- by Kim Ranjbar
If you've ever ambled up to the bar at The Sycamore House, there's a good chance you've met Deb Davis. For nearly a decade, Davis has been behind the stick pouring drinks and serving smiles at this historic restaurant on Main Street, her frivolity and sincerity drawing folks back again and again.
“Deb’s an integral part of our family. People come in just to see her,” says Michael Eastham, co-owner and chef of The Sycamore House. “She takes excellent care of our patrons – she loves talking to people and taking care of them.”
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Over the years, she has touched many people including Leanne Murray, a Nurse Practitioner at Hancock Women's Center. “My husband and I would go in there [The Sycamore House] before we had children and we'd always sit at the bar whenever Deb was working,” says Murray. “You know, when you do that often you become friends with the person taking care of you.”
Murray and her husband became close with Davis over the years, including sharing their troubling efforts to become pregnant. For several years they had tried to conceive with no success. “We went to the Sycamore House one night and Deb made these crazy cocktails and (lo and behold) I got pregnant!” laughs Murray.
Then, a few weeks before their son turned one, Murray and her husband returned to The Sycamore House for Christmas dinner.
“Deb had a specialty cocktail, Satsuma Martinis, so I had two of them and then I had a positive pregnancy test a couple of weeks later.” says Murray. “That time with twins! So Deb is responsible for all three of my children. It is Deb’s and my favorite inside joke.”
Murray isn't the only one from Hancock Women's Center who appreciates Davis. Dr. Noel Duplantier, Murray's colleague and boss, has also been a longtime patron of The Sycamore House. Every Wednesday after surgery, Duplantier visited the restaurant and sat at the bar for dinner. “She became very good friends with Deb and got to hear a lot about her life” says Murray.
For a quarter of a century, Davis has been a resident of Waveland, enjoying the beach side town together with her two dogs. Just recently, Davis was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and, unfortunately, this is not her first bout.
“This is my third time with cancer. My first diagnosis of breast cancer was 35 years ago” says Davis. “My second bout of breast cancer was 25 years ago.”
When Murray and Duplantier discovered Davis' diagnosis, they immediately leapt to action. “She's been there for us and we love her,” says Murray.
Murray, Duplantier, their husbands and many of their friends have teamed up to host a 5k + Fish Fry Fundraiser for Davis scheduled for Friday, May 20th at 6pm. The 5k is an “out and back” route beginning and ending at the Washington Street Pavilion, hosted by the Bay Saint Louis Running Co.
“We have the race officially marked and measured and timed,” says Murray. “It will be very official, bibs and race bags and all of that.”
There will also be a fish fry with home-made “pastalaya,” coleslaw and beer donated by the Lazy Magnolia Brewery, plus a raffle! Several local businesses have reached out to donate items, services and gift cards to support Davis.
Tickets for the raffle are $5 each and can be purchased at the event or through Venmo @supportdeb.
Prizes include a gift basket from the Main Street spa Renewing Touch Therapies, laser hair removal sessions from Hancock Women's Center, and gift cards from The French Potager, Mockingbird Cafe, Big Play Entertainment Center, Ann Madden Photography & Design, and, of course, The Sycamore House.
Folks are encouraged to join either the 5k or the fish fry, or both! If you're unable to join in on the fundraiser, but still want to help, donations are also accepted through Venmo @supportdeb.
The organizers have also set up a fundraising account at Hancock Bank for folks who may be uncomfortable using Venmo and can't make it out for the event. Follow this link to register for the Fish Fry and 5K Run.
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