- by Pat Saik
Vivacious, energetic and just a whole lot of fun, Micky Evans has been a “good neighbor” in Bay St. Louis since she moved here on Labor Day Weekend, 1995.
She knew she loved the town even before she moved here, having visited the Bay on several occasions with her husband-to-be, Michael Helmsley. Mike was working then at Stennis at the National Data Buoy Center.
Their meeting seemed serendipitous. At the Sports Car Club of America National Championship at Road Atlanta Raceway, Mike showed up; he was covering the races for two sports car magazines. Micky had been employed as the Chief of Medical by the Atlanta Raceway and was in attendance.
Micky, who describes herself as “a Georgia peach,” was born and raised in Atlanta. Perhaps it was “Hotlanta” that brought out Micky’s penchant for wearing flamboyant clothing and bright red lipstick.
It was in Atlanta that she received a nursing degree. She also attended paramedic school, where she eventually taught EMTs (emergency medical technicians) and paramedic students.
Micky’s mother was a Quaker and Micky grew up practicing the Quaker faith. Imbued with the philosophy that a person should give back to their community in some way, Micky remains true to Quaker ideals; over her years in Bay St. Louis she has given back in myriad ways.
As Micky puts it, “the Quaker faith is a good segue into community activism.”
In 2001, Micky and another animal lover, Paula Leone, became founding members of Friends of the Animal Shelter in Hancock County. Now in its 16th year, this active nonprofit can take credit for substantially reducing the overpopulation of unwanted dogs and cats by encouraging sterilization of pets and providing low-cost vouchers for the procedure to Hancock County residents.
“Education and spay and neuter go hand in hand,” Micky explains. “And it works! In 2015, the shelter recorded an intake that was half of the number of animals brought to the shelter in 2004.”
Micky is known by many on the Coast as the proprietor of The Purple Snapper, which she owned and operated for a decade. What began as a hobby — painting tiles — grew into painting trivets and dinnerware.
“I was having so much fun that I decided to open my own gallery,” Micky recalls. “Over the decade, I had an average of 40 local artists represented. I loved talking to customers and showcasing my own work and the work of other artists.”
In 2010 Micky decided to close the shop, then operating in Maggie Mae’s gallery on Main Street, when she learned her son and daughter-in-law were expecting twins.
“I was ready to be a grandmother.” Her “monkey girls,” as she lovingly calls them, are now six years old and live in Atlanta. She visits as often as she can.
During the last six years, Micky has served as a board member of CASA. CASA, acronym for “Court-Appointed Special Advocates,” advocate for abused and neglected children in Hancock County’s foster care system.
Micky also is active in the Hancock County Chapter of the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence, organized about a year ago so that victims of domestic assault and sexual violence in Hancock County won’t have to travel for services to a neighboring county.
Micky has announced recently that she and husband Mike and companion animal Callie, a rescued Catahoula, will be moving to Chattanooga. Micky has lots of friends and family members in east Tennessee. She especially wants to spend more time with her mother, who lives in what Micky describes as a blossoming, vibrant community.
Bay St. Louis’s loss becomes Chattanooga’s gain. Micky happily admits that she has already scoped out Chattanooga’s two animal shelters and the shelters’ support groups.
Micky’s husband Mike, who retired from Stennis in 2002, will continue to work on a book about anything art deco in transportation, like planes, trains, and automobiles. “He also writes about exotic automobiles and writes for a vintage road car magazine.”
Upbeat about her relocation, Micky nonetheless will miss Bay St. Louis.
“I have had a good life here,” she muses, “a crazy life. I’ll miss the good friends I’ve made. People here are fun, down-to-earth, friendly, gracious and welcoming.”
“As for me, I’ve turned into my grandmother, who carries around her own sweetener in an Altoid can.”