Bye Ward, Hello Shoofly!
- story by Ellis Anderson
Nonetheless, on the fifth anniversary of the Bay St. Louis Fourth Ward Cleaver in July of this year, we’re changing our name.
Our new name – drum roll please! – is the Bay St. Louis Shoofly, after the beloved town landmark by the old City Hall.
Our webzine’s mission is much the same of the lovely raised deck that blossoms around that massive oak tree. We want to provide a cool, shady spot for community conversation. We want to sit for a while and appreciate the beauty of the coast. We want a little elevation, high enough to elude the pests below. Shoofly, don’t bother me - we’re having a good old time.
But why a name change? you might be asking. The answer is a simple one: we’ve outgrown it.
The name seemed hilarious five years ago when our little group of volunteers got together to plan the first issue. We wanted an online newsletter that would be a fun way for residents of the Fourth Ward of Bay St. Louis to communicate.
Most of that original crew* had cut our teeth watching “Leave It To Beaver” sitcoms. That cardboard suburban family’s only woes were caused by Beaver's shenanigans. Every problem was a minor one and could be solved in twenty-four minutes. After six years of dealing with Katrina’s aftermath, that particular fantasy appealed to us all. The pun of Fourth "Ward Cleaver" made the name irresistible.
Yet just a few months after that first issue, it became clear that the newsletter would reach far beyond the borders of the Fourth Ward. Waveland residents lay claim to it as well. So did folks in the Pass.
Statistics began to show that we actually had readers all over the world. Lots of them. Homesick expatriates who’d been scattered by the storm, military personnel stationed elsewhere, volunteers who’d fallen in love with our town while helping put us back together.
By the time the Cleaver made the leap from a volunteer neighborhood newsletter to a full-scale sponsor-supported magazine in November 2014, the name had lots of recognition. It seemed like the wrong time for a change. We adopted the subtitle “The Cutting Edge of Community News” and went forward with Ward and June. They’ve helped us build a base of 2000 subscribers and more than 10,000 readers each month.
We’ll all miss them after their retirement, but they’ll both be welcome to hang with us on the Shoofly and reminisce about those good old days of yore. Eddie can come too - if he behaves.
Stay tuned for three Shoofly Awareness contests to be announced - with awesome prizes!
The Cleaver/Shoofly staff wishes to thank our sponsors and readers. Your patronage and support has been as extraordinary as our community.
* The original Cleaver crew included Willard Deal, Pat Saik, Karen Fineran, Allen Reed, Larry Jaubert and Ellis Anderson.