During the Second Saturday Artwalk each month in Old Town Bay St. Louis, you'll find cool deals, fresh meals and lots of art and live music.
Be sure to visit Hot Spot businesses The Mockingbird Café, 110 South Second Street, and Strandz Salon, 203 North Second Street.
- stories by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson and Denise Jacobs
The Mockingbird is so integrated into the fabric of the community, that it is sometimes hard to tell where it begins and where it ends. That’s especially true when the cafe collaborates with neighboring Smith & Lens to host art shows, the Mr. Atticus’s Night Market, and festivals such as last month’s Dolly Should look-alike contest. The Bird has evolved from a group of people gathered to rebuild the city after Katrina into a lively community hub.
More than just a coffee shop, “the Bird” has been dubbed the living room of the Bay. It is a place reminiscent of the house in which Alicein Wonderland Schwabacher, sole proprietor, grew up, a Bay St. Louis home overflowing with colorful out-of-town travelers who taught Schwabacher that she was a citizen of the world.
While the Mockingbird is more than a coffee shop, it does serve a great cup of coffee. Beans are roasted at Coast Roast in Long Beach for a special Mockingbird blend. “We aren’t a cookie-cutter town, so we aren’t a cookie-cutter coffee shop,” says Schwabacher. “If we can source anything nearby, from coffee to art to live music, we do that. That’s important to us.”
Schwabacher credits her success to the people who have supported her and the business along the way, noting that, “Since we opened our doors, Laura Hurt and Whitney LaFrance have been key to the success of the Mockingbird.”
Schwabacher says, “Our Mockingbird team gets it—we are all ambassadors of Bay St. Louis.” She adds that the Bird’s success is also due to her supportive partner Rebekah and her tireless work.
No time is a bad time to experience the Bird’s menu, and the weekend brunch is especially popular. Signature alcoholic drinks such as a trio of mimosas made with fresh seasonal juice, Lushy Lemonade, Irish coffees, and the Tequila Mockingbird are always available but are hits with the brunch crowd.
The idea behind the Mockingbird is that a community is stronger if everyone works together—from staff to city planning. That idea still holds. “We may not all want exactly the same thing,” Schwabacher says, “but we can always find common ground.”
With that, she invites everyone to stop by on Second Saturday, February 10, between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. “All are welcome," she says. “We welcome any and all neighbors.”
• Delivery from the Mockingbird is available within Old Town on all orders $25 or more between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily.
• The Mockingbird is now taking Mobile/Online orders! Check it out at https://squareup.com/store/mockingbird-cafe-llc.
203 N Second St
Bay St Louis, MS
On February 10, Second Saturday, Strandz will host an open house between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Stop by for a snack and introduce yourself.
Not one to struggle with what she would do with her life, Brenda Curet Cuevas, sole proprietor of Strandz Salon, began her career as a hair stylist and business owner right out of high school in 1976. She never looked back.
Cuevas says that owning a business was never that important, that it just happened. Nevertheless, she says that it takes business acumen and loyal customers to sustain a business through a hurricane the proportions of Katrina, a diagnosis of breast cancer, and single parenting. Cuevas has done just that.
Strandz was originally housed on Highway 90 near Hancock Medical Center. At that time, Cuevas employed seven stylists. When Katrina hit in 2005, the building flooded. Rather than admit defeat, Cuevas moved her salon into her house.
She continued there and operated a full-service salon for ten years before moving to her current location on the corner of deMontluzin and Second Street in the same building as The Ugly Pirate.
“You have to have a town to have a business,” Cuevas says, “and this is my town. This town helped me maintain a business as a single parent. It helped me through my battle with breast cancer, and I am happy to say that I am a 13-year survivor. My customers support my business, and I appreciate every last one of them.”
Cuevas loves working in Old Town, taking walks around town, and meeting new people.
Strandz is a full-service salon featuring Joico and Matrix professional hair care and hair styling products. Cuevas offers haircuts, color, perms, blow dry, flat iron, and relaxers.