by Karen Fineran
Mystic Krewe of Seahorse Set to Ride For Second Year
photographs courtesy Ann Madden
In case you haven’t heard, or witnessed strolling gaggles of pirates saunter down Main Street this past year, there’s a new Krewe in town.
The Second Annual Lundi Gras Parade of the Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse will be held on Monday, February 16 from 6-8 p.m. in downtown Bay Saint Louis. The theme for this year’s parade is “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay,” a celebration of the culture and music of the 1960s. The parade will feature bands, antique cars, decorated golf carts, and costumed walking krewes!
Talk of the Town
The Krewe held its first annual parade last year on Lundi Gras evening – the first Lundi Gras parade on the Mississippi Gulf Coast! Since that March 2014 debut, the Seahorse Krewe had tons of fun with its year-round celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bay St. Louis during the War of 1812.
Marketing Director Maggie Rafferty Cantrell said that the Krewe has been wildly popular since its inception, drawing nearly 600 members in its first year. Thousands turned out to see the golf cart and antique car parade last year, and she is hoping for an even greater turnout this year.
Queen Nikki Moon said that she was thrilled when she was asked to reign over Seahorse this year. “What a huge honor!” she exclaimed. She explained that the Mystick Krewe of the Seahorse was conceived as a way to commemorate the history of Bay St. Louis, while at the same time creating fun events that would keep Bay residents more involved in their beautiful town, all of which is expected to bolster the economic health of this community and make it an even better place to live and visit.
The Krewe is named after the U.S.S. Seahorse, a War of 1812 schooner, which fought a British fleet on December 14, 1814 during the Battle of Bay St. Louis. That battle was an important action in the War of 1812, and was the last naval battle against a foreign power in American waters. While the Americans ultimately were defeated in Bay St. Louis by the stronger British ships, the engagements helped delay the British arrival in New Orleans, bought Andrew Jackson valuable time, and contributed to the American victory at the famous Battle of New Orleans a few days later.
During the battle of Bay St. Louis, the Seahorse was dispatched into the Bay of St. Louis to harass a fleet of British ships, and to secure munitions in case they fell to the British, while another ship, Alligator, was sent to Chalmette to warn General Jackson of the British approach. In Bay St. Louis, a crowd of townspeople gathered on the bluff at Ulman Avenue to watch the approaching British fleet, and there the first cannon shot was fired from the shore toward the Brits (by an elderly bystander, according to legend). Under the assumption that he had cover fire from shore, the captain of Seahorse attacked the British fleet, they countered in kind, and history was made.
The reenactment was conducted by two Biloxi schooners from the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, each with about 40 passengers in period dress to act out the drama. On land, 200 North Beach Restaurant owner Ann Tidwell reenacted the role of "Miss Claiborne," whom, according to legend, used Mayor Toulme's cigar to ignite the first land-based cannon shot. Other bicentennial festivities that weekend included a costumed Inspection Ball, schooner tours, sailing excursions, Bay Bridge 7K and 1K Runs, a veterans’ motorcycle ride, and a naval oceanography watercraft exhibit.
This year’s golf-cart and vehicle night parade is scheduled to start rolling through downtown Bay St. Louis at 6 p.m. on February 16, 2015. It will assemble at the Historic Train Depot at Blaize and Bookter Avenues, head west on Bookter, turn right on Necaise Avenue, right on Main Street, left on 2nd, right on Demontluzin, right on Beach Boulevard, right on Main, and end at Cue Street near the parking garage. This is THE ONLY parade on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Lundi Gras, and is the happening place to be on Monday night.
For more information about the Krewe, the parade, and information about joining, please call Marketing Director Maggie Rafferty at (662) 617-9422.
Krewe of Diamonds Set To Sparkle in Downtown Bay St. Louis on Fat Tuesday
The Krewe of Diamonds remains the only predominately African-American Krewe to parade on Mardi Gras Day on the Mississippi Coast. Each year, our townspeople look forward to enjoying the premier event of Mardi Gras Day in the Bay-Waveland area.
The Krewe of Diamonds usually announce their King and Queen at their ball, which will be held on Saturday, February 7th at 8 p.m. at the Bay St. Louis Community Center. Tickets can be purchased by calling a Krewe of Diamonds member.
The parade is set to begin at 1:00 P.M, first lining up at Commagere Park on Bookter Street at St. Francis St., then down Booker to a left onto Necaise Avenue, on to a right on Main Street, a right onto Beach Blvd., then right on Union Street and continuing to Blaize Ave. (Third Street). From Blaize Ave., the parade will turn right on Sycamore Street and roll to Old Spanish Trail, ending on Bookter Street.
So, on Mardi Gras Day, pack up your King Cakes, sandwiches, fried chicken, barbecue, and ice chests of beverages, and head downtown or to the Depot District to enjoy a truly enjoyable local tradition.
Those interested in participating in the parade, or for more information about the Krewe of Diamonds, should call Corinn Burton at (228) 671-1471, or Sharon Alexander at (228) 493-2092.