Prepare to flaunt both of your inner divas — Country AND Western! — during a themed Second Saturday Artwalk in Old Town Bay St. Louis on January 13. “Dolly Should. The monthly art event takes on a Nashville spin by celebrating Dolly Parton's birthday with an art show, hayride, square dancing and an astonishing costume contest!
- stories by Denise Jacobs, photography by Ellis Anderson
Here's a full schedule of "Dolly Should" activities in Old Town on January 13
Carroll House B&B
304 Carroll Ave.
Bay St. Louis
Carroll House will be hosting an open house on Second Saturday, from 4pm - 6pm. Refreshments will be served.
For Jane Kulpeksa (formerly Alford), owning a bed & breakfast was a long-held dream. When the big house on Carroll Avenue, an historic seaside home in the heart of Old Town, became available after Katrina, Jane, who lived around the corner on Toulme at the time, bought the house. She also bought a camper trailer, which she lived in while making renovations on the Carroll House. It was a bed & breakfast in the making.
About a year and a half later, the house was livable, and Jane moved in. However, she continued making renovations, including the addition of two bathrooms. Then, in 2011, Carroll House Bed & Breakfast opened its doors. Jane notes that the house was one of only a few accommodations open in Old Town at the time, so she developed a loyal customer base from the beginning.
The house is a short stroll to the center of Old Town and the beach. In addition to overnight or long-term stays, Carroll House is an elegant setting for an intimate wedding and/or baby and wedding showers. Be sure to check out the Carroll House online for a gallery of photos.
Guests can enjoy an early morning cup of coffee on the private porch as the birds serenade them, or join other guests in the parlor for friendly conversation. Most often, guests gather to eat breakfast together, a traditional bed & breakfast element that Jane holds dear. Sometimes guests even congregate in the kitchen to chat as breakfast is prepared. It’s that kind of place.
Jane cooks with the vegetables she grows in her garden, and she serves and sells lemon, satsuma, and kumquat marmalades made from the fruit trees grown around the house. “It’s a beautiful home with a comfortable atmosphere,” Kulpeksa explains, and “people tell us that they feel at home here.”
Originally from Louisiana, Jane has lived in Bay St. Louis for 21 years. She attributes the success of Carroll House to her capable, loyal, and trustworthy staff—a bit of a challenge to find in the early years but entrenched now—and to her involvement with the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce.
According to Jane, repeat customers turned friends have made her bed & breakfast a dream-come-true. In fact, Jane is gratified to report that many of her previous guests are now permanent residents of the Bay.
“They come here and fall in love with the area,” she says. “I like to think we here at Carroll House had something to do with that.”
Hancock County Historical Society
108 Cue Street
Bay St. Louis
Bring one-page bio sketches (see below) with you to the Second Saturday Open House between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Your name will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Bay St. Louis: Celebrating The First 300 Years. In addition, your bio sketch will be featured in one of the monthly newsletters.
For Charles Harry Gray, it was love at first sight.
The year was 1984. The event was the Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge. Gray, now director of the Hancock County Historical Society, had driven in his Rolls Royce from New Orleans to the Bay to observe the annual sailing event. Within a week, he had purchased his first home in his new hometown.
Not long afterward, Gray attended a meeting of the Hancock County Historical Society, became a member, and was made vice president the very day he joined. This was before the Lobrano House was bestowed to the Historical Society, a time when members held their meetings at local restaurants.
Gray knew all about restaurants. He had operated Corinne Dunbar’s restaurant in the grand parlor of her home on St. Charles Avenue. At Corinne Dunbar’s, customers were treated as if they were dinner guests at a party in her home. I suspect that those who visit the Hancock County Historical Society experience a similar sense of welcome.
The society is headquartered in the Kate Lobrano House, described on the Historical Society’s website, as “a delightful 1896 shotgun cottage that was donated to the society in 1988 by the grandchildren of Katherine Maynard Lobrano.”
The original house at 108 Cue Street is used as a turn-of-the-century museum while an addition to the rear of the house provides office and storage space. Depending on the day of week, guests will find either Gray or Eddie Coleman, newsletter editor and staff person, running the operation along with one of the society’s officers or a community volunteer.
Membership in the Hancock County Historical Society is 1,000 strong, and membership is nationwide. In fact, Gray marvels that a contingent of out-of-state members commit to months of volunteer service onsite while vacationing in the Bay area.
In the pre-Katrina years, visitors traveled to Hancock County regularly via tour bus, often to visit the 728 Bay St. Louis houses on the National Registry. The Hancock County Historical Society functions in many ways as a guest or travel center for those who want to know what to see and do while in the area.
At its heart, however, the Historical Society collects, preserves, and maintains a collection of documents, photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts designed to help future generations understand their heritage.
As a private institution with no state funding, the Hancock Historical Society relies entirely on charitable contributions and memberships and is only as strong as its community involvement. To that end, the Historical Society has a standing invitation to anyone who has lived in Hancock County to share their family histories.
If you bring in photographs, volunteers will copy and file them in color-coded binders labeled Waveland, County, People, Tony Scafidi, Hurricanes, Cemeteries, Registered Trees, Bay St. Louis Houses, and so on. The photos will also be scanned and saved online.
As any survivor of a natural disaster can tell you, few things are as important as preserving personal artifacts, memorabilia, and stories. With that in mind, the Hancock County Historical Society invites those whose loved ones have lived in Hancock County to complete a one-page bio sketch of a deceased loved one or family member with roots in Hancock County.
It would be appreciated if you would follow the suggested template. Label and attach a photograph, and include your contact information. All original photographs will be returned to you.
A word to the wise: Don’t let the “Story/Anecdote” section intimidate you. Your story might be a paragraph long and focus on a family holiday, a childhood memory, a rite of passage, a military experience, an encounter with nature, a sports triumph, a religious awakening, or a professional accolade.
Suggested Bio Sketch format