The Saucier-Post Tragedy
Opening a cold case from Bay St. Louis history leaves us with the lesson that the truth is hard to pin down.
- story by Rebecca Orfila, photo Library of Congress
Excusing herself to leave and sit overnight with her ill mother, Madeleine Josephine Toulme Saucier left the Crescent Hotel to make the trek into the mid-spring night. The evening was slowly turning dark as Madeleine faded, unescorted, into the night. Her mother, Victoire Uranie Saucier, had been ill for weeks. After two hours, Madeleine’s husband Evariste Valerian Saucier became concerned, particularly since he had heard rumors of a relationship between his wife and a local doctor.
The cast of characters in this conflict echoes the names of well-established local families in Bay St. Louis and Shieldsborough during the 1800s. According to a bulletin from the New Orleans Advertiser reprinted on page one of the April 18, 1870 New York Commercial Advertiser, the lady involved in “improper relations” was the daughter of John B. Toulme.
Mr. Toulme was a town leader, successful merchant, and landowner, and the original founder and manager of the Crescent Hotel (also known as the City Crescent Hotel) located at 200 South Beach Boulevard. A short walk from the train station, the Crescent was a popular stop for passengers and visitors to the shore. Evariste Saucier took over management duties of the hotel following a stint (1867–1869) as the U.S. Postmaster for Bay St. Louis.
Church records show that the lady and her husband married October 1, 1851 with a 3-degree dispensation from consanguinity (they were second cousins who shared the same great-grandparents). She was 18 and her husband was 37. During their marriage, the couple had several children, the last born in 1868.
Dr. Christopher Columbus Post (b. 1844) was an 1861 graduate of Tulane University Medical School. After serving his time in college-related duties, he relocated to Bay St. Louis to practice apothecary science. He married well to Irene Whitfield (b.1850), daughter of William Alexander Whitfield, owner of Shelly Plantation. The plantation was located on the plot of land where the DuPont plant is now located.
As related in the New York and New Orleans newspapers, on the evening in question Mr. Saucier, along with a friend, went directly to his mother-in-law’s home and was told the lady had not been at the home that evening. Next, they walked to Dr. Post’s office, where they knocked on the locked door. The doctor answered the door and told Saucier and his friend that he was otherwise engaged. He closed the door without further discussion.
Undeterred, Saucier and his friend stayed in the neighborhood and watched as Saucier’s wife exited the building and headed in the direction of the hotel. A few days later, Saucier challenged the doctor to a duel, which Post accepted. Local law enforcement stepped in and arrested both men. Peace was kept for a few days.
The 1832 Mississippi state constitution strictly forbade dueling by “any rifle, shotgun, sword, sword-cane, pistol, dirk, bowie-knife, dirk-knife, or any other deadly weapon.” Seconds and physicians would be fined a sizeable sum and be imprisoned for three months. If a duelist was killed, the offending man would be arrested and tried on grounds of murder.
Upon their release from the local jail, Saucier and Post returned to their lives and homes; however, the unanswered matter of honor weighed heavily on Saucier. Within a few days, he communicated with Post and told him to leave town or face the consequences. Post ignored the ultimatum and maintained his presence in the community.
The Commercial Advertiser and New Orleans Bee reported that on April 7 around 7 p.m., Saucier waited and watched as the doctor exited the apothecary shop and walked down the street. Saucier surprised Post with several pistol shots in his direction. Post managed to get off one shot that hit Saucier’s hip before Post collapsed and died in the street. All of Saucier’s bullets had hit the mark.
The prognosis for Saucier was unknown following the street battle. According to the New Orleans Daily Picayune, Saucier died on April 12 of his wounds. Regarding the death notices and obituary published in several national and local newspapers, Mr. Saucier’s death was met with deep sorrow, while Post’s death notice was simply acknowledged in the New Orleans papers.
Following the deadly altercation, Mrs. Saucier moved her family to her father’s home in Pass Christian. In 1872, she married John Anthony Breath, a judge in the Hancock County judicial system.
As with all historical research, some questions cannot be answered. In question is the location of the street duel: some newspapers reported that the night’s events took place in front of the Saucier home, while others suggested the street in front of the Crescent Hotel, or the Masonic hall, or Post’s apothecary shop. As to the accusations against Mrs. Saucier and Dr. Post, we find no published confession by either.
Madeleine is buried in the Toulme family plot at Cedar Rest Cemetery in Bay St. Louis (Madeline Toulme Saucier Breath, Plot: S11-08). John Anthony Breath was buried in Masonic No. 1 in N.O. Post is also buried in New Orleans, in the Greenwood Cemetery (Plot 56, Cypress Hawthorne Cedar). No one knows Saucier’s final resting place.
Wine Flights At Home
Who needs wine bars? Here's how to host a successful tasting event in your own living room.
With Anna's recommendations for Steals (around $10), Deals ($15 range) and Splurges ($20 - $40 range) - all locally available in the Bay-Waveland area!
- story and photos by Anna Speers
A typical wine flight consists of 3 to 4 glasses of small pours, usually 2-3 ounces per glass. The wines will most often be of a single varietal but will feature different growing regions, winemaking techniques and price points. Let's take Pinot Noir for an example. A flight may showcase a lighter-bodied selection from New Zealand, a middleweight from Oregon and a sturdier finisher from California or France.
A wine flight participant should follow a few rules to get the most out of their tasting experience:
But the fun doesn't have to be limited to restaurants, my friends! We can play this game at home, with some intriguing variations to spice it up.
For a basic tasting, select your wine type and follow the guidelines and setup described above. Call up the gang and have at least three people bring a different bottle each (or buy them yourself if you're feeling generous). Everyone else can bring food. Keep the nibbles simple and in line with your wine selection. Think finger food.
I am not a subscriber to the “white wine with fish and red wine with steak” guideline. Party snacks for wine tastings can be literally whatever you like, but in case you're stuck, here are some classic pairings:
A fun way to put a spin on hosting a wine flight party is by doing a blind tasting. Everything proceeds as usual, with two twists. First, each bottle should be well disguised. Remove the cork and the foil collar and place it back in the small brown paper bag in which it came, securing the bag around the neck of the bottle with some string. It is especially helpful if each bottle has a different color of string for identification. Second, only the host should know which bottle is which. As always, the selected wines should show a good range of quality, price point and place of origin. Taste, enjoy and then start asking questions with your group.
Which wine is the least expensive? Which is the most? Which one came from (insert each region/country/continent here)? Which was your favorite? If the selection of wines includes any blended wines, the group can flex its collective palate sensitivity by attempting to identify what grapes are used in each blend. This can be very challenging but it is a fantastic way to see if your taste buds are as good as you think they are.
Remember, when tasting a wine we should take the time to appreciate the color, the nose, the mouthfeel, the tasting notes and the finish. Use these observations to guide your guesses, and good luck!
Steals, Deals and Splurges
PS: Since this month's article was not specific to any one type of wine, here are a few of my personal favorites in each price category. Hope you enjoy!
Steal: 19 Crimes Red Blend: smooth, nuanced and very beginner friendly.
Deal: Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc: bright, clean and hefty (13.9% ABV!).
Splurge: Conundrum White Blend: balanced, creamy and slightly sweet.
A House With a Diary - 526 Citizen Street
When they purchased their historic home in 2014, Chris and Patricia Cheek didn't realize that it came complete with its own journal, started 65 years before - one that contained a few surprises.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
MAP: Music, Arts and Practicality
A unique - and free - Hancock County program introduces children to art, music and live theatre by producing shows like "The Lion King." Find out how it's contributing in a big way to our local Circle of Life.
- story by Ellis Anderson, photos by Kelly Corbin
The audience wasn’t disappointed. The team of performers and backstage hands bowled over crowds on two consecutive nights. Chalk up another hit for the MAP program.
MAP stands for Music, Art and Practicality. The non-profit began in 2009, the brainchild of Waveland resident, Kathy Pinn (now director of the Waveland Ground Zero Museum). In the post-Katrina recovery years, officials were focused on restoring what was deemed necessary for survival. Pinn understood that art and music were necessities of the spirit – especially for children - and formed the group to offer arts programs to area youth.
According to Pinn, the name comes from her belief that music and art are practical life skills that children can learn in the program. For example, sewing, making crafts and getting along with others.
With MAP programs, children, grades 3-12, audition to participate. Every one who auditions is assigned a role. Participants learn the basics of live theatre while putting together real productions. Rehearsals alternated with art classes. The cost to parents?
Nothing. MAP programs are completely free to all comers.
According to current president Sandy Reese, hundreds of local children have moved thorough the program over the past seven years. Currently, the program runs only through the summer, with one performance per year. But if Reese and the current board members have their way, soon, Hancock County children will have opportunities throughout the year to embrace music, art and live theatre.
“We think we’ve found a grant writer who will help us acquire funding for additional programs,” says Reese. “There’s so much more we’d like to do. For instance, we have a complete puppet theatre and we’d like to do shows with it.”
In the past, MAP has even taken children on field trips to professional performances in New Orleans, an experience new and astonishing to most of them. And when the board was larger, the group put on multiple shows each year.
“Currently, we have five board members,” Reese says. “We’re putting out a call and want to get back to seven. With additional funding and more help, we can really expand.”
On September 10th, the board is hosting a membership drive at the Waveland Community Center. For the price of a $15 membership, attendees will receive a free buffet dinner, hear information about the program and be treated to performances by some of the participants. New members will also have the opportunity to volunteer for future programs and events (for more information, call Sandy Reese at 228.332.0090).
Reese points to the broad community support already in place. Corporate sponsors like the Silver Slipper and Compton Engineering have been mainstays, while the community theatres across the coast have been extremely helpful.
“There’s a great spirit of cooperation between all the groups. The Gulfport Little Theatre has been especially helpful.”
The current performance director is Bonnie Hoeg, Gulfport school teacher and a veteran director at the Gulfport Little Theatre. Reese calls her “extremely talented” and says that she does a remarkable job. Reese also has high praise for the art teacher for the program this year, Ann Steinmetz. Betty Patecek is a founding member, who served as costume coordinator in the most recent productions, working with many creative people in the community to put together a show-stopping wardrobe.
Reese believes the most rewarding part of volunteering with MAP is seeing children who have had no real exposure to art or performance blossom. Like Simba in "The Lion King," they gain confidence with experience. By the end of the program, the children have found a new place in the Circle of Life.
This former Bay St. Louis councilman shines as a local chef and a member of the legendary St. Rose de Lima choir. However, behind the scenes, he's quietly working for a better community - all with a song in his heart.
- story by Pat Saik, photos courtesy Charles Johnson and Ellis Anderson
The Dog Days of August
What do dogs think about during the summer when it's too hot to go outside and play? Daisy Mae, columnist and seizure-alert dog, clues us in.
Your words give me much to think about. One thing that I ponder on is how utterly dependent you humans are on us when you express yourselves. References to animals are ingrained in your day-to-day commun
Now as for you humans and your inclination to mess with our heads, it is my belief that you spend an inordinate amount of time dressing us up, putting odd things on our bodies and taking photos. Flattering to get the attention but strange behavior for us to behold and endure. I found this video on YouTube that highlights Halloween costumes.
Now as for you humans and your inclination to mess with our heads, it is my belief that you spend an inordinate amount of time dressing us up, putting odd things on our bodies and taking photos. Flattering to get the attention but strange behavior for us to behold and endure. I found this video on YouTube that highlights Halloween costumes.
Look at the faces on the pets and the people. Who seems to be having the most fun? Who are the adults here? Wow! This is fun. On behalf of my fellow named animals I’m feeling pretty important. We really are the center of your world.
Here are a few tips you may want to follow. I am making sure that I do not go out in the heat of the day. When I do go out I pick a spot with shade or I do not venture out. I don’t wear shoes, so pavement is hot! Walks early and after sunset are all my feet can handle.
If I can’t go into a building I refuse to be left in the car. A girl could get in heat stroke territory or worse in just a few minutes. I drink plenty of water, changed frequently during the day. Groady grows quick in warm water. I get an allergy bath once a week and a good daily brushing. Then there is always the pool!
We All Scream For Ice Cream
Join us as we visit five local establishment serving frozen desserts, sampling homemade gelatos, sorbets and ice creams in gourmet flavors, as well as frozen yogurt, root beer floats Dipping Dots. But hurry, before it melts.
- story and photos by Lisa Monti, additional photos, Ellis Anderson
“I just use all natural ingredients, basically cream, sugar and fruit or cheese,” Moynan said, making something so delicious sound so simple.
No matter the temperature or season, customers happily end their meals with an ice cream or a sorbet for dessert. “Sometimes we’ll sell ice cream like crazy in the winter months. It doesn’t have to be a special time year. It’s just a special treat,” she said.
At Sycamore House Restaurant (210 Main St.), the homemade ice cream is billed as fresh flavors of the moment and the offerings are generously varied: creole cream cheese, mint chocolate chip, coffee, blueberry, roasted marshmallow, peach buttermilk, salted caramel.
One scoop or two? A taste test of all the flavors didn’t bring on brain freeze, but did set off an avalanche of adjectives. Tart buttermilk peach. Salty-sweet caramel. Richly satisfying cream cheese. Robust coffee. One taste and it becomes your favorite. Until the next taste. And the next. Pick any one of these treats and you can’t go wrong.
Sycamore House customers too full after their meal are known to come back just for something sweet. Enjoy a bowl on the porch, in the dining room, or at the small bar if there’s room.
When a restaurant calls itself a creperie, you know it’s serious about dessert. And for a small place (25 seats), Cannella International Creperie & More (1113 U.S. 90) packs a lot into the menu, including four gelato and four sorbet flavors.
“The gelato and sorbet we make ourselves,” said Roberto Zito, who owns Cannella with wife Toni. You can order either with the made-fresh crepes or alongside the baked apple dessert, but Roberto said, “the gelato is so good, most people enjoy it by itself.”
The current gelato menu lists espresso, pistachio honey ricotta (just-right richness and chunky), cioccolato, bourbon creme brûlée with the right amount of sweetness and espresso gelato. Sorbet flavors are blood orange ginger, a refreshingly tart limoncello, mango lime chile with a spicy kick and tasty red berry Prosecco.
Order one, two and three scoops served in a cup or in a large waffle cone.
The flavors change periodically because customers and the owners like the variety. “We eat it, too!” said Toni.
Cypress Cafe (300 South Second St.) is the place to get the futuristic Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream, those tiny spheres of ice cream that melt away to creamy goodness in your mouth. One popular flavor is Cookies ’n Cream studded with generous chunks of Oreos. The cafe also sells Chocolate, Rainbow, Strawberry and sometimes Mint Chocolate. The dots are scooped out of containers held in a special freezer and served by the cupful. Lots of cups.
Chef Sherry Prater says students from the nearby schools are huge fans of Dippin’ Dots and they come in regularly for their favorite flavors. “You don’t want to run out,” said the chef. “You should see those disappointed little faces.”
Grownup ice cream fans lean more toward Cypress Cafe’s vanilla served atop a chocolate chip brownie, crowned with whipped cream, chocolate caramel and Prater’s praline-candied pecans.
Over at Purple Banana (300 South Second St.), cool treats come in eight flavors of frozen yogurt and more than 40 toppings. Do the math. Or rather, work your way through the standard selections of self-serve froyo - vanilla, strawberry, cheesecake, cake batter and triple chocolate - or go for the seasonal offerings of cappuccino, tangerine mango and butter pecan (if you’re remembering something you had that was minty, that probably was last holiday season).
Picking toppings can be a little challenging, just because there are so many delicious choices: coconut, pecans, chocolate chip, Oreos, Butter Fingers, and many more. Enjoy your frozen yogurt in cups or cones (waffle and small sugar cones). At the cash register, guess the weight of your serving and it's free if you're right!
Sauvignon Blanc: the White Wine World's Wild Younger Sister
When my younger sister turned 21, I flew her down to Mississippi, gave her a $200 limit at the local wine store and cut her loose.
The goal? Start her on her way to developing her wine palate. We spent the next few days staying up way too late (as sisters do) and sampling everything under the sun. We began with beginner-friendly Riesling - universally palatable and sweet, moved through Pinot Grigio and then entered my wheelhouse: Sauvignon Blanc.
She was in love, and I could not have been more proud.
The name Sauvignon Blanc translates to "wild white"; long ago, it grew native in the hills of southwest France. Today, it is grown in maritime and continental climates, with a total of over 275,000 Sauvignon Blanc acres planted worldwide. That's almost 430 square miles, y'all. This is a very popular varietal. Most famous are the Sauvignon Blancs coming out of France, New Zealand and California. The growing climates there create longer growing seasons, which allow for slow ripening, flavor concentration and appropriate sugar/acid balance.
That balance is a delicate tightrope to walk. Ask any Sauvignon Blanc critic and they will almost always claim that these wines are too 'pucker'-y for their palate. This is why I love the wine world. They aren't wrong; the acid in some SB's can be assertive. The trick, as with any wine in any category, is to find the ratio that appeals to your individual palate.
Luckily, these 'wild white' wines range in flavor profile from strongly herbaceous and grassy to richly tropical and round. Cooler maritime climates like New Zealand, Bordeaux and coastal California create fruit forward wines with brilliant, zesty acidity. These wines burst with grapefruit, lime and green apple notes. They are youthful, playful and clean, and are one of the only wines out there that truly pairs well with sushi.
A note on French Bordeaux: Sauvignon Blanc-based wines from Bordeaux are traditionally called White Bordeaux. While White Bordeaux can be 100% Sauvignon Blanc, there are three primary grape varietals that are allowed to be used to make White Bordeaux: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. When shopping this category, note that blends primarily featuring Sauvignon Blanc will be more bright and citrusy, whereas Semillion-based blends will be richer and creamier.
Back in the USA, in warmer continental climates such as central California, Sauvignon Blancs take on flavors of ripe peach and passion fruit. Some of these New World wines have taken on the name Fume Blanc, referring to the smokey notes added to the wines by the slate and limestone soils. In my experience, these rounder, more full-bodied Fume Blancs tend to be more appealing to those consumers who typically go for Chardonnay.
Time to address the elephant in the room: many Sauvignon Blanc wines are sealed with screw-tops. Some consumers dismiss any wine with a screw-top as inferior. This is a mistake. Screw-tops act very similarly to mason jar tops: they create a tight, reliable seal that preserves the wine up to three times longer than a traditional cork. Additionally, a cork tree takes 31-43 years before the bark can be harvested to make decent wine corks. Screw-tops provide an environmentally friendly alternative, particularly in areas where recycling the bottle is an option.
Here's my pitch, guys: it's hot. It's really, really hot. When a lemonade won't cut it and a beer is too heavy, Sauvignon Blanc is here to save the day. It has the acid to cut through the richness of trout almondine, the citrus to accent charbroiled oysters, the crispness to highlight clean sushi, and it's amazing on its own, no cellaring required. From tacos to shrimp po'boys, you simply cannot go wrong with this wine.
My own wild little sister agrees with me. When she got married, it was 110 degrees outside. We sweated our way through set up and rehearsal, watched the lovely couple say their vows and then broke open several cases of, yep, you guessed it: Sauvignon Blanc.
Steal: SeaGlass Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Barbara, CA. Complex tropical flavors, crisp acidity.
Deal: Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ. Zesty, aromatic grapefruit; elegant.
Splurge: Chateau Haut Rian Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Bordeaux A/C. Crisp minerality; balanced.
The Company of Trees
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet the oldest tree in Bay St. Louis. She’s registered under the name Ouida Sue. Who knows what she calls herself? Ouida Sue is estimated to be 540 years old.
It’s hard to imagine the coast when that tree was a sapling. Columbus hadn’t stumbled onto this hemisphere yet. Humans didn’t even know there were such things as hemispheres. Buffalo still roamed right here in Hancock County. We know that because the explorer Bienville’s men hunted them in 1699, when Ouida Sue was a mere 223 years old.
This is a tree with some stories to tell. And maybe someday, humans will be able to understand her language.
Chelsea Cure + Kevin Schaumburg
Valena Cecilia McArthur Jones
- by Rebecca Orfila
As recalled by Beverly Jacques Anderson, PhD., in her 2011 book, Cherished Memories, the motto of the Valena C. Jones Normal School in New Orleans was “Providing physical, mental, moral, and social training for every child; helping him to stand firm under the pressures of life.” Those same standards were exhibited by the school’s namesake during the difficult times of school and social segregation and the limited number of educational opportunities for African-Americans. Despite the spare working opportunities for women in general, Valena Cecelia MacArthur Jones, a Bay St. Louis native, made the best of the circumstances and became a well-respected educator and community leader in Bay St. Louis and New Orleans.
While her name is recognizable to many, it may not be known that as a woman of mixed heritage, Valena Jones served as teacher, principal, editor, and mother during a period of racial segregation in the South. Born on August 3, 1872 to Eldridge and Henrietta (Knight) MacArthur of Shieldsborough, Valena was teaching in rural schools in Hancock County by the time she turned eighteen (1890). In 1892, she graduated from Straight College, a historically black college founded by the American Missionary Association and operated from 1868 until 1934 in New Orleans. The school eventually merged with New Orleans University to form Dillard University.
After her marriage, Valena helped her husband edit and publish the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a periodical of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Three years following her death in 1917, Rev. Robert E. Jones, Valena’s husband, was elected Bishop of the New Orleans Area (central Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas).
Three centers of education and spirituality were named in her honor since her death: Valena C. Jones School in New Orleans and Bay St. Louis, and the Valena C. Jones United Methodist Church on Sycamore Street in Bay St. Louis.
The 1918 school was the first structure named in honor of Valena Jones. Due to its growing enrollment, the small school was replaced in 1929 with an impressive brick, three-story structure. According to the Chicago World issue of November 2, 1929, the school was “named after Mrs. Valena MacArthur Jones, formerly a teacher in the public school system in recognition of her outstanding ability as a teacher and for her uplifting influences among the people of her race.”
Back in Bay St. Louis, St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church provided religious education to the black population and was originally located on Washington Street in Bay St. Louis. The first structure was replaced in 1922 with a larger church. Built in 1880 to provide religious education and support for blacks in the area, growing attendance levels required the construction of a larger church in 1922.
Daniels waited impatiently until he turned six to attend Valena C. Jones Public School in Bay St. Louis. Daniels attended from first through tenth grades, the highest level attainable at the school. Following Jones School, he attended St. Rose and completed his high school graduation with the class of 1931. While reminiscing, he praised his English teacher, Grace Claudia Jones Minor, one of Valena Jones’ daughters.
Mrs. Jones died in New Orleans in 1917. She was interred in Greenwood Cemetery. The grave is unmarked but can be found in Plot 515, Pine Cedar Aloe, Daughters of Louisiana, Gravesite 5.
If anyone has more information about Valena C. Jones and would like to add to the historical record of her life, please contact us at email@example.com.
INFINITY Education Mission Gets Major Boost
- story and photos by Ana Balka
If you live in Hancock County, Mississippi, you know about this: on June 16, 2016, a gigantic piece of space flight hardware traveled 40 miles on water from Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans East to Stennis Space Center for the second time in its life.
The first time was four and a half decades ago. This time, the Saturn V S-1C booster proceeded from Stennis via I-10 to its new home up the road at INFINITY Science Center.
A chorus of frogs creates a familiar soundtrack as the 42-meter (138-foot) long, 10-meter diameter S-1C rolls into view in this video.
Talk of the Town
“We’re hoping that big icon of the S-1C will attract attention,” said Haise, now one of INFINITY’s board of directors’ most hands-on members. Haise anticipates the selective clearing of more land on the approach to INFINITY to increase visibility and lure more visitors from the 8.5 million cars that pass the Center each year.
(We’ll follow up next month with more about my conversation with Mr. Haise, with whom I spoke just as this article was going to press.)
The S-1C requires complete restoration; originally tested for flight at Stennis in 1970, it returned to the Michoud facility upon cancellation of the Apollo program, and has sat unprotected from the elements since 1978. The S-1C will be assessed, restored, and housed in an enclosed structure in view of I-10 traffic in what will be a new wing of the INFINITY campus, unnamed as of yet but slated to be dedicated to Apollo program history.
You can’t see examples like this of the S-1C just anywhere. Three complete Saturn V restored rockets are on display in the U.S.: one at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, one at Johnson Space Center in Houston, and one at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. There are no parts left to build another complete Saturn V. As for the huge F-1 engines you see on the S-1C, “There aren’t many of these left, except those attached to the Saturn V,” Dumoulin explains, since their job was to be discarded after use.
This being a complete, ready-to-go booster, I asked whether visitors might eventually get to see the inner workings. Dumoulin pointed high up on the side, to some panels that could be accessible by future walkway. “We envision being able to take some of those panels off, lighting on the inside to let you look at those inner tanks, the ribbings, the struts, and stays that are up in there to see how it’s all put together.”
Proposals include a collections room for memorabilia and smaller items, and a records room for research on the Apollo program, especially as pertains to this area. Documents obtained as people retire from Stennis and the Michoud Assembly Facility contain information that libraries don’t have, with which there is potential “to build a collection that is unique, from a Gulf Coast, Mississippi, MAF/Stennis perspective, that you might not see in the Smithsonian,” Dumoulin says. An Apollo 4 capsule now at Stennis will also be brought over for display, as well as Apollo artifacts currently in the Space Mezzanine area of the building.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) vehicles, currently under development and designed for flight to Mars, will be built at MAF and tested at Stennis, also providing a unique opportunity for INFINITY to show continuity between the Apollo and Mars stories through the eyes of the Gulf Coast.
“One advantage we have over any other museum,” Fred Haise said, “is we have a reservoir of some of the greatest technical experts in the country.” INFINITY works with teams from NASA, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, from companies like Rolls Royce and contractors like Lockheed.
The thought, he says, is to get working groups from the various entities working with INFINITY together periodically to review the exhibits and tell the Center what should be updated. “We can take advantage of those smarts. No other museum in the country I know of would have that locally.”
Dumoulin and I discussed the S-1C and developments at INFINITY in part while walking—then jogging, and finally running back to the building as rain began falling—on the Center’s Biome Boardwalk, an oasis of plants and wildlife between INFINITY’s building and I-10. Here, visitors will be able to view the far side of the S-1C from an observation deck currently under construction, and can traverse 1,400 feet of diverse habitats including lowland pine, pitcher plant bogs, bayhead swamps, and upland savannah. The boardwalk is designed in the shape of a lemniscate or an analemma, like the INFINITY logo itself.
Moneys from Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) fines—which went to the state and then to a number of state-proposed restoration projects—funded Biome Boardwalk, new electric vehicles for INFINITY’s 6-mile round-trip Possum Walk tram tours, and some of the indoor exhibits soon to open.
These funds will go to create two classrooms to augment the five that exist now—one “wet,” with a laboratory, and one that might also be used for events. Also, a domed digital theater will seat approximately 60 people in reclining chairs for viewing films made especially for the structure.
August is a big month for INFINITY and its visitors: the plan is to open four new exhibits at the same time, sometime between the middle of August and summer’s end. In the Hurricane Prediction Lab, participants will build hurricanes and “launch” them toward targets to teach how parameters make up hurricanes. An Environmental Monitoring exhibit will look at the different ways we monitor things like water, air, and river quality, river flow, and other environmental factors; an exhibit called “Wetlands Pachinko” uses a Japanese gambling game in which balls are sent tumbling through vertical arrays of pins as an analogy for the way wetlands filter out different particulates.
The fourth (and possibly most “gripping”) exhibit features carnivorous plants like the Yellow Pitcherplant, indigenous to our area and which visitors will actually be able to feed mealworms. The plants, incidentally, will be rotated between a large, airy new indoor greenhouse close to the entrance and one that is soon to be constructed outdoors for optimum plant health.
The main floor holds the Omega Flight Simulator, described as a “high tech thrill ride” in which you can experience the thrill of flight in a moving, high-definition theater. “Swamps to Space” shows Stennis Space Center’s beginnings in the marshes of Hancock County, along with recognition of the area towns displaced when the government invoked eminent domain in 1961. There is even a binder with listings of all the people who sold property in Stennis’s buffer zone.
Upstairs in the Space Gallery is a Shuttle flight deck with landing simulator and a mock-up of the International Space Station’s Destiny module, not to mention model planes, a moon rock, real space suits, and a mid-century recreation of German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun’s fabled office that once overlooked Stennis from the tower on the space center’s campus.
The main floor also holds an inflatable dome where the Center shows films at intervals, as a precursor to the domed theater that will be in the new wing. I filed in (four at a time, so as not to deflate the dome) with a group of Boys’ and Girls’ Club kids who had to leave five minutes later because they’d neglected to mention to any adults present that their bus was leaving, as kids will do. I admit being bummed for them that they had to miss “We Choose Space,” a short history of space flight, although those who chaperone herds of middle school students are the unsung heroes among us.
That’s a great thing about INFINITY Science Center. There is appeal and inspiration here for groups, individuals, families, experts, and novices of all ages, and the Center is growing and changing quickly. Keep an eye on INFINITY’s website for news of exhibit openings and progress with construction on the S-1C housing and Apollo wing, and visit often. It’s a resource that is not in every backyard.
Sidewalks of the Future
The city of Waveland has been awarded a $100,000 sidewalk-planning grant by the Gulf Regional Planning Commission to design sidewalks north of the selected railroad tracks in Waveland.
This grant only requires Waveland to match $20,000 towards the design of the sidewalks. The money is designated for Nicholson Avenue, Old Spanish Trail, Jeff Davis Avenue, Saint Joseph Street, and Herlihy Street.
What's Up, Waveland?
New Efforts to Cleanup Blighted Properties
Mr. Siebenkittle will continue overseeing litter control and court-ordered community service, but will take on the additional responsibility of correcting blighted properties. Don has successfully enhanced the beauty of Waveland by removing over 600 dumped tires from within Waveland city limits and supervising over 4,200 court-ordered community service hours during the past year, to name just a few of his efforts. Beautification is Don’s forte, and I believe he will do a superb job tackling this new task.
I have already expressed my concerns regarding derelict slabs that are hampering the full potential of several neighborhoods. Over the next several months, I hope to see Waveland more aggressively address these blighted properties. If you have any blighted properties that you are concerned about, please contract Don Siebenkittel, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Mayor Mike Smith, email@example.com.
Waveland Business of the Year
Waveland Building Report
An Exemplary School Librarian
- by Carole McKellar
Educators have enormous influence on their students, which can affect the course of a child’s life. Instilling a love of words and stories is one of the most positive, life-long gifts someone can give a child. School librarians are not teachers of a particular classroom, but they are definitely educators.
Librarians are also information specialists encouraging literacy across the school curriculum. Research shows that a strong school library program leads to higher student achievement. A print-rich environment leads to more voluntary reading, which is an excellent predictor of comprehension, vocabulary growth, spelling, grammatical ability and writing style.
During her first year at BHS, Cindy started a Bay High Book Club, which boasts 30 members. According to Cindy, club membership is casual, and students are free to decide which books they would like to read and discuss. Cindy initially envisioned a book list generated by the students, but found that they wanted her suggestions. In typical fashion, Cindy employed all of her book review tools—Booklist, Hornbook,book awards, blogs, etc—to make sure she chose books that had the best chance of engaging the students. The list reads like a Who’s Who of the best YA authors:
“Young Elites” by Marie Lu
“Paper Towns” by John Green
“Where I Want to Be” by Adele Griffin
“1984” by George Orwell
“Unwind” by Neal Shusterman
“Unbroken” (Young Adult Adaptation) by Laura Hillenbrand
“We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart
“Shipbreaker” by Paulo Bacigalupi
“Midwinter Blood” by Marcus Sedgwick
“Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein
Cindy initiated Library Orientation classes this year which included instruction for using the MAGNOLIA databases. MAGNOLIA is a statewide consortium funded by the Mississippi Legislature which provides online research databases for publicly funded K-12 schools, public libraries, and college libraries. Knowing how to properly conduct research is more complicated than merely typing a topic into Google. Librarians are uniquely qualified to guide students through the use of information technology.
Another focus is improving the appearance of the Bay High Library. According to Cindy, “There are so many talented artists at Bay High, and I’ve displayed their artwork throughout the library. I hope more students will contribute work so we have revolving exhibits through the year.”
In a collaboration between the art department and the library, students painted a large canvas copy of Gustav Klimt’s "The Kiss" which brightens the library with its intense colors. Artwork from the Digital Media class is also on display.
Cindy is active in professional organizations including the the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. For the past three years, Cindy has made presentations at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi.
She is currently chairing the Mississippi Library Association committee for grades 9-12 that oversees the Magnolia Book Awards, a children’s choice award. Information about the award, including nominations and voting, can be found at the end of this article.
Cindy is a friend as well as a member of my book club, The Bay Book Babes. She is married to Joe Williams, a math teacher at Bay High who is also a gourmet cook. Our book club looks forward to the feast he prepares for us each summer. The book we read that month doesn’t really matter. Cindy and Joe have 2 daughters, Jessica and Cecilia.
An appreciation for books is a basic requirement for a librarian. Cindy Williams is a dedicated reader, and her enthusiasm for literature inspires her students. I love to talk books with her and want to share some of her thoughts on books and writers.
I used to read only one book at a time, but I’ve recently read five books at once! I just finished “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys, “The Serpent King” by Jeff Zentner, “A Girl Named Mister” by Nikki Grimes. I’m currently reading “The Story of a New Name” by Elena Ferrantes, and “Honeydew” by Edith Pearlman.
Who are your favorite writers of adult fiction? YA fiction? Children's book writer?
Adults: Barbara Kingsolver, Jodi Piccoult, Ann Patchett, Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, Stephen King, John Irving
YA: John Green, David Levithan, Libba Bray, Laurie Halse Anderson, Philip Pullman, Marcus Sedgwick, Maggie Stiefvater, Maureen Johnson
Children’s: Jerry Spinelli, Natalie Babbitt, J.K. Rowling, Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, Nancy Springer, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Jennifer Holm, Kimberly Willis Holt, Brian Selznick
Who is your favorite Mississippi writer?
Donna Tartt – I loved “The Secret History”.
What is the last book you read that made you laugh? Made you cry?
Laugh – “I Feel Bad About my Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” by Nora Ephron and everything by David Sedaris. I love him!
Cry – “The Serpent King” by Jeff Zentner (a new YA novel)
What kind of reader were you as a child?
My penchant for books began early. I loved picture books and, even before I could read, I would pore over the illustrations for hours in my bedroom. When the rest of my family was watching TV, I would be in my room lost in a book.
Some of my earlier favorites were “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton, “The Pokey Little Puppy” (a Golden book), “White Snow, Bright Snow” by Alvin Tresselt, and “The Bear’s Vacation” by Jan and Stan Berenstain.
The first time I was allowed to purchase a book of my own was at a school book fair, and I chose “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh. Other childhood favorites were the “Anne of Green Gables” series, the “Little House on the Prairie” series, “The Secret Garden”, “A Little Princess” and “Charlotte’s Web."
Everyone asks me about my school libraries growing up, but I don’t have a lot of fond memories of them because students weren’t allowed much time to visit them. My mother always took me to our public library where I had hours to browse and really explore books. Mysteries and historical fiction were my favorite.
Name the book(s) that made you who you are today? (not necessarily professionally, but personally as well.)
That is a tough question. I think ALL of the books I’ve read have made me who I am today. I’m a person who loves books and stories. I love being a librarian because I am immersed in book culture every day. I’m surrounded by books. I read books. I read about books. I get to share all that I know and love about books with other people. It makes me very happy. I really love my profession!
What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?
Because I have such huge stacks of books-to-be-read, there are very few books that I’ve ever read more than once. “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White are a few that come to mind.
Of course, when I was an Elementary School Librarian and did read-alouds, there were certain picture books I would always return to. Here are just a few that come to mind: “Duck on a Bike” by David Shannon (His new one is finally coming out in September, “Duck on a Tractor”), “Miss Rumphius" by Barbara Cooney, “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton, “The Little Old Lady who was not Afraid of Anything” by Linda Williams, and “I Ain’t Gonna Paint no More” by Karen Beaumont.
You're hosting a dinner with/for writers. Who's invited?
John Green, David Levithan, Kate DiCamillo, Marcus Sedgwick, Jon Scieszka, Libba Bray, Maggie Stiefvater, Brian Selznick, Maureen Johnson.
What do you plan to read next?
“BFG” by Roald Dahl because I want to see the movie, and I always like to read the book first!
There are 4 categories for the award: K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Books may be suggested by any adults in Mississippi. The deadline for book suggestions is September 30.
The committees then read all suggested books and make a short-list of books for nomination. During the year, librarians across the state promote these nominated titles and encourage students to vote for their favorites. Librarians then submit student votes in February. Winners are announced at the Children’s Book Festival at USM in Hattiesburg in April.
The 2017 Nominations can be found on the link above as well as instructions and criteria for submitting book titles for the 2018 awards.
A Floor to Explore
- by Martha Whitney Butler
As I ascended the stairs to the third floor of Bay Emporium on Second Street in the sweltering summer heat, I didn't know what to expect.
The last time I had crossed the threshold, things were in the works. I was so enchanted by an old haunting photograph of a Woodmen of the World event hanging on the bottom floor that I all but begged owner Vicki Niolet to let me up there.
It was marvelous.
Our Lady Oak
- photos courtesy OLA
Our Lady Oak, a prominent live oak tree on the Our Lady Academy campus was struck by lightning on March 11, 2016.
To some it may seem like just a tree, but to the students and faculty at Our Lady Academy it was tradition. It was estimated to have been two-hundred-fifty years old and was put on the Historical Tree Registry in 2014.
“Lots of hurricanes blew through the area during my 30+ years at OLA,” says Our Lady Academy Former President and Principal, Sister Jackie Howard.
On the Shoofly
“Two were significant - Elena and Katrina. In both cases, the tree was stripped bare - no Spanish moss, no leaves, just bare branches. It looked so pitiful! Both times I called an arborist at MSU and hired him to come down and evaluate the tree. Both times, it was declared sound. Both times it came back.”
Unfortunately, this time was different. Half of the tree had fallen due to the damage caused by the strike. After consulting many arborists, the decision to remove the tree was made in regard to the safety of the students and faculty members. The tree had suffered not only external damages from the lightning but also internal damages from decaying after so many years.
Our Lady Oak was an important aspect to Our Lady Academy. “Many generations of women lived, laughed, cried, prayed, and studied under its branches. Our Lady Oak was always there to welcome us long after we graduated. Just like our ties to OLA, the trees roots go deep,” says Our Lady Academy alumnae Shannon Collins.
In proper Our Lady Academy fashion, there was a prayer ceremony to honor and say goodbye to the tree. “When we came back from spring break the tree was gone, but the light shone even brighter at Our Lady Academy,” says OLA Principal Darnell Cuevas.
Our Lady Oak will be missed.
An Out-of-This-World Second Saturday
- by Grace Wilson
Saturday, August 13
Over the past two decades, the Second Saturday Artwalk has become one of the most popular monthly community events in the entire region. Gallery openings, shop and restaurant specials and live music make the streets of town swirl with a fun family energy. While things are lively all day, the music and specials take place from 4 - 8pm.
Each month, two "Hot Spot" businesses take the limelight. This month, Antique Maison (200 Main Street) and Gourmet Galley (111 Main Street are featured. Make sure to stop by and congratulate them! Scroll down to read more about them!
This Second Saturday column
"Embrace Space" Details
Shops on the first block of Main will be serving Moon Pies and non-alcoholic Space Punch, and hosting a Martian & Astronaut costume contest at 4:30pm, with prizes for top three winners.
On the second block, merchants will focus on Fashion of the Future, with a Caftans In Space Block Party, so wear your most best Star Trek attire. There'll be an Interstellar Photo Booth at Smith & Lens Gallery (106 S. 2nd Street), along with a pop-up show on their patio of paintings and pottery by Catie Daniel.
Many stores will offer discounts to NASA and INFINITY employees with IDs to show appreciation for local people involved with space exploration.
The Social Mosaic performs at the Mockingbird Café (110 South Second Street) from 6pm - 9pm.
111 N. Second Street
After Katina destroyed their bridal, tuxedo and costume business, the couple doubled down on investing in Bay St. Louis. Today they are proud that Antique Maison, on the same site as their former store Bon Temps Rouler, is one of the Bay's largest antique malls with over 40 dealers in 7,000 square feet of space.
Each visit to Antique Maison leads to a new treasure hunt. The booths are as unique as the vendors themselves. One stall will feel like an antique ship's quarters and the next may look like a set of 1970's sitcom.
Shabby chic finds sit along side contemporary original art, often staged in a way shoppers can see how old and new pieces can fit together in their own home. In addition to local artwork and fine furniture, visitors can find endless home decor items, jewelry, books, tools and collectibles from all eras.
If a whirl around the winding rooms of Antique Maison leaves you empty handed, chances are you'll find what you're looking for in the another one of the Bay's mega antique stores, Antique Maison Ulman Mall & Tea Room, which is a sister store only a few blocks away, also owned and operated by the Youngs. Vacationers will be interested to know the couple also runs a holiday rental, "In the Heart of Old Town."
For a couple that contemplated retiring just a few short years ago, the Youngs are busier than ever, always filling needs they see in the Bay St. Louis community.
111 Main Street
“It was one of those random things, Diaz said. “I always wanted to open a store and my mother-in-law ran a stationary store called You Are Invited on Main Street. The space next door came open and I jumped on it.”
Today the huge picture windows of the former real estate office are filled with Gourmet Galley’s kitchen items and gadgets.
“I’ve always loved to entertain and cook,” Diaz said. “The shop is a perfect fit for me and Bay St. Louis.”
Diaz enjoys lots of repeat local business and visitors that come back again and again. “I’m so thankful to all my customers, especially those who come in and holiday shop with me every year,” Diaz said. “It’s nice to have a good following.”
Even the name Gourmet GALLEY (not Gallery) is a perfect fit for a kitchen shop just steps from the Bay St. Louis marina. “Being coastal I was thinking of the whole play on the galley being a boat kitchen,” Diaz said.
Shoppers will find familiar names like Le Creuset, find new gadgets and fun designers of glassware and tea towels like Catsudio and unique utensils by Dreamfarm.
Local artists like Dana Whittman and Candice Mannino do pottery for Gourmet Galley. There’s restored furniture from an artist in Gulfport.
There are always new things to be found in this bright at airy Main Street shop and plenty of local staples like Mississippi made salad dressings and snacks.
Diaz keeps on gourmet kitchen trends by going to markets in Atlanta and scouring catalogs to bring her customers new fun finds for their kitchen.
Whether it’s a hostess gift or a little something to make your inner chef or entertainer happy, Gourmet Galley has something for every taste.
A Beach Trolley Excursion
- photos by Ellis Anderson
By now, you’ve seen the CTA Beach Trolley making the 60-minute loop from Silver Slipper Casino, along Beach Boulevard, through Old Town and back to the casino.
Watching the beachfront and store fronts go by from inside the comfortable green trolley is a carefree and fare-free excursion and a handy way to travel. Whether you have a destination in mind - restaurants, shops, the casino floor - or just want to relax, ride and take in the sights - the Beach Trolley is the way to go.
Beach to Bayou
There were locals with a swirl of small children who stowed a red wagon and stroller behind the driver’s seat for the duration of the ride. When the trolley reached their starting point at Nicholson Avenue, the group stepped off, red wagon in tow.
CTA describes the Beach Trolley as a stroll along Hancock County’s coastline. Get on board and enjoy the leisurely ride. The service is available through September, when a decision to continue the free trolley rides will be made.
The trolley runs Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
Take one of the most interesting buildings in Old Town Bay St. Louis, paint the sides with colorful murals and after one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history, invite two-dozen artists in to show their work. The owners of Gallery 220 did just that and over the past eleven years, the artists’ co-op has built a reputation for being one of the coolest creative centers on the coast.
The pair were one of the first businesses to open their doors in 2005 after the unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The building sustained less damage than most in the town, so the couple hurriedly mucked it out and threw open the doors for the September Second Saturday – less than three weeks after the monster storm.
The spirits of dazed residents, astonished volunteers and shell-shocked artists were revived by the event, so for many months, every Saturday was Second Saturday. The community had one place to find respite and encouragement. Any artist who had wares to sell were welcomed. Gallery 220 was born.
Potter and sculptor Regan Carney is one of the original members of Gallery 220. She maintains her own working clay studio (Bay Artists Coop) in the Depot District, nd calls the gallery “my showroom.”
And quite the showroom it is. One of the only art deco style buildings in Bay St. Louis, it has high ceilings, lots of natural light and hand-painted floors. As a co-op, the business philosophy adds another layer of interest.
“This place operates differently than a conventional gallery,” says Carney. “We respect each other’s space and each other’s art work. We learn to work as a group. Since we don’t have a central person to handle display, it’s in all our best interests to keep the gallery looking fresh and engaging.”
“It’s not a pretentious place at all. Everybody has the opportunity to arrange their work and present it in a very personable way, rather than deal with something that’s highly structured.”
Several artists have been part of the nucleus for years: Janet Densmore, Spencer Gray, Jr., Michelle Allee, Regan’s husband, Mark Buszkiewicz and jewelers Sid and Pam Yoder. Some of the established members also teach, so they share information about workshops. Barbara Brodtmann, Janet Densmore, Jo Slay and Carney all give classes, some at the gallery itself.
“It provides an opportunity for entry level artists to learn some of the basics of presenting and selling their work,” Carney says. “They learn the fundamentals of professionalism.”
And the newest member of the Gallery 220 is taking advantage of that fact. Holly Boynes is a ceramics artist living in Chalmette. Drawn to art her entire life, she graduated Nichols State University in 2013 with a degree in fine arts. Currently, she’s focusing on hand-built teapots and wall-hangings based on flowers like tiger lilies, cherry blossoms and sunflowers.
While Boyne has a solid education in technique, she’s finding the camaraderie and support from other gallery artists beneficial.
“Although I do crafts shows, I’ve never worked in a gallery before,” says Boyne. “This is brand new to me. But everyone’s friendly and they help each other. I’m getting to know people’s art and their stories, while learning the ins and outs of the business of art. “
“They were extraordinarily instrumental in helping me out,” Carney says. “They helped me sell my work, take care of business and set up a fund to help cover medical costs.”
Carney says the group hosts at least one charity fund-raiser event a year. Recently, coop members held a benefit to help a fellow artist who’s currently going through chemo-therapy.
“We celebrate each others' successes. When we hit low spots, we try to pull each other up. Everyone benefits.
"Even our customers,” she adds, smiling.
- Michelle Allee Painter
- Tracy Bennett Potter
- Scott Blackwell Artist/Screenprinter
- Holly Boynes Ceramics
- Barbara Brodtmann Watercolor
- Mark Buszkiewicz Potter
- Regan Carney Potter
- P. Chris Christofferson Photographer
- Mark Currier Photographer
- Janet Densmore Artist
- Sandra Epton Landscape paintings
- Spencer Gray, Jr. Artist
- Dave Holt NOLA Beauxties
- Amy Kramer Painter
- Judy Lee Potter
- Nancy Lowentritt Painter
- Pam Marshall Painter
- Jenise McCardell Clay Creations
- Julie Nelson Raku Potter
- Vicki Rosendahl Animal Sculpture
- Jo Slay Mosaics
- Herb Willey Painter
- Sid and Pam Yoder Jewelers
of the Shoofly
Across The Bridge
At Home In The Bay
Beach To Bayou
BSL Council Updates
Casting My Net
Coast Lines Column
Friends Of The Animal Shelter
Growing Up Downtown
House And Garden
Legends And Legacies
Mother Of Pearl
Murphy's Musical Notes
Old Town Merchants
On The Shoofly
Shore Thing Fishing Report
Talk Of The Town
The Eyes Have It