Brenda Comer's Mississippi Gulf Coast
Brenda Comer, photographer:
The Mississippi gulf coast is a beautiful, magical and sometimes complex southern community. We are 77 miles of coastline and beach, home to active marine harbors, amazing historical artist with celebrated museums - as well as thriving art galleries and vibrant local artists coast-wide.
We are sometimes known for our eccentricities, but in the best possible ways. The storms have certainly taken their toll over the years... but resilience may just be our defining quality.
Pelican Party, Pass Christian. The coast offers a wild assortment of shore birds, but the brown pelicans are mesmerizing to watch as they soar inches from the water fishing for their supper.
Herons on the coast are particularly fond of flights at dusk, over our beaches and harbors. Their wing span (up to six feet) and spindly legs are quite striking to see as they fly. This guy, characteristically standing on one leg, only posed for a moment before noisily taking flight - and in no uncertain terms, expressing his lack of desire to be photographed.
Shrimp Season, Pass Christian Harbor. The Mississippi coast offers four distinct seasons unigue to our area: Shrimp season, Oyster season, Crab season and Crawfish season. During this time of year, one local shrimper is known to call out as you approach to purchase shrimp, from the harbor dock, right off the shrimp boats, "You want them shrimp dead or alive?" AKA: just caught or frozen?
Pass Christian Harbor reflections.
More harbor reflections.
Benignos, Bay St. Louis. A longtime favorite BSL cafe and bar, now closed, but not forgotten.
Ruth's Roots community garden, Bay St. Louis. Conceived and developed by Elise Deano in spring of 2016, is now fully embraced and maintained by our community. The garden offers raised bed vegetables, bunnies, hens, fish, honey bees, art, whimsical sculptures and several shady spots to relax and take it all in. This unexpected, peaceful sanctuary is funded by private donors/grants and awaits you in Old Town Bay St. Louis.
Coca-Cola 5 cents, Old Town Bay St. Louis. One of many art galleries in BSL, Gallery 220 offers works of multiple artists in this amazing building that stays true to its vintage vibe.
Antique shopping, Old Town Bay St. Louis.
The Historic 100 Men Hall, Bay St. Louis. Founded in 1894 by 12 civic-minded African American residents of the Bay has evolved over the years offering a gathering place for local African American families and a music venue for many legendary musicians traveling on what was known as the "Chitlin Circuit."
The Hall attracted the likes of Ray Charles, James Brown, Etta James, Sam Cooke, BB King, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and many more music legends. Under new ownership in 2018, the Hall is once again re-energized and welcomes community and private events.
All Are Welcome! Old Town Bay St. Louis.
...because one pink flamingo is never enough!
Sunset at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi. The Ohr-OKeefe Museum is a stunning tribute to George Ohr, self-proclaimed as the "Mad Potter of Biloxi," who created an amazing body of ceramic work highly unique to 19th century America. Artist and architect Frank Gehry designed the intriguing pavillion pods that grace the museum campus. Sunlight reflecting on the structures will take your breath away!
Pass Christian: miles of beach and majestic oaks.
Once a lovely Bay front home, now only crumbling stairs remain. Stairs to nowhere are seen all along the coast, and, for me, are visible reminders of community loss, most notably from Hurricane Katrina 2005 or Hurricane Camile 1969.
Beach Please! Gulfport. This colorful vehicle is on semi-permanent display at a gulfport retail establishment that promotes its "Unique Stuff." I smile everytime I see the car, frequently adorned with cactus, bonsai trees or other plants displayed on its hood!
Historic Walter Inglis Anderson cottage, Ocean Springs. Artist, Walter Anderson, his brother, Peter Anderson and their families are simply art royalty on the coast. Walter Anderson was a prolific artist, book illustrator and author. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art is full of his magic. The Shearwater Pottery Showroom was founded in 1928 by Peter Anderson and today, descendants of the Anderson families continue to produce distinctive decorative, collectible and functional pottery pieces.
Fishbone Alley, downtown Gulfport. Food, music and art stretched along the alley which is adorned with colorful graffiti, murals and more.
Portrait artist, Marian Glaser, Bay St. Louis Depot. Marian is a joyful presence in the Bay, frequently in a vintage costume and always wearing killer shoes!
The Raw Oyster Marching Club, Bay St. Louis glamor, glitz and good will since 2014. The ladies of the ROMC are well known for parading in the Bay and love to costume. The club name and green hair were inspired by legendary New Orleans burlesque artist, Kitty West/Evangeline the Oyster Girl. The Life magazine in this shoot is a tribute to Ms. West who was featured in this 1949 issue and sadly passed away this year.
Although ROMC membership exceeds 50 fabulous women, the ladies in this photo appeared in the photo shoot as a favor to me... not to mention a chance to costume and enjoy a nice proseco by the Bay.
Artist Michelle Allee, channeling her inner Frida Kahlo in Pass Christian. Michelle is a Frida Look-Alike award winner at the annual Frida Fest celebrating the artist's birthday each July.
When I asked to photograph her in her art studio, we decided her Frida persona would make it all the more special. I added the first annual Frida Fest poster on her studio table as a hat tip to the festival which will celebrate its sixth year in 2020.
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