Over the past twenty 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.
Be sure to visit Hot Spot businesses Serious Bread Bakery (131 Main Street, Suite D) and The Porch, (inside Century Hall, 112 S. Second Street). Read more about these Old Town businesses below.
- stories by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson and courtesy The Porch
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Serious Bread Bakery
131 Main Street, Suite D
Bay St. Louis
If you stop by between 4 and 8pm, you will be treated to samples of the Coast Roast coffee so beloved by locals - along with goodies brought to you via the creative imaginations of Al and Vivian Jensen, and their bakers and baker’s helpers. You will be glad you did. Seriously!
Editor's Note: Serious Bread Bakery is a long-time Shoofly Magazine sponsor and makes our amazing Community Calendar possible. Please thank them for helping make BSL a richer place to live!
Nestled behind Bay Books, at 131 Main Street, Serious Bread Bakery (131 Main St., Suite D) is a beloved attraction for locals and visitors. All are welcome.
“We like our city and, most of all, we enjoy our customers,” say Al and Vivian Jensen, proprietors.
Al Jensen is a retired oceanographer who traveled around the world during his career, sampling breads in every country he visited. Frustrated by the lack of artisan breads on the Gulf Coast, this staff-of-life connoisseur later decided to solve the problem by becoming a baker himself. Jensen pursued his new vocation “seriously.”
After several workshops with a world-renowned baker in Vermont, the Jensens began selling their loaves in regional farmers’ markets and, for four and a half years, provided the Mockingbird Café with sandwich bread.
In its latest phase of wholesale marketing, Serious Bread has teamed with the Kiln’s Lazy Magnolia Brewery. The Brewery’s menu creations—from chicken and vegetarian pizzas to cheese-dip bowls — rely on brat buns, bread bowls, crostini, Bavarian style soft pretzels, and flatbread provided by Serious Bread.
“Our world is about change, and so is our bakery,” notes Al.
Some things, however, like a reliance on King Arthur Flour and other wholesome ingredients, remain the same.
A key technique isn’t about to change either: the bakery continues to soak grains for eight to ten hours to dissipate phytic acid and make minerals and nutrients more available. This time-honored way of baking bread results in healthy, easily-digestible, and delicious loaves.
Jose “Pablo” Paz, trained with an “old-time” French baker, and comes from a long line of bakers. In addition to the artisan bread he bakes daily assisted by apprentice Phillip DelValle, Pablo rustles up cinnamon rolls, shoe soles, turnovers, and seasonal King Cakes—the latter so spectacular they were featured on WGNO TV News with a Twist during Mardi Gras.
The Jensens understand the importance of staff. Rose Gooding has been part of the “work family” for five years. She is the creator of the all-natural energy bars which are a favorite of athletic types who swear the healthy snack sustains them during long runs and bike rides.
Sara Hahn assists Rose in the creation of scones, muffins, cookies, the occasional cake, and an assortment of luncheon items like tabbouleh, hummus, chicken salad, and other mouth-watering foods.
In the spirit of progress and change, Al adds, “We are giving serious thought to offering a mini flatbread and soup meal.” The lucky Mudfest patrons that sampled the Jensen’s 100-year-old family recipe, lentil- and goat-sausage soup, will approve.
Serious Bread is open Tuesday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
112 S. Second Street
Inside Century Hall
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
504. 858. 8574
Sit a spell. Feel happy and good.
JoAnn Saucier created The Porch at the Bay, one of the Century Hall shops at 112 S. Second Street, Bay St. Louis, to reflect the “easy feel” of the front porch. “When people walk in,” she says, “I want them to feel happy and good.”
Shoppers will find an eclectic mix of farmhouse-meets-industrial. Lovely chalk-painted pieces, both large and small, fill The Porch. Saucier rehabs the “worst-looking stuff” she can find, meticulously restoring and repainting it from one of the many luscious chalk paints she keeps on hand in the shop.
“In fact,” she notes, “I would like to offer classes on chalk painting soon.”
Beautifully woven baskets adorn the walls and, below, them, fabulous planters that look like baskets but are made from cement. Saucier confides laughingly that she might just have a “basket addiction.”
The Porch, which opened in 2017, is a relative newcomer to the Bay. Before moving to Bay St. Louis, Saucier ran The Porch on Magazine Street in New Orleans. With a background in art, Saucier first opened a booth on Magazine Street with a fellow student at New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts.
Over the years, Bay Life Gifts owner Janice Guido, friend and neighbor (before Guido relocated to the Bay), encouraged Saucier to move to Bay St. Louis. With husband in tow, Saucier began visiting the Bay increasingly often and, as she tells it, “The more we came here, the less we wanted to go back.” In 2014, the couple began making plans to move to the Bay in earnest.
Saucier loves being in the Bay—"The people, the atmosphere, the slower pace . . . it all just makes me happy.” And she has found her perch in Century Hall.
Saucier says she loves bouncing ideas off “fun and energetic” shopkeepers like Guido and Susan Peterson, Bay Elements proprietor and manager of Century Hall. “Other shopkeepers always have great ideas,” she says.
The future holds all kinds of possibilities. Saucier looks forward to adding a few more food products to flesh out the jellies and spices she already carries, and, perhaps most importantly, Saucier is looking forward to returning to her artwork and displaying it in the shop.
Saucier’s most recent development takes the form of an online series entitled “Meet Me on the Porch Monday.” The series of inspirational porches can be found only on Facebook at @ThePorchattheBay.
The Porch is open 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 3 on Sundays, and is closed for business on Mondays.