Saturday, February 9
Be sure to check out "Hot Spots" The French Potager (213 Main Street) and 200 North Beach (200 North Beach Boulevard). Read more about these featured businesses below!
- stories by Caroline St. Paul, photos by Caroline St. Paul and Ellis Anderson
Over the past twenty-three years, the monthly artwalk has become one of the most popular events in the region. Old Town stays lively all day, with many merchants and restaurants offering specials.
The pace picks up from 4pm – 8pm, when gallery openings and live music keep the streets humming with activity.
This Second Saturday Artwalk column
is sponsored by
The French Potager
213 Main Street
Bay St. Louis
The French Potager, voted Best Florist/Floral Designer in Mississippi by Mississippi Magazine, and named the best antique mall and best antique jewelry by the M-List, is owned by Martha Whitney Butler.
Butler, who is also the lead floral designer, opened The French Potager in November of 2012 “after taking a leap of faith.” This leap, as well as some classes provided by the Chamber of Commerce, allowed her to be able to “develop a sturdy five-year business plan.”
She began as a small antique mall. Soon, the shop evolved to offer full-time floral services. “This business would allow me to travel to procure goods, have vendors with a diverse selection of antiques and gifts, and also create floral arrangements.”
Martha is an artist, and her floral arrangements exude creativity and beauty. “My floral designs are largely inspired by the nature around me,” she says. Her inspiration for the shop comes from 17 years in the antique business and her travels, but she always makes sure to stop and appreciate the splendor of the world around her in order to stay inspired.
“My current designs embody a backyard garden feel, but according to what I’m inspired by, they could be completely different the next week. I try my best to accommodate the visions of my clients, but in reality, people get my best when they give me creative freedom, and I’m always hoping that they are choosing me as their designer based on my talents and style like they would choose any other artist.”
She is incredibly “honored and grateful to have appeared in several major and local publications.” The awards speak for themselves, that this floral shop is the best around, and the community embraces it, just as Butler embraces the community.
“My favorite part about owning my shop is being a part of this beautiful community, its art scene, and being appreciated for my artistic talents. I’ve never lived in a place where I felt so celebrated, and every day that I wake up in Bay St. Louis is a gift. The people here are some of the most resilient, loving, and talented people I have ever come across, and I feel like I’m a part of this community’s fabric.”
Butler’s favorite events to design for include large-scale events for corporate accounts, weddings, and elopements. Being a floral designer is very personal, as they are really there for their customers from birth til the end, and Butler is honored to be a part of these events every day.
“A florist is for life, and we are here to enhance all of your major life events, and share with you the joy of flowers. This is our calling and our privilege.”
In the realm of antiques, you will find so many unique treasures inside the shop. “We have several different antique dealers from all walks of life giving us great variety of goods to sell.” She makes sure to do everything she can to send each special piece home with the right owner.
Whatever event you may have coming up, make sure to call Martha to create some floral art for you and visit her shop, located on Main Street, for some unique items that will bring a smile to anyone’s face.
February means Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day means flowers, and The French Potager, is the place to get them for your loved one. For February 9 Second Saturday, enjoy live music at the shop, sponsored by Hancock Whitney Bank.
200 North Beach
200 North Beach Boulevard
Bay St. Louis
Mike Fusco became manager in September after having worked at a restaurant in the French Quarter for five and a half years. “I love Bay St. Louis,” he says with a big smile on his face. Fusco’s favorite part about being manager of 200 North Beach is getting to know the customers. Of course, looking at the beach every day is a plus.
“Every place I’ve worked at has been very high-paced and you don’t really get to know the people that come in. In Bay St. Louis, you see a lot of the same people over and over, you get to meet them all. You get to know about them, where they’re from, what they do, as people, versus just as customers,” he says.
The restaurant just celebrated its seven-year anniversary. It is no wonder 200 North Beach has been such a hit, as it offers delicious American Creole food, drinks, and daily specials that keep customers coming back for more.
Each day there is a special, as well as a new lunch special every week, brunch on the weekends featuring $4 Bloody Marys, mimosas, and sangria, daily drink specials, and a daily happy hour from 4-6, during which oysters and drinks are half price. The oyster special is the “best happy hour in Bay St. Louis,” Fusco says. All of these specials are created to bring people in, and it is definitely working.
Another unique feature that sets 200 North Beach apart is the upstairs Balcony Sports Lounge that opened in September. It is “unique in that it’s the only sports lounge in Bay St. Louis,” according to Fusco. Patrons can enjoy a drink while watching a football game on one of the six televisions in the comfort of this luxurious lounge, featuring a bar and large, sleek couches. It “creates more of an atmosphere where you can enjoy yourself,” Fusco says.
It definitely is a destination, offering sweeping views of the bay. The Balcony Sports Lounge is open every day except Tuesdays. Wednesday night is ladies night, when women can have some time for themselves and enjoy $2 off glasses of wine and a drink special. The space is available to rent for events as well.
In addition to 200 North Beach being a February “hot spot,” they also have some things lined up for the month to accompany their usual offerings. There is a Valentine’s Day menu that is already online, which includes a complimentary glass of champagne with your meal. The chef will be creating a “winter to early spring” menu to go with the new season, and an early bird special starting this month. For Second Saturday Art Walk on February 9, enjoy live music outside sponsored by Hancock Whitney Bank.
There is a lot to come for 200 North Beach as they move onto their eighth year of business, so do not wait to dine in for an incredible experience you will not get anywhere else.