Talk of the Town - Feb/March 2018
- story by LB Kovac, photos by Ellis Anderson
The story of the Second Saturday Artwalk SOUPer Mudfest starts like so many stories in our area – with Hurricane Katrina.
Nancy Moynan, SOUPer Mudfest founder and owner of local eatery Lulu’s on Main, says the Bay was hit hard by the record-setting hurricane, but “I had already dug my heels in, and I wasn’t going to let something like a silly hurricane make me leave.”
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success; in this case, the “rose” is Bay St. Louis’s main cultural attractions, the Old Town Historic District.
The Second Saturday Artwalk, approaching its 25 year, draws locals, as well as visitors from across the region. Every monthly celebration offers live music, art openings and shop/restaurant specials.
Talk of the Town
And there's SOUPer Mudfest each March, now in its ninth year. It's expected to attract more than one thousand people to the Old Town district during its one-night-only stint.
And, with just $20, you can be a part.
The streets downtown, where Moynan and other community members had their businesses, were practically rubble, and “everyone was wearing shrimp boots to get around,” she said.
With conditions so bad, it was difficult to attract shoppers.
Eventually, though, the streets were repaired, and downtown Bay St. Louis returned to something that seemed more or less normal. There was no more mud, no more shrimp boots.
It was a chance for the Bay’s restaurant and business owners, herself included, to show off some of their best recipes, and the town to show that, despite the destruction of the last few years, it was still alive and kicking. Mudfest, like Bay St. Louis, experienced a rebirth.
That first year, Moynan’s gathered a team of six potters to make 280 bowls, as well as a host of local businesses to serve soup. They set up shop under a tent at the corner of Main and 2nd streets. With a price tag of $20 per bowl, the Mudfest’s entire stock sold out in the first hour of the event. It seems that Bay St. Louis residents were hungry for such an event.
SOUPer Mudfest continues to be a chance for visitors and community members to “see how fantastic our town is,” Moynan said. The $20 fee doesn’t just buy a bowl or free soup. The money, split among the potters, Old Town Merchants’ Association, Hancock County Food Pantry, and the Hancock County Tourism board, goes to maintaining the indomitable, Bohemian spirit that makes Bay St. Louis great.
This SOUPer Mudfest kicks off Saturday, March 10, at 4 p.m., near the corner of Main and Second streets. Early bird sales of bowls begin at 3:30 p.m. If you join in, Moynan said, “You might find a new artist you fall in love with.” Or a business. Or a whole town.