Town Bay St. Louis as a venue.
- story by Dena Temple
Arts Alive! began 17 years ago as a simple tour of artists’ private studios in the area. Today it is a free, multi-day, multi-venue event that draws young and old alike to admire the talent of our local artisans. The celebration generates a high level of excitement from the community and area merchants alike.
The event, produced by the non-profit organization The Arts, Hancock County, will take place in multiple outdoor locations around Old Town Bay St. Louis. Venues are located on Main Street, Second Street, Court Street – even the lumberyard will host artists exhibiting their work.
Displays will feature many different mediums, from paintings, wood creations, sculpture and pottery to photography and ceramics, among others.
Bigger, and better
“This is the big show,” exclaims Steve Barney, president of The Arts, Hancock County, “and it gets bigger and better every year. This event really has stood the test of time. We’re putting our best foot forward and showcasing the best of Hancock County.”
Arts Alive! has expanded to two full days for 2019 due to the tremendous interest of the public and the enthusiastic support of area merchants and the artists themselves. Participation by local artists has exploded, with 30% more artists already registered at press time – and more still signing up to display their work.
“For many young artists, this is their big debut,” explains Barney. “It’s their very first experience exhibiting their artwork. They’ll set up their tents, hang their work, and share it with the public for the first time. That can be extremely exhilarating. We’re excited to give them that opportunity.”
In addition to more than 50 of our best and brightest local artists displaying their work, this year’s show will also feature a Pottery Village, located on Second Street between Century Hall and the Mockingbird Café. Local pottery artists will display their creative, colorful wares, and visitors can have fun with live pottery demonstrations as well.
Acoustic musicians and other live entertainers will perform on the Shoofly Magazine Community Stage, located on the steps of the Courthouse (see schedule at the end of this story!). There will also be live music at the Mockingbird Café (110 S. Second Street).
On Saturday night, visitors are encouraged to stay and enjoy a mini film festival on the courthouse lawn, weather permitting.
Participating local merchants be participating as well. “Our local merchants are supporting the Arts Alive! Festival in every way,” Barney confirmed. “They’re proud of our hometown, our artists, and our community's reputation as a mainstay of the arts in Mississippi.”
The most innovative new feature of the festival, according to Barney and Aryana Ivey, event producer, is the brand-new Makerspace area. Here, many artists and makers will demonstrate their crafts and offer hands-on activities.
In addition, a number of area non-profit organizations are participating to provide art activities for children that incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as part of the art experience. Read more about the Makerspace area in this month’s Arts Alive column.
“There is a lot of excitement from our local non-profits to engage our youth with art, in a way that will help prepare them for high-paying jobs after graduation,” said Aryana Ivey.
Arts Alive! hours are 10am – 5pm on Saturday, March 23, and 11am – 4pm on Sunday, March 24. Admission is free. For the latest updates on the event, or for sponsorship or exhibitor information, visit the Arts, Hancock County website at www.hancockarts.org.
Arts Alive Live Performance Schedule
The Shoofly Magazine Stage will be located in front of the County Courthouse on Main Street. The Mockingbird Café Stage is just around the corner at 110 S. Second Street.
Saturday, March 23
11am - 11:30am – Shoofly Stage: Chamber Ribbon Cutting
11:30am - 1:30pm – Shoofly Stage: Kelsey Moran
1:30pm - 3:30pm – Shoofly Stage: Mockingbird Open Mic
4pm - 6pm – Mockingbird Café: Electric Sheep
6pm - 7:30pm – Shoofly Stage: Bay Ratz Marching Battery, Pandemonium and Fire Dancers Extravaganza of Light Sound and Flesh
7:30pm – 8:30pm – Shoofly Stage: Film Festival
Sunday, March 24
Noon – 12:30pm Shoofly Stage: St Rose Handmaidens dancers
12:30pm - 2:30pm – Shoofly Stage: Diggs Darcy
2:30pm - 5:30pm – Shoofly Stage: 100 Man Hall Open Mic
The Arts Alive festival doesn't receive any municipal funding for the event - it relies on volunteers, sponsors and donations.
You can help by contributing (even small amounts make a big difference) on their Go-Fund-Me page. It only takes a few moments!
The 17th annual Arts Alive celebration in Bay St. Louis will feature a new Makerspace, where hands-on demonstrations are the highlight and children are the focus.
- story by Dena Temple
Hands-on Activities featured at the Arts Alive celebration, March 23 & 24, Old Town Bay St. Louis
“Tapping into the natural creativity and curiosity of children unleashes potential that translates into success later in life,” explained Ivey. “We want to help our children grow into adults who will have the skills to work in tomorrow’s high-paying jobs. That is the foundation of the ‘STEM’ program, which focuses education on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as a foundation for tomorrow’s tech jobs.”
However, focusing on career prep doesn’t have to mean neglecting the arts. “A well-rounded education is the best preparation for success,” she continued, “and when the arts are incorporated into STEM education, students learn to think creatively, which helps their problem-solving abilities. Let’s call it “STEAM” – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.”
Fifteen area non-profit organizations will participate in children’s hands-on activities that demonstrate how the arts can enhance the STEM curriculum. Participants include the local chapter of the NAACP, the Mississippi Master Gardeners, the Hancock County Library and the train museum.
A small ranch house with a quartet of "done wrong" additions provides the biggest challenge yet for this pair of seasoned renovators.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
But they both agree that the simple looking ranch house on Old Spanish Trail has been their most challenging undertaking to date.
The pair first investigated the property with the idea of reselling it. It was owned by a bank and bargain priced, although it had to be purchased “as-is.” Billy Ray especially loved the high-ground location – it hadn’t flooded at all during Hurricane Katrina. Elizabeth was drawn to the grounds and the large Live oak tree in the backyard.
But when they inspected the building more closely after the purchase, the couple realized they’d gotten more than they’d bargained for – in the problem department.
“It just stank in here,” said Elizabeth, gesturing around her now pristine living room, but recalling her first walk-through. “There was confusion everywhere you looked. There was awful white paneling and striped brown vinyl flooring that crackled as you walked on it. The bathroom was larger than the kitchen. The porch roof had nails sticking down through it. It was insane.”
Contributing to the crowded, confusing feeling was the fact that the house is comprised of one small, apparently historic, cottage that had been added on to multiple times. Billy Ray counted four different additions that were all “done wrong.” As an outstanding example of shoddy workmanship, he points down to the floor in the center of the living room.
“Right here, beneath the floor, there was a set of concrete steps they’d just built on top of,” he said. “And every wall had five layers of stuff on it – sheet rock, then paneling and then more Sheetrock. You’d pull out one layer and find another one. In one section, the roof had been built over completely - three times!”
The tax rolls list 1960 as the date the house was built, but once Billy Ray started the demolition, he realized the core of the house was much older. It had been constructed with “real” two-by-fours made from old-growth trees.
Billy Ray found one beam of heart pine that spanned 18 feet. He explained that the virgin forest trees of the South (which had all been cut by the early 1900s) grew very slowly, making for an exceptionally hard wood. Newer lumber harvested from quick-growing plantation trees is far softer.
Billy Ray also wonders if the original cottage was moved from Logtown, formerly located to the west, on the Pearl River. In the 1960s, the government bought up all the property in the town and the surrounding area to create a buffer zone for Stennis Space Center. Most of the Logtown homes were demolished but some were moved, like the one next door to Billy Ray and Elizabeth on Old Spanish Trail.
The two planned to simplify and open up the interior, tying all the rooms together. They drew up a carport to one side, bringing the roofline down to balance it with the other side of the house.
The longer they worked and the more they spent, the faster the profit margin for resale diminished. Yet neither one wanted to cut corners. So mid-stream, they decided it would be their own home.
“If you’re going to do something, either do it right or don’t do it at all,” said Billy Ray. “We wanted to do right by it. That’s just us.”
And the process of renovation appeals to the mosaic artist in Elizabeth. “That’s the fun part,” she said. “It’s taking all that mess and making something beautiful out of it. But there’s also holding your breath, just hoping it will all work out.”
The pair, who have been together for nearly thirty years, are both high energy people who communicate easily with each other. They work as a team in the design phase, with Elizabeth handling all the colors.
“I rely on her to make sure it all comes together in the end,” Billy Ray said.
“I get obsessed with finding balance in a room,” Elizabeth admitted, smiling. “And he lets me obsess.”
The renovation took a year and the couple moved in just a few months ago.
“Mainly, we were able to take all the craziness out and make it look like one house now,” Elizabeth said. “Even the lower level looks like it belongs.”
Now the main door opens into a large living/kitchen/dining area. One’s eye is immediately drawn to across the space to where a few steps lead down to “the lower level.” It contains an entryway, hall, two bedrooms and a large full bath. One of the bedrooms serves as both Billy Ray’s home office and a guest room.
The other "bedroom," which boasts excellent natural light, has become Elizabeth’s jewelry studio, where she makes fanciful creations from natural stones. Best known for her career as a mosaic artist who has dozens of large public projects dotted around the state, in the past few years, she’s turned to painting and jewelry-making (find Elizabeth’s jewelry in Bay Life Gifts and Gallery, Century Hall).
On the other side of the living area is the master suite. A small bedroom was turned into spacious bathroom - with lots of tile work, of course.
A few projects are still in the works. An enormous new deck in the back will become a screened porch. The extensive landscape plantings have yet to fill in. The couple are still hanging pieces of their enormous local art collection, which includes many of Elizabeth’s paintings and mosaics. The white walls and clean interior design offer a perfect backdrop for the dramatic work.
Is it a coincidence that the couple first met in a favorite local hang-out named “The Good Life?” These days Billy Ray and Elizabeth seem to be living just that, spending peaceful evenings on the porch of their Silk Purse home.
During the Second Saturday Artwalk each month in Old Town Bay St. Louis, you'll find cool deals, fresh meals and lots of art and live music!
Be sure to check out "Hot Spots" The French Potager (213 Main Street) and 200 North Beach (200 North Beach Boulevard). Read more about these featured businesses below!
- stories by Caroline St. Paul, photos by Caroline St. Paul and Ellis Anderson
The French Potager
Bay Reads - February 2019
- story by Scott Naugle
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country
By Pam Houston
It was an exceptionally windy January night on the Coast, the best reading weather. The gnarled branches of the Live oaks danced, banging the panes in complex polyrhythms against my second-story bedroom windows, reacting to nature’s haunting and melodious wind symphony.
Nature’s presence in our lives, as both catalyst and balm, is a recurring theme in Pam Houston’s memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country.
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Many know Houston from the best-selling Cowboys Are My Weakness, her work as a columnist for Outdoor magazine, or the collections of short stories. She is currently the Director of Creative Writing at University of California, Davis and travels the world mentoring at writer’s workshops.
Houston unearthed her uphill, rocky footpath to a mountainside respite after years of agonized wandering, “… and so my mother died, drunk and unhappy, and I found my way to this ranch, where I protect and am protected by animals, this place where nature controls how I spend my days and how I spend my life, this place where I can love every season.”
The four-legged menagerie loved by Houston includes Icelandic sheep, dogs, mini-donks, horses, cats, and a short visit by an orphaned baby elk. Within all the moments of pure joy the animals inspire, there are also notes of sorrow.
“In 2014 I lost Fenton Johnson the wolfhound,” she recounts. Houston was out of town leading a writer’s workshop when she received word of Fenton’s failing health. She returned home immediately by air, landing in a Denver snowstorm.
“The weekend was everything all at once. It rained and snowed and blew and eventually howled, and I slept out on the dog porch with Fenton anyway, nose to nose with him for his last three nights.”
The story of Fenton was an emotional one for me, striking close to home. I recently lost Snopes, a feisty, gnarling, grumbling, old, five-pound poodle, an ever present companion in charge of the house for the past ten years.
When I received the call that Snopes was dying, I stood helplessly in chilly air on a concrete sidewalk corner outside of the office at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. I am consoled by the fact that he died in the arms of the only other person who loved him as much as I did.
It was a Sunday mid-morning in Pass Christian several months ago and Pam Houston sat down beside me in a green upholstered armchair. She held her coffee in a white porcelain cup, silently, absorbing, watching the sunlight sparkling and bouncing off the undulating Gulf water.
The previous evening, a whisper before midnight, I listened in awe as Pam stood in a parlor just up the street on Scenic Drive, ten or so others sprinkled around the room, reciting a long poem, one that she explained had moved her. I’ve forgotten the poem, but the passionate recitation mesmerized me. I was taken by someone so soulfully enthralled with emotion and ideas as conveyed through poetry.
Now, she leaned toward me in the light-washed room and asked what I thought of Hunger.
“It is one of my favorite novels,” I blurted. “Several years ago I read through all of Knut Hamsun’s work.”
My response, judging by the expression on her face, initially appeared to puzzle her and then slowly changed to one of slightly bemused understanding.
What kind of a person responds with an obscure Norwegian novelist’s work, a Nazi-sympathizer from the last century, when at that moment Roxane Gays’ Hunger: A Memoir of Body was at the top of the bestseller list?
Houston gently corrected me.
“In spite of the encroaching darkness, there’s nothing out here to be afraid of,” Houston recalls in Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country before a late day walk on her property. “Coyotes are not brave enough to attack a full grown woman and a 150-pound dog, even a whole pack of them. Mountain lions hunt at dusk and dawn, but in this country, there’s never been an attack on a human. A black bear won’t be hanging around on the riverbank, but even if he were, he’d hear us before we’d hear him and hightail it back into the forest.”
There’s not much of anything, two-legged or four-legged, that Houston is afraid of any longer.
Houston’s depth of insight and barebones honesty, her fluency and descriptive agility with the written word, brings Virginia Woolf to mind, ruminating in A Room of One’s Own:
“The whole of the mind must lie wide open if we are to get the sense that the writer is communicating [her] experience with perfect fullness. The writer, once this experience is over, must lie back and let [her] mind celebrate its nuptials in darkness.”
Talk of the Town - February/March 2019
- story by Lisa Monti
Click here to purchase tickets online!
Acclaimed pianist George Winston was driving in L.A. afternoon traffic when he called to talk about his Feb. 25 concert at the Hancock Performing Arts Center in Kiln.
Giving interviews from behind the wheel is one way to keep up the pace of his crammed schedule. The in-demand musician performed so many shows last year, he literally lost count. The venues change almost nightly but the show’s framework holds steady. “It’s always instrumental and always solo,” Winston said. “That’s who I am.”
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Winston has recorded 14 piano solo albums and has three awaiting release. His resume includes the solo piano soundtrack for “The Velveteen Rabbit” and the soundtrack for a Peanuts episode. The Kiln also audience can expect to hear some Vince Guaraldi-inspired Charlie Brown and gang pieces as well as Winston’s solo guitar and harmonica talents. He plays exclusively on Steinway pianos, and one is being brought in for the Kiln show.
Winston, a Montana native, has a Mississippi connection: he attended junior high in Jackson, and he has played at venues in Ocean Springs. “It’s great to get back there to Mississippi,” he said, calling the state “an island all its own. It’s definitely not Tennessee, Louisiana or Alabama.”
His upcoming local performance came about as “a happy accident,” according to Catherine Tibbs, HPAC coordinator. When Winston couldn’t get an Ocean Springs venue booked, his agent found the HPAC’s website and got in touch. Winston, Tibbs said, “likes going to new places because he’s played so many different venues.”
Winston said he’s “heard very good things” about the Hancock County facility which has 842 seats, state of the art equipment and brag-worthy acoustics and lighting. Proceeds from this concert will benefit the Hancock High School Education Foundation. Guests are encouraged to bring a donation of canned food to the concert to benefit the Hancock County Food Pantry.
Tibbs said the foundation supports Hancock High’s arts programs. “We have so many talented students in the district and the building was created for those underserved students. The proceeds will provide funding to purchase instruments, fund theatrical master classes to prepare the performers and to get the choir started up again.”
Tibbs is hoping for a good turnout for Winston’s performance “to show we have and appreciation for his music and we want him to return.”
Winston’s Hancock High performance will consist of two one-hour sets though he doesn’t yet have a set list. “I won’t know the song titles until that day or until I do it,” he said of his concert sets. “I have to really want to play the song. Otherwise, “I can’t do it.”
Monday, February 25 7-9 p.m.
Hancock Performing Arts Center
7140 Stennis Airport Drive, Kiln
General admission seating: $25
Tickets available through Eventbrite or the Hancock PAC Facebook Page
For more info, or help buying tickets, call (228) 255 6247
Murphy's Musical Notes - Feb/March 2019
- story by Pat Murphy, photos by Ellis Anderson
The Monsters At Large are another really good local Hancock County based band. This band has caused a splash in the area over the last several years playing festivals and bars like Tripletails on Beach Boulevard in downtown Bay St. Louis.
The band originally grew out of a group of musicians who were members of The Dock of the Bay Music Company. They were assembled by David "Snake" Hooker to play for one of his legendary birthday parties. The band's original keyboardist, Derrell Brown, passed away sometime back and was replaced by Sam Brady who lives just north of Jackson in Madison.
Murphy's Musical Notes
It turned out that his family was very musical and that he had been playing from an early age onstage with his father and uncle in a country and western band named The Dixie Revelers. Tommy really made an impression on me and would become my friend and occasional bandmate from that point on.
By 1977, Tommy was on the road playing pedal steel guitar with country superstar Moe Bandy. This was during the height of the Moe and Joe (Stampley) "Good Ole Boys" popularity. He later toured with John "Rose Colored Glasses" Conlee beginning in 1985.
Tommy was also a member of Jerry Fisher's Dock of the Bay Music Company. Later he went on to record and tour with New Orleans superstar Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack for seven years. Tommy also served as staff guitarist and pedal steel guitarist at Bogalusa, Louisiana’s, Studio In The Country from the late 1970s through the 1990s.
My first experience with Casey Lipe was when my friend George Reed brought him out to jam with my band at Bennie French's around 1980. We were playing country rock at the time and Casey was a jazz guy and so far over my head musically that he intimidated me greatly. He was a monster way back then and still is. I always enjoy hearing him play.
The keyboardist for The Monsters, Sam Brady, has lived and played in the Jackson (Madison) area since 1979. He has recorded and toured with R&B diva Dorothy Moore along with Jo-El Sonnier. In addition to playing gigs with The Monsters At Large, Sam plays with Mr. Sipp, "The Mississippi Blues Child.”
Monsters vocalist Chuck Loftin lives on the coast but began his career while living in Hattiesburg. He has worked with Rochambeau, Mutharoux, Chuck and Johnny's Spectacular and The Smoke Patrol, among others. Chuck's vocal talents bring to mind Gregg Allman and Joe Cocker, and he is a very popular, talented vocalist.
The combination of Regan Taylor and Gene Moran on bass and drums make up the area's go-to rhythm section. They play with everybody in addition to Monsters at Large. Regan began playing piano at 10, quickly branched out on guitar and bass and has settled in primarily on bass, although he is a talented keyboardist as well.
Regan grew up in Bay St. Louis and played with Shea Michael Ladner for a long time. One of the things I always enjoyed watching as he was coming up was how much his parents always supported him in his music. They would always be out there at his gigs, proudly listening and having a good time.
One of Gene's real talents is his timing, which is really solid. That sense of meter coupled with the length of time that he and Regan have played together, equates to a quality, in demand rhythm section.
Although Monsters at Large prefer to work with the larger six-piece band, they do perform as The Chuck Lofton Band in a four-piece lineup with Chuck, Tommy, Regan and Gene. The Moran brothers along with Regan also perform with Hancock County's own America's Got Talent winner Michael Grimm whenever he does appearances here on the coast.
Mark your calendars for the annual Krewe of Nereids parade on Sunday, February 24, at noon. The parade begins in front of the Hancock County Governmental Annex Building in Bay St. Louis and rolls west on Highway 90, ending at the intersection of Auderder Street and Highway 90 in Waveland.
Both lanes of Highway 90 in Waveland will be closed from the Bay St. Louis-Waveland city line to Waveland Avenue.
What's Up, Waveland?
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
PUBLIC NOTICE FROM THE CITY OF WAVELAND
- There will be no parking of vehicles, trailers, or recreational vehicles before 12:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon February 23, 2019. Any vehicle parked on the right-of-way at any time that obstructs the view of traffic for cars going into or out of businesses will be towed.
- There will be no marking or reserving parking areas along the parade route with tape, rope or other means of “marking a spot.”
- Underage consumption of alcohol will not be tolerated. There will be plain clothes officers enforcing the law.
- There will be no sale of silly string &/or Snap and Pops on the parade route.
- There will be no skateboards, hover boards, skates, scooters, bicycles or any unauthorized modes of transportation, including motorized forms of the items mentioned above, on the parade route. Any one of these will be removed from the parade route.
- There will be no drones of any kind on the parade route.
- There will be no reptiles or pets of any kind allowed on the parade route.
- There will be no glass containers on the parade route.
- There will be no parking on the median or ladders or scaffolding.
- Please be courteous and use the trash containers provided along the parade route.
Waveland Mayor Mike Smith, Alderman Bobby Richardson, and I recently attended the Mississippi Municipal League’s 2019 Mid-Winter Legislative Conference in Jackson, Mississippi.
Along with approximately 500 municipal leaders from all over Mississippi, we participated in discussions of current legislative issues and their impact on local governments and attended sessions to listen to ideas to help move Waveland forward. We also networked with legislators and business leaders at the Gulf Coast Legislative Reception and at the capitol to provide them important feedback on issues that are critical to Waveland.
Attending the MML's Mid-Winter Conference and visiting the capitol during the legislative session are valuable components of Waveland’s progress forward.
In accordance with Waveland’s charter, Mayor Mike Smith was required to make his appointments to several positions at the first meeting of the new administration. The list of the mayor’s appointments are as follows:
- Police Chief - Michael Prendergast
- Fire Chief - Tony Mallini
- City Attorney - Rachel Yarborough
- Superintendent of Utilities Department (Public Works) - Brent Anderson
- Judge - P.J. Mauffray
- City Prosecutor - Melinda Tucker
- Public Defender - Todd Thriffiley
- Mayor Pro Tem - Shane LaFontaine
- City Clerk (temporary) - Ron Duckworth
The two changes that Mayor Mike Smith made was appointing former Assistant Chief Michael Prendergast as the Waveland Police Chief. Chief Prendergast replaces Dave Allen.
Chief Allen has served as Waveland Police Chief since 2013 and served Waveland well. He led a department that was facing a number of lawsuits to one of the most respected police departments in South Mississippi. I’m happy to report that Dave Allen has agreed to stay with the Waveland Police Department to serve as Head of Investigations and a full-time Cyber Crimes Investigator for the city of Waveland.
I’m positive Chief Prendergast will do a stellar job. His 30-plus years of experience in law enforcement and fresh perspective will be invaluable for the Waveland Police Department. I am confident that under Chief Prendergast’s dedicated leadership, the Police Department will continue to work diligently in protecting our community against crime, while implementing best practices, new technologies and initiatives to ensure the department is able to meet the growing needs of our city.
The other change that was made was the appointment of Ron Duckworth as city clerk. The appointment of Ron is only a temporary appointment. Ron will still hold his position as comptroller, but Mayor Smith informed the Board of Aldermen that his desired choice of city clerk wouldn’t be ready to begin work as city clerk until February, so Ron was temporarily appointed to fill the position.
Arts Alive - March 2019
- story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson
Mitchell Gaudet, is an internationally recognized glass artist who works with the hot-cast process. His wife, Erica Larkin Gaudet, is an award-winning metal sculptor and artist.
The couple have been powerhouses on the New Orleans art scene for many years, but in February 2018 opened Studio Waveland & Gallery (228 Coleman Avenue) with hearts and arms extended wide. The area arts community has received them in the same spirit.
"Erica and Mitchell's decision to go all in Waveland represents a watershed event in the development of the creative economy in Hancock County,” says Steve Barney, president of The Arts, Hancock County.
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“The secret is getting out," he continued. "Artists from across the country are recognizing the robust environment and community resources we have here to develop, promote and support both established and emerging artists."
The artistic, entrepreneurial Gaudets find community-building through art “inspiring and exciting.”
“This is what we’ve always done,” says Mitchell, founder of Studio Inferno. “We develop distressed or underutilized properties into multifaceted cultural arts centers. This often includes other artists’ studios, a gallery, flex spaces for theatre and workshops.”
Mitchell adds that neither he or Erica are the type to work in isolation. They thrive in situations where their personal studios are buzzing with the energy and creativity that’s a natural payoff from having fellow artists working nearby.
Since February 2018, Studio Waveland & Gallery has opened its space to host glassblowing workshops, bring-your-own dinner parties, gallery exhibitions, yoga classes, and a host of other special events.
In January 2019 alone, Studio Waveland hosted the Hancock Arts Juried Show Deux, an exhibition featuring many talented artists from Hancock County; a coffee and art film screening by Hunter Cole, NOLA artist and scientist; and a black-light Phosphorescence and Fluorescence Exhibition.
The Gaudets say that Waveland Mayor Mike Smith and other public officials have been "super supportive" of the studio. Before they relocated, Smith visited the Gaudets in their Arabi complex and understood the positive impact the couple could have in Waveland. Alderman Jeremy Burke says the city is already reaping benefits from their presence.
"Erica and Mitchell have been powerful drivers of the transformation in the local community by increasing vibrancy," said Burke. "They are bringing a buzz to Coleman Avenue that Waveland hasn't seen before."
For the time being, Erica manages the business and creative side of Studio Waveland. She’s had plenty of experience. In 1991, after graduating with a degree in sculpture from Loyola University, she founded Toulouse Street Studio, where she taught metal sculpture in addition to creating her own pieces and a striking line of furniture.
Studio Waveland is the new home for her studio, where she fabricates and shows her hand-sculpted steel artwork, like the Lines of Strength piece, shown above.
Mitchell continues to work primarily out of Studio Inferno in Arabi, Louisiana. He compares the couple’s working dynamic to a weird multi-headed beast: “There’s me and my Studio Inferno. Then Erica’s career and her artwork. And then there’s Studio Waveland, which is where we hope to crash-land together.”
The vision involves incorporating Studio Inferno, an elaborate art space and glass foundry owned and operated by Gaudet since 1992, first situated in the New Orleans’ neighborhood of Bywater and currently in Arabi, Louisiana.
Moving a melting furnace (that holds 600 pounds of molten glass) and cooling ovens is not something the couple takes lightly, because of the difficult logistics and the enormous investment of time and money involved. Yet the Coleman Avenue building (designed by local firm Unabridged Architecture) lends itself to the couple’s vision.
Mitchell says, “The architecture of the building is perfect. Even though it’s relatively new, it has a rawness that lends itself to what we’re trying to do.”
Also, he adds, “The fact that Erica and I both fell in love with this building is unbelievable. We both have very strong opinions, but we agreed completely on this building!”
Beach to Bayou - Feb/March 2019
- story by Dena Temple
When house shopping last September, we looked for some kind of sign that this was “the one.” Moving from New Jersey was a big decision, and while all the homes we toured were very nice, when we drove up to “the one,” the property quite literally spoke to us.
“Keeeeerrrr!” A red-tailed Hawk soared overhead.
“Keek keek keek.” A Red-bellied Woodpecker shimmied up a nearby pine.
Beach to Bayou
Yes, we are birders. Bird-brains. Bird nerds! In fact, our fascination with feathered fauna helped drive our southern migration. And as birders, we weren’t looking for a home so much as a “habitat.”
The pretty brick house on the tracks in Waveland fit the bill perfectly – lots of land bordered by dense woods, near a bayou. We signed the papers just before Thanksgiving, and by Turkey Day we were unpacking our binoculars and setting up feeding stations.
We’re also a little competitive. And by “little,” I mean very. We compete with other bird nerds to see how many species of birds we can ID in our yards. We re-started our 2018 list when we moved to Waveland – and by the time the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve, our list stood at an astounding 52 species. In five weeks!
While all seasons along the Coast provide excellent opportunities for wildlife-watching, perhaps the best kept secret is the diversity here in the winter.
In addition, land birds that eat insects must migrate to follow the food source. So, while spring and fall offer the best variety because of the migratory birds passing along the Mississippi Flyway, winter birding delights savvy Gulf Coast residents who are “in the know.”
Gulls, terns and particularly shorebirds flock to the Gulf beaches, much like our snowbirds do, for the Gulf’s agreeable climate and excellent dining. Everyone eats seafood along the Coast!
Ducks, too, migrate south for the winter. Many only go as far as necessary to find unfrozen water, so they can find food. Some, however, make their way to our coastline and local ponds.
Commonly seen from our beaches are Bufflehead, tiny black ducks with white bonnet-like caps, and Common Loons, looking drab in their “basic” winter plumage.
One of my favorite places to look for birds is the Washington Street Pier in Bay St. Louis. What makes any location excellent for birds is habitat diversity, and this spot has it.
Along the beach you’ll see lots of terns, gulls and shorebirds. Try to pick out the Willet, a large shorebird with drab, brown plumage – until he flies, revealing a distinctive and brilliant white wing stripe.
Walking to the end of the pier, scan the water for the aforementioned ducks, along with Horned Grebes, which are common in the Sound in the winter, and Red-breasted Mergansers, ducks with a distinctive dagger-like bill.
Next, scan the rocks at the pier for Ruddy Turnstone, a medium-sized shorebird with orange legs and an unusually patterned chest. Perhaps you’ll get lucky and spot a Purple Sandpiper in the rocks, a rare visitor from the North.
While you’re out there, scan the distant skies for the beautiful white Northern Gannett, a large, graceful booby-like bird that nests on island cliffs but spends its entire winter over the water.
Back on land, patiently check the dune grass for birds like Marsh Wren, sparrows and Scaly-breasted Munia, a non-native, pet-shop escapee that has been spotted here recently.
There are many places along the Gulf Coast where beginners and pros alike can enjoy looking at, and learning about, birds.
A great source is the Mississippi Coast Audubon Society, which hosts mostly free field trips to various locations in the area. Attending one of these trips is a great way to meet like-minded people, increase your local knowledge, and learn about conservation and habitat protection.
If you’d rather strike out on your own, you can find information on the website for the Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail . The website identifies more than 40 prime birding locations in the six southern counties of Mississippi. It’s a great resource, and I’ll be working my way through that list myself.
If you are the type who likes to volunteer, there are opportunities through both MCAS and the National Audubon Society for winter shorebird monitoring.
Also coming up February 15-19 is the Great Backyard Bird Count, which encourages individuals to count birds in their own backyards (or a local park or hotspot), then report your findings online through a special website, www.birdsource.org. The event is held over Presidents Day weekend, which may give you an extra day to venture out and enjoy what our area has to offer.
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On The Shoofly
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The Eyes Have It