Aidan Pohl is a young singer/songwriter/musician from a talented family who grabs every opportunity to perform. He’s fresh out of the recording studio and is shopping around his new demo, hoping to make music his career.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ann Madden
Playing music isn’t new to Aidan - he’s being doing since he was a toddler when Santa brought him a tiny piano one year and a small drum set the next. He also took violin lessons at a young age and took piano lessons in elementary school, earning the highest marks in competitions. In addition to piano, he plays the ukulele and guitar.
You may have seen him with The Pohl Family band, playing in Old Town on Second Saturday. It features all of his siblings - Aubrey, Marion and Sadie - and dad, Richard. Their set list leans heavily toward bluegrass.
Aidan has also been a member of the WINGS Performing Arts Group at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. He entered the Bay High talent show every year and was named Most Talented his senior year. On a recent trip to New York for a Broadway audition, he drew a crowd at Grand Central Station while playing for a music promoter.
He's performed at the Mockingbird Cafe and other local and nearby venues and events. Recently he has been playing with the RENEW praise band at Main Street Methodist.
Songwriting, though, is something Aidan just started doing when he was attending college in New Mexico and found “an amazing music scene there.” The environment inspired him to write his own songs.
“I think moving away to New Mexico just had a big effect on me and part of it was feeling lot of things I never felt before that pushed me over the edge to write.”
In October he competed in Gulf Coast Idol, singing an original song. Judges compared him to Harry Chapin and other heavyweights and called his storytelling impeccable. He was voted a Fan Favorite winner with the second highest vote count.
Aidan finds the makings of songs just about everywhere. When he worked as a waiter at the Buttercup, he would use his iPhone to save ideas he got from his observations and interactions with customers. There were “endless notes of so many things” that lead him to write in lyrics.
His conversational lyrics have a “soft rock-ish” sound that falls somewhere between John Mayer’s songs and pop punk rock artists.
His favorite artist is Ed Sheeran, who’s singing/songwriting talents and performance skills he admires.
When Aidan resumes his studies in the spring at the University of Memphis, he’ll major in musical theater. And now that he’s got some songs recorded, he’s hoping to draw some attention in the professional music world so he can record more music with a band of his own and shoot video versions.
“I’m really ready to move to a city and play music on the street or wherever I can,” he says.
In this series, local naturalist and Zen explorer, James Inabinet, experiments with ways to consider the world from another living creature's perspective - and discovers a new way of seeing.
- by James Inabinet, PhD
Keen far-sightedness might be another. From an elevated perch, the hawk detects subtle movements in the field that betokens the presence of tiny beings, like the vibrations of a blade of grass– not rhythmic, wind-produced vibrations but the unique, irregular movements of grass blades that could only result from a moving living being.
Other gifts might be sharp, strong gripping claws that can grab a mouse or snake off the ground on the fly. These and other potentialities are brought into the world and made manifest when hawks simply go about hawking, by hawk-doing.
All hawks do not manifest these potentialities identically. Each individual hawk possesses a unique potentiality to manifest hawk gifts. One hawk may possess more patience and decide to perch longer than another – and get a meal because of it. Another hawk may be able to see better than another or have sharper or stronger claws. All hawks exhibit hawkness equally, but each according to individual potentialities.
I tried to imagine what I would see from the hawk perch. Viewing the field from that distance, I might see it more in its wholeness than a mouse does. The mouse is so close that all she sees is field parts, her nose touching everything she sees.
The distant hawk cannot see in this way; he might see the bird and not wings, claws, or beak, or the mouse and not legs, ears, or eyes, or the field itself and not goldenrods, fleabanes, or bluestems. Seeing in a hawk way, effectively removed from individual plants, I would not know them.
As I sit, I can easily imagine myself soaring above the land looking down, but the imagery seems ephemeral, not so easy to produce and even harder to hold onto.
After a minute my mind begins to wander with thoughts of home. I sit with closed-eyes in silent meditation for a few minutes, thinking of nothing, and try to return to the soaring above.
As I wonder what I see, I try to feel it as much as see it. I become increasingly immersed in the process; more complex images form; the imagery becomes easier to produce and hold. As I lose the sense of myself, I begin to imagine tree tops, pines, oaks, and magnolias, as splotches of color, mostly varied hues of green, but tinged with brown, red, and yellow here and there – it’s fall after all.
Panning around, I can see the snaking creek, mostly obscured by trees, but splotches of dirty white tell of sandy embankments along its edge. Sunlight catches on ripples reflecting brightly in the shape of asterisks [!]. The image is so real that I mentally blink under the intensity of the light.
After a while of sitting in this way, I am abruptly pulled from the reverie of soaring by the laugh of a pileated woodpecker just out of sight off to the southwest. It took a second or so to get my bearings. I remain fascinated for a moment by the flashing images of reflected sunlight on creek ripples.
I begin to consider, again, what the hawk might see, flying high above the land over the goldenrod field. Of course, he sees the whole field.
Panning farther back and away, higher and higher, what does he see? He sees La Terre! ... but not in any normal way. Seeing trees from high above is an unusual way for humans to see trees.
To make sense of the mishmash splotches of color, the participant must think. Seeing wholes requires imagination. The participant imagines how color splotches are related to each other, how they connect to produce a recognizable form of order: “tree-top-wholes.”
To imaginatively step back further is to go beyond color splotches and consider how trees and bushes are related, how they are connected to become forest wholes, swamp wholes, meadow wholes. The preoccupation of hawk-knowing is not things but relationships.
As the soaring hawk ascends higher and higher above La Terre, he sees more and more of the surrounding land. Horizons crop the view in all directions to make a mandala: the Mandala of Hawk-Knowing. As the hawk soars ever higher, this circle of seeing expands to include much of the Dedeaux community.
From higher still, the mandala expands to eventually include the entire Gulf Coast, the entire southeast, and ultimately the entire globe as horizons extend in all directions.
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke reports on the new Waveland Lighthouse, the Hope Haven Christmas Toy Drive and the city elections.
It’s hard to believe that it is already time to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. What a great year we have had here in Waveland. This past year, our community has drawn together even closer and we have accomplished more than ever before.
As we celebrate this holiday season, let us use this time to reflect and count our blessings. The greatest gift we could exchange this season is to serve one another. May I ask you all to remember your neighbors at this time of year, especially the elderly and those who live alone.
On behalf of my family, as well as the Waveland Board of Aldermen and Mayor, and all of our dedicated Waveland employees, we wish your family all the love and blessings this holiday season can offer.
We look forward with anticipation to another great year in 2019.
- Alderman Jeremy Burke
The current administration has been able to partner with the Board of Supervisors to aggressively find the funding to make the project a reality. The lighthouse was built using Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act funds, Tideland Trust funds, and seawall tax funds. The contractor is expected to turn over the project to Waveland by Christmas.
The Waveland Lighthouse & Public Pavilion will further enhance the use of the one of the most beautiful beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Several people have expressed interest to me in hosting recreation events and festivals because of the easily available lighting, parking, power and, most importantly, a restroom facility.
Hope Haven Christmas Toy Drive
Hope Haven Children's Advocacy Center 2018 Toy Drive provides an excellent opportunity for those who want to make a difference to bring a smile to the faces of underprivileged children during the holiday season.
Donate unwrapped toys to children less fortunate this Christmas. Sign up to have a Hope Haven CAC donation box placed in your business or organization. You can also drop off new unwrapped toys to the Hope Haven CAC office after a scheduled drop off time has been confirmed.
Contact Hope Haven at 228-466-6395 for more information. Hope Haven Children's Advocacy Center: Supporting Children, Strengthening Families, and Restoring Hope.
Veteran coast musician Pat Murphy introduces the three musicians who make up the hard-driving local band, the BSL Trio.
I had known drummer Jerry Lenfant since high school when he lived here. Though younger than me, Jerry was the younger brother of a close friend. Guitarist John Bezou and I go back to around 1980 when he began playing with me in The County Line Band. Jerry Lenfant also joined the band as drummer about 1983 when he moved back to the area.
The three of us along with my wife, Candy, played on and off through a succession of bands like The Juke Jumpers and the early Pat Murphy Band.
By the mid-1990s, John and Jerry had moved on and founded a band by the name of The Relative Unknowns. They both continued working together in that band for a number of years. In the later years of The Relative Unknowns, the band also included vocalist Phil Williams.
After disbanding The Relative Unknowns, Bezou and Lenfant would begin an association with bassist Ed Rafferty in 2012 and began playing occasionally at The Ugly Pirate shortly thereafter.
As I mentioned earlier, the trio started out billing itself locally as JJ & Mad Dog. One night fate intervened when, on a gig, a Bay St. Louis trash container was spotted with a BSL sticker on the side. The rest, ladies and gentlemen, is local music history. The name BSL stuck and the band has gone on to endear themselves with local and area classic rock music fans.
The BSL Trio specializes in cover versions of classic rock from Cream and Santana to The Doors as well as some of the blues rock of Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
All three of the members of The BSL Trio are also active in other musical projects as well. John Bezou and Jerry Lenfant are both long time members of The St. Rose Men's Gospel Ensemble.
Bezou also continues to play with local R&B band 'Sippiana Soul as well as being involved with The Gulf Coast Jazz Society. Bassist Ed Rafferty continues to pursue his jazz roots and Berkley schooling as a member of The Dave Knorr Trio playing jazz as well as being involved with The Gulf Coast Jazz Society.
The three musicians comprising The BSL Trio are all fiercely proud of their status as veterans of United States military service.
The BSL Trio can be found most any weekend playing locally at Buoy's or The Mockingbird Cafe as well as The Blind Tiger in Biloxi, The Government Street Grocery in Ocean Springs or The Blue Crab on the lakefront in New Orleans.
The band served in an opening act capacity for The Glory Rhodes (a popular 1960s New Orleans Beatle-era band) at New Orleans' popular Rock'n'Bowl. The BSL Trio will also be playing at The Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale on Saturday, December 29th.
RAW Oyster Bar on the Bay beachfront is all about the freshest of seafood and sushi - plus weekend and seasonal specials. This new venue is perfect for a quick bite and drink or a satisfying feast. Did we say fresh?
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Lisa Monti and Ellis Anderson
Just inside RAW’s door at the head of the long bar is a bed of ice where plump oysters on the half shell, cooked crab legs and lobster tails rest while an oyster shucker nearby pries open bivalves and a sushi chef creates specialties to order. Customers can sit at the bar or at high top tables along the opposite brick wall. There’s also a bit of patio seating, which is in high demand when weather cooperates.
The RAW menu - listed by columns of food and drinks - is packed with a generous selection of oysters, boiled and chilled seafood and abundant sushi. Check the chalkboard for specials like Maine lobsters available on weekends.
General manager Drew Tomaszewski says RAW set out to become the best sushi place on the coast, and the key to making that happen was finding and hiring the top sushi chefs.
RAW’s chefs work for hours ahead of opening each day, cooking rice and prepping the fresh components for selections such the Ring of Salmon with blue crab and snow crab wrapped in fresh salmon and the Jalapeno Poppin' Spicy Tuna signature Roll with tuna, cream cheese, fresh jalapeno lightly tempura fried and topped with sriracha, eel sauce and wasabi mayo.
Our party of three cut a swath across the menu to get a good sampling of the offerings. We started with a shared plate of smoked swordfish dip and another with BBQ shrimp in rich sauce made for dipping with the accompanying French bread.
The photogenic Tuna Poke with chunks of tuna and avocado heaped into a martini glass topped with seaweed salad tasted as good as it looked. The house sushi rolls with spicy salmon were another hit.
We also went for the Beach Bum Roll, RAW’s most popular: the snow crab with “crunchies and cream cheese” topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce was a winner. Every dish we tried tasted fresh and was appealing to the eye, plus service was first rate.
RAW sells fresh local bivalves, of course, but also premium ones from such sources as Murder Point, Ala., to give diners a chance to try prized oysters from out-of-state waters.
The oysters at RAW are roasted (not charbroiled as is common). Drew says the roasting makes the oysters consistently good and the cooking time is quicker. Customers find that to their liking, he said.
The classically roasted oysters are prepared with roasted garlic and Parmesan butter, lemon and parsley. There’s also a spicy Diablo version, Southwestern Mexi-Cali oysters and Stella Bleu, again with roasted garlic and Parmesan butter plus bleu cheese and bacon.
Drew says RAW’s food menu remains true to popular items but also offers seasonal items to keep the selections interesting and fresh. It’s a practice that keeps customers returning for the oysters and sushi and weekend specials. “We’re not afraid to change the menu when we get an opportunity to put new things on it,” he says.
RAW’s drink menu ranges from Champagne and sparkling wines to whites, roses and reds to sake, beer and some creative cocktails.
RAW is that rare place you can stop in for a quick bite or an extended grazing session on seafood fresh from the source and sushi freshly prepared.
Pack your bags AND your books. Writer/bookstore owner Scott Naugle doesn’t leave home with them.
Writing in The Unpunished Vice: A Lifetime of Reading, Edmund White shares a similar sentiment, “If I watch television, at the end of two hours I feel cheated and undernourished (although I’m always being told of splendid new TV dramas I haven’t discovered yet); at the end of two hours of reading, my mind is racing and my spirit is renewed. If the book is good…”
Edmund White is a novelist, biographer and essayist. His fiction includes The Beautiful Room is Empty, The Farewell Symphony, and Fanny: A Fiction. He has penned biographies of Marcel Proust and Jean Genet. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1940 and resides in New York City.
Employing his remarkable and voluminous memory, White recounts his reading and the impact of the works on his life and world view as he matured from teenager to septuagenarian.
White recalls his first reading of William Faulkner, and credits him with “expand[ing] his concept of the novel” as an art form while also performing as social commentary. He checks Faulkner though on his “verbal, seemingly drunken absurdities” as demonstrated by this phrase, among others, from Absalom, Absalom, “That aptitude and eagerness of the Anglo-Saxon for complete mystical acceptance of immolated sticks and stones.”
I packed The Unpunished Vice for a recent flight to Washington, D.C., connecting through Atlanta. Traveling with books requires planning. I spend far more time fussing over what I want to take along to read than I do with tossing a few clean shirts and socks in a Samsonite. My luggage invariably holds two or three books, more if the trip is longer, and one or two in my backpack that I carry on the plane.
Non-fiction is a more convenient read while traveling, preferably a book of essays such as White’s. Literary fiction necessitates longer periods of uninterrupted thought. A fifteen or twenty page essay is ideal for the short hop from Gulfport to Atlanta.
Once, I made the error of packing five books, including two hardbacks, in my suitcase. I was pulled out of the airport security line by a TSA agent after “suspicious objects” were detected in my suitcase that I just placed on the conveyor belt to move through the scanning machine.
“I need you to remove all the books that are in your suitcase,” bellowed the brusque TSA agent. His sallow skin matched the worn brown of his stretched polyester pants as he attempted to impart an air of authority by a wider than natural stance while crossing his arms.
“Why?” I asked.
“You may have hollowed out the insides of the books and placed prohibited or dangerous substances in them. It’s not normal to have that many books in a bag.”
Advanced age teaches me to hold my tongue, but not my thoughts.
“Oh, ok," I said while thinking, Yes, the books do contain dangerous things. They are called ideas.
When no incendiary chemicals were found in the books, with a wary eye, the deflated TSA agent waved me through.
I don’t fare well either at times in the seat mate lottery. On a more recent flight, while reading The Unpunished Vice, ensconced in words and intriguing thoughts, Flem Carbuncle (I don’t know if that was his name, but it fits) sat beside me, overfilling the narrow seat.
“What's that there you're reading? A book?”
“Yes,” I said curtly.
“My grandmother was from up north there in Tennessee and she wrote a little book once before she died,” he blathered, oblivious to the fact I was not fully listening.
“Oh, that’s interesting.”
“The little book was about the pixies and faeries that she believed visited her at night in her sleep and gave her advice when she was upset or worried.”
Contrary to the title of White’s book. I felt I was being punished for my vice of reading.
Aloft, the clouds thousands of feet below, after the stewards and stewardesses have docked the beverage cart and my overhead reading light is the one beacon in an otherwise dark cabin on a red eye flight, I think of this passage from a letter written by Virginia Woolf to a friend, “Sometimes I think heaven must be one continuous unexhausted reading.”
With a historic building and a beloved choir that are known throughout the region, "St. Rose," is approaching its 100th birthday in the Bay!
- story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson
Known as one of the church’s historians, Joan Thomas notes that it was “pretty amazing” during that era for someone with Labat’s cabinet-making background to rise to the status of architect. Thomas, is well-suited to her current position as director of religious education at St. Rose de Lima: the now-retired educator chaired the history department for the Bay-Waveland School District and was named Wal-mart Teacher of the Year in 1999. She also served as a member of the Bay-Waveland School Board.
Thomas remembers having the opportunity to look underneath the church years later during a restoration project and finding two names carved in foundation braces: Jellicoe and Lewis—no last names. Thomas assumes these were two of the construction workers from the 1920s.
The 40’ x 80’ foot church, built to accommodate 350 people, was completed in 1926. Shortly thereafter, St. Rose de Lima Parish was made independent of Our Lady of the Gulf Parish.
Ms. Thomas explains that the land for the church came from the St. Augustine Seminary, and it was the seminary, the Order of the Society of the Divine Word, that provided clergy to St. Rose de Lima Parish, beginning with Father Francis Baltes, SVD. The Divine Word continues to provide clergy to this day - 21 thus far. Thomas points out that each has worked at “enhancing the diversity of the parish.”
On Installation Day in 1926, Bishop Richard Oliver Gerow commented on the beauty of the altar cloths, which had been made by the parish women. In the building of the church, parish families “put up money, and the ladies cooked meals.”
Thomas describes the construction of the church as “a community effort for the black congregants to have something of their own,” explaining that an “astonishing number of black catholics” lived in the area.
“They needed a place of their own,” Thomas says, “a sense of full acceptance.”
Years later, after sixty years of faithful service, the original church building’s interior and exterior were in need of repair. This renovation began in the late 1980s and early 1990s under the direction of Father Kenneth Hamilton, SVD, pastor. The project included the creation of the nationally-recognized work of art that still stands behind the altar, the “Christ in the Oak” mural.
The altar, ambo, tabernacle, and table are all carved from local wood retrieved from the Bay. Master woodworker Ellsworth Collins, who passed away in 1996 after spending his life in Bay St. Louis, crafted the altar from an extraordinary rooted stump found near St. Stanislaus College. The wooden altar base appears to be reaching toward heaven.
“Christ in the Oaks,” was painted by Armenian artist Auseklis Ozols, founder of the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art. As recorded in Mississippi Back Roads:Notes on Literature and History(Elmo Howell), Ozols envisioned a mural that would represent both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection:
“The figure of Christ hangs in the air, behind him the tree, the Cross, the symbol of the earth mightily grasping the ground. But Christ has broken free! The tree is behind him, yet it is his burden also.”
Local artist Kat Fitzpatrick, at the time, a member of the St. Rose gospel choir - and one of Ozol’s students – originally introduced the artist to the priest and helped the mural process along.
Thomas explains that the mural’s black Christ is intended to reflect the Afro-centric nature of the church.
“It was Father Ken,” she recalls, “who moved us in the direction the church is in now. I guess he kind of took a page from Pope John Paul II, who said that ‘Faith that does not become culture is not wholly embraced, fully thought, or faithfully lived.’”
Father Kenneth introduced the St. Rose de Lima parish to the concept of re-rooting and re-routing in Christ.
“Since Vatican II,” Thomas notes, “we knew we all played a role in the church. We all have a job to do. We all had a function, but I think it’s when Father Ken came here, 20 years after Vatican II, that we found real ownership of our parish and our culture.
“Father Ken used to remind us that we had to remember ‘who we were and whose we were.’ People come to us for a reason and a season. And Father Ken re-rooted and re-routed us. Everybody wanted that.”
The pastor also led congregants into an ongoing practice of oral history. Ms. Thomas remembers one of the things she “most loved” about Father Ken:
“At each mass, Father Ken called upon people within the congregation to stand up and tell their family history, tell a bit about their family’s journey. We were also tasked with one more thing. Everybody had to go back to the family homestead and bring back to church a teaspoon or so of dirt—soil. It was placed in a wooden communal bowl with a lid on it. And at funerals, we used to stir the soil. Stir the soil. It was very meaningful. It was powerful. It was visual. It took us back to our Afro-centric roots.”
The next major work at 301 South Necaise Avenue took place in the aftermath of Katrina. Actually, the church fared relatively well, all things considered. According to church archives, the priest assigned to St. Rose at the time, Father Sebastian Myladiyal, SVD, prayed the sacrament, “To Avert the Storm,” as Hurricane Katrina approached.
Myladiyal then waited out the storm at a nearby building on the highest ground in Bay St. Louis. When he arrived at the church the next morning, some windows were blown in and there was roof damage but, amazingly, no water had damaged the half of the church containing the altar and mural.
In the aftermath of Katrina, St. Rose became a distribution center for provisions and supplies for people in need, including but extending well beyond the parish membership, most in need themselves—you might say, re-rooting and re-routing once again.
Today, St. Rose de Lima is a vibrant and diverse parish heavily influenced by the African-American culture. The church’s dynamic full gospel choir is known nationwide.
Visitors travel from around the country to tour the church, and many light candles for loved ones, admire the church’s craftsmanship, and enjoy the serenity of their surroundings.
According to Ms. Thomas, St. Rose counts 409 families as members, enough to warrant three weekly services. There’s a service at 4pm on Saturday and two on Sunday mornings at 7am and 9am, with Jim Collins, (the 2018 Hancock County Citizen of the Year) leading the singing at the earlier service.
Fiercely competitive and always fun, this annual drive to restock the Hancock County Food Pantry grows each year.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos courtesy Sound Insurance.
The couple shares an active interest in helping to provide for children, and they made their family-owned business the driving force behind the Food Fight. The drive extends to D’Iberville, Columbia, Hattiesburg and Laurel, where Sound Insurance has offices.
The Food Fight runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15. During that time, teams from local businesses, plus schools and youth organizations, collect canned food and food products, cooking oil, dry goods such as flour, pasta and grits, as well as dish and laundry soaps and personal hygiene products for the needy.
The Bay St. Louis drive benefits the Hancock County Food Pantry. Other Sound Insurance offices choose which nonprofit in their community will receive their donations.
Christy Bond of Sound Insurance in Bay St. Louis, who leads the annual event, says they’ve turned the fight against hunger into a friendly but fierce competition. The team that collects the most items receives the coveted but quirky Food Fight trophy adorned with canned goods.
Christy said Advantage Title of Bay St. Louis has captured the trophy the last two years, followed closely last year by Starfish Cafe. “They were in a very close race and Starfish almost had them,” she says.
To keep a competitive edge and pump up their collections, teams can track the competition online as the drive nears completion. “It’s always fun,” Christy says of the push by teams to take first place.
This year, 48 teams are participating, and it’s not too late to join in the drive. Teams can register online at Sound Insurance Solutions website, which has all the information needed to get started. You can also keep up to date with the Food Fight Event on Facebook.
After an initial dampening of spirits, a favorite Bay St. Louis holiday happening gets another chance on Saturday, December 15th!
Locals who were saddened by the wash-out of Second Saturday in Old Town Bay St. Louis on the 8th will be thrilled to learn a second Second Saturday will take place on December 15th, from 10am – 7pm. Click here for complete details!
Be sure to check out "Hot Spots" Antique Maison (111 N. Second Street) and Smith & Lens Gallery (106 S. Second Street). Read more about these featured businesses below!
- Hot Spot stories by Caroline St. Paul
Sponsor Spotlight - December 2018
- story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson
111 Court Street
Bay St. Louis
Bodega, the business enterprise, builds on an old word - a grocery store. A wine shop. A corner store. A lot of shops under one roof.
Bodega Adventure Rentals and Sales, the Parrot Head Bar and Grill, and Bodega Spirits & Liquor are all nestled under one roof in the heart of Old Town, Bay St. Louis, in a Key-West inspired pastel coral exterior.
The social cornerstone of the operation is The Parrot Head Bar and Grill. At the helm is Rickey Peters, who began his career working with Paul Prudhomme. The chef has more than two decades of experience pleasing local diners. His first restaurant was a namesake – Rickey’s in Waveland, and then later in Bay St. Louis. The popular eatery attracted foodies from the entire region and won the hearts of locals.
A recent Sunday afternoon found Douglas Niolet, a local Parrot Head patron, enjoying a little something at the bar. Niolet said that every sandwich on the menu is delicious and he complimented Chef Ricky, saying "he makes the best food."
Niolet listed the pleasant staff and the bar deals during “important” football games,” as items that keep bringing him back.
“It’s a hard place to beat,” he said.
The same Sunday found local Liz Maio on the back porch with her goldendoodle, Bella, chatting with Chef Rickey. They were reminiscing over the original menu from Rickey’s in Waveland, and Maio is remembering Mardi Gras potatoes.
Rickey told Liz that an outdoor kitchen will be constructed next year, including a grill and a pizza oven.
“We’ve got things in the works,” he said. “It will be like an exhibition kitchen, where people can sit here at the bar and watch us cook. We hope to do burgers and fish and kebabs.”
Sharing the same Court Street frontage, Bodega Spirits & Liquor stocks more than 200 labels of wine and 250 brands of liquor. Bodega owner Kevin Jordan comes from wine country in California, where his family owns a vineyard and sells grapes to popular U.S. labels. Jordan knows his spirits and wine and stocks the store accordingly.
Tourists can tool around town on the carts, or explore the local waterways with the aquatic options. If biking is your bag - or a bicycle built for two - rent one from Bodega. Visitors can take the seven-mile beach bike path to where the beach road ends at Bayou Cadet - if they have the stamina.
Then they can grab something from Rickey’s menu and hang out with the locals, maybe catch an “important” football game, maybe check out the yoga studio and make a plan for another day.
It’s all good at Bodega.
Across the Bridge - Dec/Jan 2019
My home in the Pass is a what’s-wrong-with-this-picture Alpine chalet, with a steep roof capable of quickly shedding 20 feet of snow should South Mississippi ever get that much.
In a town of melon-colored beach cottages with palm trees and sun-loving perennials, my strange house doesn’t belong. Even the trees in its shady yard are all wrong, a plethora of hickories rare to the region.
Across the Bridge
My house looks its best at Christmas. With a live tree in one of the big glass windows that fill the front, it is if the outside has slipped inside, blurring the lines between exterior and interior convincingly. Only unraked hickory leaves banked against glass reveal the demarcation.
The Christmas tree is up, no credit due me. Two nice young men from an Ocean Springs nursery set all eight flocked feet of it in its ready-made stand in the proper spot. They left. And now the tree looms unlit and bare and dares me to decorate. So far I’ve avoided it.
Somewhere in a laundry room that also serves as my office and domestic catch-all is a box of sand dollars I often use as ornaments. I picked them up on a St. Simons Island beach 43 years ago – Georgia, again -- bleached them white and strung ribbon through the holes nature gave them. Whenever they are touched, ancient sand still falls out.
I realize that means the sea urchins were not dead when I harvested. The dollars that were dead or dying – “moribund” Wikipedia calls them – would have been on the beach being naturally bleached by the sun. My catches still had their velvety silica and were moving in concert and about their business, possibly even cloning, when my toes touched them.
Maybe that’s why they make such ideal Christmas ornaments. They come packaged with their own guilt, which powders the floor as I hang them.
And I will get around to hanging them. I always do. Else those urchins in the order Clypeasteroida would have died in vain.
Only a couple of times have I gone another decorating route. One recent year the tree was artificial and pre-lit, a gorgeous specimen I “won” at the Hancock Library tree gala, homage to those innocents killed in Paris by terrorists, and decorated with French flags and Eiffel Towers.
Something must jumpstart me into the season, reminding me to get through it. Probably it will be music. Usually is. The “Blood Oranges in the Snow” album Carole McKellar gave me one year is good for a nudge. That’s by musicians called Over the Rhine, a husband and wife duo that do the best cover of “If We Make it Through December” I’ve ever heard.
And there’s the holiday blues collection my New Orleans buddy John Bedford gave me as a gift one year. Till you’ve heard Charles Brown’s “Please Come Home for Christmas” three or four times nothing gets done.
You can run from the holidays, of course, but you cannot hide. For one thing, it’s hard to avoid the sight of an eight-foot tree covered in artificial snow in a small living room two blocks from the beach. Emotional blinders only hide so much.
By the time you read this I’ll have found the box, hung the sea dollars, played the albums, had a good cry and gone on about my holiday business. If I remember to water it, this monster tree might even serve for Mardi Gras. Or not. I’m usually first to the curb with leftovers.
The melancholy is as much a part of the season as tinsel and wassail. It passes.
And soon enough, the tree can be on the beach, fueling a bonfire, toasting the very toes that tentatively outlined the urchins that, with any luck, will go back in a shoebox and make the clutter cut for another 43 years.
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