Across the Bridge - March 2015
Bob, Bob, Bobbing Along
by Rheta Grimsley Johnson
- This month - Rheta remembers when "a bobber could mean the difference between a fish fry on the bank or a long and depressing drive home."
I come here often, despite that on warm weekends the place is full of tourists and college kids who fill the tables on the breezy deck and remind me I am no longer young and willing to lie prone on the beach till I render myself the Crayola box color called Burnt Sienna. Bars come and go so fast in the Pass that nobody knows anyone’s name anywhere anyhow.
A friendly waiter named something youthful like Justin or Taylor introduced himself, took my order and pointed to the abbreviated fishing pole sticking out of a block of wood. I had mistaken it for table decoration but it had, he said, a utilitarian purpose.
“If you need anything, push up the bobber,” he instructed, sliding the piece of cork up the nylon line in the same absent-minded fashion flight attendants use to show you how to put on a life-saving oxygen mask. I’ve seen that oxygen demonstration hundreds of times, but if ever I needed the mask I’d require a quick refresher course.
I think the young man said push “up” the bobber, though my failing memory may have recorded that backwards. He might just as easily have said pull the bobber “down” for attention and service.
I can’t remember now, and I couldn’t remember then, but I did notice my faithful server was frequently popping over and asking if I was okay, needed water, wanted condiments, lusted after pie or loved my mother. It wasn’t until after I left that I realized I must have had the infernal bobber in the wrong and needy position.
I should be thankful that this wasn’t one of those high-tech restaurants with its menu on a computerized device. I’ve lately encountered that a couple of times. The menu items slipped around in virtual space like BB’s on linoleum. It only made me long for an old-fashioned, laminated, tri-fold menu smeared with the last customer’s meal.
But back to that bobber.
I remember when positioning your bobber was of utmost importance, not a gimmicky way to summon your server. In the tannic-acid blackened creeks and streams of South Georgia where I did most of my fishing, a bobber could mean the difference between a fish fry on the bank or a long and depressing drive home.
My grandmother Lucille – the most serious fisherman in the family – would check to make sure my bobber kept the seductive worm swimming in the temptress position, not dragging the muddy bottom. It was an exact, yet entirely intuitive process that I never got quite right. Lucille, on the other hand, spit snuff and took names. There was nothing recreational about fishing to that woman. She was all business.
I liked fishing but for another reason. I would sit on an upturned bucket on the creek bank and daydream about lovely lavender prom dresses and boys with crew cuts until the setting sun lit up the cypress trees like a Tiffany lampshade.
Fishing was a good time for such quiet thinking, as adults seemed sincerely to believe that fish could hear a child’s every utterance and would quickly swim downstream and away if they suspected we were about. My grandmother had speaking privileges, of course, though she rarely used them when fishing. Youngsters were to remain as quiet as the worms in the coffee can.
Not to brag, but I learned on these fishing outings to be contemplative while outdoors. Looking around the cute harbor restaurant the other day, I decided it’s a lesson that ought to be brushed off and taught again.
Children were ruling at several tables, and not benevolently. Two boys, both of them too old for the baby fat that made climbing onto the restaurant’s high stools a challenge, created a ruckus when the food did not suit. I wondered why they weren’t outdoors fishing on this fine day instead of ordering soft drinks and fries.
But I didn’t stick with that line of inquisition long. I was in no position. Why wasn’t I outside with a real pole instead of indoors reminiscing as I ate?
I pushed or pulled the bobber and asked for my check.
Rheta Grimsley Johnson books are available at the regular online outlets or the charming local bookstores that make buying one a fun experience - Bay Books and Pass Books/Cat Island Coffeehouse
At Home in the Bay - March 2015
Good Bones, Simple Pleasures
story and photos by Ellis Anderson
- This month - Marilyn and Wayne Gouguet take a historic cottage with good bones and create a Bay home where every detail shines.
The cottage was not beautiful. In fact, it was a mess. So was the town. Only two years had passed since Katrina’s unprecedented destruction. The city’s entire infrastructure was undergoing a messy overhaul and in 2007, it seemed that every street in Bay St. Louis was made from mud. Many streets were lined with empty lots, abandoned buildings and FEMA trailers. St. George, a narrow lane running through the heart of Old Town had its own share of sad scenery. The little side hall cottage was one among many.
But 303 St. George possessed something many others did not: good bones. The original house is one of the few side hall cottages in Bay St. Louis and was built in 1890. Wayne and Marilyn recognized what it could become with time, and vision, and work.
The couple have lots of practice at restoration. Soon after they married in 1980, they tackled the makeover of a 1920s bungalow in Picayune. Although they eventually sold it and moved into a contemporary home they built, the passion for historic housing never faded.
So they purchased the gutted cottage on St. George and spent the next two years working on its restoration. Since the couple live full time in Picayune where Wayne is a city councilman (in addition to working as a contractor) and Marilyn is a private practice therapist, they commuted weekends to work on the house. Wayne handled the construction end of the renovation while Marilyn oversaw the interior design.
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Just months after the purchase, the Gouguets were thrilled to learn that their cottage was included in the boundaries of the newly formed Bay St. Louis Historic District. It was created by the city council in April 2007 after an overwhelming number of property owners voted to establish one.
“Some people don’t realize what a positive impact being in a historic district has on property values,” says Wayne. “We knew that Bay St. Louis was going to come back with a vengeance.”
Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) had a hand in the restoration too, helping out with grant funding and architectural oversight. Working with MDAH, the front rooms were replastered and original floors sanded and restored. In the quest for historic accuracy, Marilyn and Wayne also embarked on a historic scavenger hunt of grand proportions, seeking out everything from period door hardware and shutters to trim and moldings.
Wayne even went so far as to find and install antique ceiling fans, while Marilyn chose a kicky contemporary lighting fixture for the dining room. She also opted for bright wall colors and contemporary artwork. Fortunately, her sister is the well-known artist Joyce Livingston King, who paints bold, strikingly rendered images of fish, crabs and landscapes. The juxtaposition of the antique, the vintage and the modern in the house seamlessly work to create a comfortable, timeless atmosphere.
“I even love the detail of a historic transom window,” says Wayne. “Seeing that wavy glass and knowing that it’s 110 years old makes you think of all the families and people who came before you.”
The Gouguets have actually met some of the people who came before them. The first time Wayne went to pull building permits, he met Charlene Black, the city’s zoning official. When Charlene saw the address on the form, she smiled and revealed that she’d grown up in 303 St. George.
The Gouguets spend most weekends in the Bay and have friends lined up to reserve the two bedroom/one bath cottage on weekends when they can’t. One couple loved visiting so much, they ended up buying their own house in the Bay. Other frequent guests are still shopping.
And maybe, just maybe, they’ll be fortunate enough to find a house with bones as fine as the one at 303 St. George.
Joyce King's work can be seen at Blue Skies Gallery in Long Beach and Vintage Vault (in the train depot) in Gulfport.
Al Lawson - On Design
Somewhere along the path of life and work it made sense to me to have a signature something. It was a no brainer that one of my signatures would be a bow tie. My dad always wears bow ties – and always has. I simply adopted that style idea as well. It may be a little more evident in my life and work, however, because I wear one every day. Or almost every day. I really do it because it’s easy and I don’t have to think as much about what I am going to wear. There you have it. The method to my madness. In that same way of thinking I have tried to find other signatures to simplify my life – and to be memorable and unique. Our signature wine. Our signature dessert. That signature meal I always take to someone if they are sick or need some expression of love. That signature cologne. Or that signature stationary. So pick the things that are your signatures! Be memorable! And simplify your life at the same time.
Bay Reads - March 2015
Writing About Writers
by Carole McKellar
- This month - Carolyn J. Brown explores the lives of Eudora Welty and Margaret Walker Alexander in two new books, "A Daring Life" and "Song of My Life." "Bay Reads" looks at both books and lands an exclusive interview with Carolyn J. Brown!
One of the points that struck me in her talk was that Eudora Welty, an iconic figure in American literature, is typically shown in photographs as an old woman. The book covers of both biographies feature photographs of the writers as young women. Dr. Brown’s stated intention was to write books for young readers, but her books speak to readers of all ages. She used photographs liberally and frequently quoted both writers.
Although both biographies are entertaining reads, they are scholarly books with appendices, bibliographies, and source notes. Dr. Brown is an adjunct instructor at Millsaps College. She earned a BA from Duke University in English and History and a Master’s and Ph.D. in English from University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Both Margaret Walker and Eudora Welty were fortunate to have educated parents who provided an environment filled with books and reverence for learning. They were born in the early years of the twentieth century. They were educated in prestigious universities in the Midwest, but both spent most of their working lives in Jackson, Mississippi. Ms. Welty never married and lived in her family home until her death in 2001. Ms. Walker married and raised four children as the primary breadwinner. She died in 1998.
A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty, was published by University Press of Mississippi in 2012. The title comes from Ms. Welty’s autobiographical One Writer’s Beginnings when she wrote, “As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.” Much has been written about Ms. Welty, but A Daring Life emphasized her childhood and young adult life. The book included charming photographs of her youthful artwork. Aside from her novels, stories, and essays, Ms. Welty was an accomplished photographer. She loved to travel and led a more adventurous life than would be expected of a lady of her class and time.
Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker was published in October, 2014 in time for the centennial of her birth. This is the first biography of Ms. Walker who was described as “the most famous person nobody knows.” Ms. Walker is best known for writing Jubilee, published in 1966, a novel which tells the story of her great-grandmother. She was a poet, essayist, and educator. For most of her career, she taught at Jackson State University, the site of the Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center, which contains her papers. Ms. Walker was the contemporary and friend of Richard Wright, Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, and other influential African American writers of the twentieth century.
Excerpts of Ms. Walker’s poetry in Song of My Life led me to search out entire poems on the Poetry Foundation website. There is power and beauty in her poems. “For My People," arguably her most famous poem, was part of a collection that won her the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1942. The following demonstrates the strength of her voice:
For my people standing staring trying to fashion a better way
from confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding,
trying to fashion a world that will hold all the people,
all the faces, all the adams and eves and their countless generations;
Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a
bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second
generation full of courage issue forth; let a people
loving freedom come to growth.
The poem “I Want to Write” articulates Ms. Walkers ambition as an artist.
I want to write
I want to write the songs of my people
I want to hear them singing melodies in the dark.
I want to catch the last floating strains from their sob-torn throats.
I want to frame their dreams into words; their souls into notes.
I want to catch their sunshine laughter in a bowl;
fling dark hands to a darker sky
and fill them full of stars
then crush and mix such lights till they become
a mirrored pool of brilliance in the dawn.
With these two books, Carolyn J. Brown reintroduced us to the gifted life of Margaret Walker Alexander and has given us a fresh and vivid portrayal of Eudora Welty. Their stories stayed with me for weeks as I contemplated their lives and accomplishments. I look forward to reading Dr. Brown’s next book about the life of Kate Freeman Clark (1875-1957), an impressionist painter from Holly Springs, Mississippi. She is currently doing research on Clark, who is largely unknown in her home state. That should be another fascinating read.
Carol J. Brown Interview
In order to learn more about Dr. Brown’s habits as a writer and a reader, I asked her the following questions which she kindly answered:
What kind of books did you enjoy reading as a child?
I loved biographies! There was a series (I don’t recall the name), and I enjoyed the ones about strong women like Clara Barton, Jane Addams and Florence Nightingale. I loved the Little House on the Prairie series. I loved fairy tales.
What do you enjoy reading in your spare time now?
I love new fiction, but after a while I will pick up a classic I missed or reread one that I have not read in a while. I read one Jane Austen novel a year. It’s funny—I don’t tend to read biography. I prefer fiction. (Ms. Brown is the president of the Mississippi chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America.)
What books are on your nightstand?
The Signature of Everything by Elizabeth Gilbert; The Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill; Sanditon and Other Stories by Jane Austen; Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash
When did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think I ever decided or there was a moment when I said, “I am going to be a writer when I grow up.” I had great English teachers in high school, and my creative writing teacher submitted a story I wrote (entitled “The Rose Garden”) to a local contest and it won! In college I wrote a couple of papers I was quite proud of, followed by my Master’s thesis and dissertation. My dissertation won “Dissertation of the Year” from UNC-Greensboro, a $1000 prize. I never published my dissertation, but it was over 500 pages so I knew I could write a book—I had the discipline. But marriage and children interrupted my writing career, and I didn’t get back to it until I moved to Jackson and rediscovered Eudora Welty who I first read in graduate school.
What lead you to write biographies?
I thought there needed to be a book about Eudora Welty for the younger set. I first tried to write her life as a story for young children, but I couldn’t find the right voice. Then I found a biography of Edith Wharton written by a librarian (The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge) that I loved. It was about 150 pages and a beautiful combination of illustration and text. And it was an enjoyable read for all ages. I had found my model and, as it turns out, my genre. I would love to write fiction, but all my life I have written in the academic realm. Not since I wrote “The Rose Garden” in the eleventh grade have I written any fiction!
Why did you choose to write for younger readers?
I have two sons and felt that they did not have a book that introduced them to Eudora Welty. I wanted them to know who Welty was, visit her house, read her fiction…there was no book that met the needs of the upper middle and high school age student. And, according to my editor, the Mississippi Library Association had approached her with a request for more non-fiction books for young readers. So the timing was right, and a biography series was born.
How long did it take you to write each book? What percentage of the time was spent on research and what on actually writing?
At least, at a minimum for me, two years. I need a year to a year and a half for research and writing. I love research—going to libraries, reading primary documents, collecting photographs, just getting carried away with the subject. Then I write, and I write pretty quickly. Once I turn the manuscript in it goes through all the steps that University Press of Mississippi requires—editing, layout, gathering permissions, until it is finally ready to be printed. So, to answer you question, I would say it is a 60/40 split: 60% research, 40% writing.
What advice would you give would be writers?
If you have something you want to write about, stick with it. It can be hard to get published, but it’s important to find the right publisher and editor. And writing is rewriting. I have a writing partner in Jackson who read many drafts and told me when I got off track and away from the subject. You need a person you trust to read your drafts. Find a writing partner or group.
Shared History - March 2015
The Mississippi Blues Trail
The Mississippi Blues Trail
The name evokes smoky blues dives, crooning singers, and wailing guitars. Created by the Mississippi Blues Foundation, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to education about the roots of blues music, the Blues Trail commemorates Mississippi’s most treasured archive, the stories of the birth of the blues (and, by extension, the emergence of rhythm and blues, or R&B, and rock 'n’ roll music as well).
The Blues Trail currently consists of 184 iconic locations, mostly in Mississippi, that were endemic to the growth of blues music as a unique American genre (a few sites are in other states with which Mississippi has had extensive musical interchange, such as Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee).
Blues on the Coast
According to Wikapedia, the famed "chitlin' circuit" is the name given to the string of performance venues throughout primarily the southern U.S in which African American musicians and comedians performed during the age of racial segregation. (The name derives from the soul food item “chitterlings,” or stewed pig intestines.)
And from the Blues Trail website, The Mississippi Coast, long a destination for pleasure seekers, tourists, and gamblers developed a flourishing nightlife during the segregation era. Dozens of clubs and cafes here rocked to the sounds of blues, jazz, and rhythm & blues.
Moreover, in the last twenty or so years, the casinos and the Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Festival (in Pascagoula in September) have added to a grand resurrection of blues, R&B and soul entertainment on the Gulf Coast. A new wave of blues and soul stars have come from all parts of the country to perform at clubs and casinos in Bay St. Louis to Biloxi and beyond.
Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, there are at least four locations marked on the Mississippi Blues Trail, including spots in Gulfport, Biloxi, and one right here in Bay St. Louis. In fact, one of the most interesting spots on the Blues Trail is the 100 Men Hall, a currently operating blues venue that is drawing exciting acts from the Coast, New Orleans, and elsewhere.
Bay St. Louis
The 100 Men Hall was built in 1922 by the fraternal organization One Hundred Members’ Debating Benevolent Association. (The initials D.B.A. have been known to indicate Death and Burial Associations, and the group provided burial services to its members.) The Hall, along with the local churches, was the center of the African American social scene in Bay St. Louis. Events and fundraisers of all types from plays and pageants to wedding receptions and dances took place at the hall.
During the 1940′s, 50′s and 60′s, many of the region’s greatest blues, rhythm and blues, and soul music artists performed at The 100 Men Hall, and it was a regular stop for many of the artists on the “chitlin’ circuit.” Many of the greatest stars during the heyday of New Orleans’ R&B music scene performed at the Hall, including James Brown, Big Joe Turner, Etta James, Ike and Tina Turner, Guitar Slim, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Ernie K-Doe, Earl King, Deacon John, and Irma Thomas. (In fact, Irma Thomas’ first performance as a paid singer was at 100 Men Hall!) Gulf Coast performers such as Harry Fairconnetue, Carl Gates and The Decks, Guitar Bo and The Claudettes, and the “shake dancer” Miss Dee also regularly performed at 100 Men Hall.
After several incarnations, including as a disabled veterans’ hall and a bingo hall in the 80s, the building was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was purchased and restored to its original state by Jesse and Kerrie Loya, The 100 Men Hall operates today as an ongoing live blues locale, still drawing crowds to see danceable live music, just like in the 1930s through 70s! In 2011, this local landmark was recognized for its role in the history of the blues, anda historical Blues Trail marker was dedicated at the hall.
100 Men Hall owner Kerrie Loya says she has been thrilled with the success of the Hall since it re-opened, and is proud of its legacy and its inclusion on the Blues Trail. The Hall’s Blues Trail marker, she explained, is one of just a handful of commemorative markers in the state that are attached to an actual building, rather than for example a street corner or area of town. The building itself, restored to its original condition, has much to do with evoking the ambience of the Coast’s blues past, she said.
In the past few years, musicians and acts that have performed at 100 Men Hall have included Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Little Freddie King, Marcia Ball, Deacon John, Eric Lindell, and local favorites Pat Murphy Band and Guitar Bo and Ms. Dee. The Hall also attracts lesser known blues acts to the Coast – for example, an all-female Japanese blues band, Pink Magnolia – in its tradition of increasing the Coast’s exposure to all sorts of blues music.
According to Loya, the 100 Men Hall will release a vinyl LP at the end of May (yes, vinyl!) featuring seven songs recorded live at the Hall in the past three years. With the assistance of a grant from the Mississippi Development Authority/Tourism, the album will be released in a tri-fold cover with original cover art, liner notes and photography from local artists. Loya said that there is already a waiting list for the LP. The 100 Men Hall is planning a listening/premiere party in conjunction with the record release (come back to the Cleaver for more news about that event!) For more information, or to purchase the LP, contact Kerrie Loya at Kerrie@100menhall.org.
Read Part 2! Karen follows the Blues Trail across the bridge to Pass Christian, Gulfport, Biloxi and beyond!
Coast Lines - March 2015
Blue Ridge Portrait in the Bay
- This month - American-Gothic-Goes-Appalachia in a stark portrait of life in the Blue Ridge.
The Town Green - March 2015
- this month - Take a look around town, because this spring it's going to be greener than ever!
Take a look around. Bay St. Louis has seen many changes to its appearance in the almost 10 years since you-know-what muddled it up. Small improvements are continually being made to bring our native inhabitants back, to fill our community with life. If you are observant to the quick work of the volunteers, you might notice some additions spotting the terrain around town, especially down Main Street and Highway 90 near the bridge.
The Town Green
Since Hurricane Katrina, there have been numerous other beautification projects in the city, all with the help of volunteers and donations. The goal of the Beautification Division and Katharine Ohman is to “re-green” our area and in doing so, add to “its intrinsic value,” Katharine tells me. Ideally, in the long run, that intrinsic value aids tourism and economic development.
Overall, these cosmetic improvements have been positive for residents and business owners. Local antique and art dealer, Althea Boudreaux, is grateful to have two new Crape Myrtles in front of her business Something Special on 207 Main.
“Without a doubt, the addition of the Crape Myrtle trees creates an ambiance of Southern charm and warmth to the 100-year-old cottages of the 200 block,” she says.
Katharine has been a part of many steps in the process of re-greening our city and county. She, along with the Beautification Division and Chamber of Commerce, put great care into projects like this one. Katharine has personally been involved with maintaining funding by donations, planning and organization, volunteer management, and compiling reports . “I also get my hands and boots dirty on most projects,” she adds.
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Because these trees are expected to be large monuments on our landscape, the BSL Beautification Division also takes proper and legal precautions around roads, taking into account power lines, underground pipes, and driver sight lines.
How is Bay St. Louis able to obtain so many beautiful trees? Katharine explains, “Donations come from several sources, however chief among them is Dan Batson’s GreenForest Nursery in Perkinston, Mississippi.”
Dan is a generous contributor to our area, since 2006. He offered donations of trees and vegetation to many Gulf Coast communities after Katrina destroyed so much of the greenery.
“Bay St. Louis was almost the only one to respond, and Dan was confident that the products of his generosity would not be wasted,” Katharine says.
Small efforts like this one are certainly not wasted on Bay St. Louis. The addition of new greenery helps to replace the estimated 320 million trees along the Gulf Coast lost to Katrina, according to a study by Jeff Chambers, a Tulane University biology professor.
Thanks to the BSL Beautification Division, Katharine Ohman, Dan Batson, and the armies of volunteers from Keesler, Americorps, Habitat for Humanity, Master Gardners, the local NAACP, and so many more, our local ecosystem can breath a lot easier.
Bay Bride - March 2015
Erin Elizabeth Favre + Jon Jason Blanchette
What's Up Waveland - March 2015
- This month - Street projects near completion, upcoming events and new tree sculpture!
Editor's Note: After more than nine years, LiLi Stahler Murphy is taking a break from writing a monthly newsletter for the residents of Waveland. LiLi served as a Waveland Alderman for eight years and her extraordinary volunteer service on behalf of her community was recognized when she won the coveted 2014 Hancock County Citizen of the Year award. Her many accomplishments will continue to benefit the citizens of Waveland for many generations to come.
Thank you, LiLi!
Upcoming Events in Waveland
On March 14th the Waveland Civic Association’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will roll down Coleman Avenue. The 2015 WCA St. Patrick’s Day will be the 51st time the Waveland Civic Association has paraded in Waveland the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. The parade will also include the new hit marching club, The Raw Oysters.
Hope to see everyone lined up on Central Avenue and Coleman Avenue ready to catch beads, cups and cabbage.
Featured this year will be historic buildings which were in existence in 1938 when the Garden Club was officially organized along with a number of other beautiful properties in Bay St Louis and Waveland. Come down to the Waveland Civic Center to pick up your pilgrimage map and have fun on March 21st admiring the charm of Hancock County.
What Is That?
If you have driven by Elwood Bourgeois Park, you may have noticed a dying oak tree as it evolved into a piece of art. The Waveland Civic Association commissioned tree sculptor James Seal to carve the oak tree into a softball player. The tree was carved not only to add beauty to the park, but also to commemorate the recently deceased Waveland Civic Association member and longtime Waveland youth sport supportor, Herb Sires.
The Big Buzz - March 2015
Old Town Sizzles as Businesses Expand, Open Up and Move In!
Cuevas Bistro Set to Open May 1st!
From Lisa Monti's Notebook
You may have heard that Old Cuevas Bistro is opening on Main Street. It’s been a poorly kept secret, but details are now becoming available on the new restaurant at 111 Main Street inside the space where Bay Breeze operated until recently.
The Big Buzz
Bay Life Opening on March 14th
The store's tag-line reads "The Shop for Bay Coastal Style," and to owner Janice Guido that means style for home, garden and wardrobe.
Some of the lines you'll find in Bay Life are Crestview lamps, Capel Rugs, Caspari table accessories, Napa Home baskets and vases, the popular Tervis Tumblers, sea-glass jewelry and bamboo scarves. Home decor items also include made-in-the -US sisal rugs that can be custom ordered. Guido also expects Golden Rabbit enamel-ware to be a big hit, since the eye-catching place settings are unbreakable and can go from oven to table.
And local pottery fans will be delighted to learn that gumbo bowls and other creations by Joy Mehrtens will be featured regularly in Bay Life.
Bohemian Gallery opens on 209 Main St.
The Bohemian Gallery, Gulf Coast Art Cooperative LLC, is open on Saturdays from 10-5pm unless there is a Festival on Main St. Bay Louis - then, the gallery is open for the entire Festival, as it will be for Arts Alive, on March 21st. Several Gulf Coast Art Cooperative members have entered the Showcase for Arts Alive, and, also, the Juried Competition.
The Bohemian Gallery is also available for teaching and private shows. If you would like to do a private show Sunday- Friday, the gallery is available for that.
The old green building now houses 20 vendors, who feature all varieties of antiques and art. Boudreaux, an antique enthusiast, has been collecting for decades. “My vision for Something Special was to support local artists by providing a permanent venue to show and sell their craft while also sharing history through antiques," she explains.
Boudreaux believes that anyone could find something special in the rooms of collectible nostalgia and wide variety of artwork. Her art vendors showcase chainsaw carved wooden statues, hand crafted jewelry, slumped bottles, painted silk dresses, knot wood bowls, bottle trees, and handmade furniture, along with photography and paintings.
Open 7 days a week from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
Good Neighbor - March 2015
Russell Guerin - A Passion For History
- This month, a visit with one of the community's most dedicated historians, Russell Guerin, as he tracks down the truth behind Hancock County legends.
15 Minutes - March 2015
Scroll down for dozens of pictures from Mardi Gras 2015 - Bay-Waveland style - in four separate slideshows!
All photos by Cleaver editor/photographer Ellis Anderson and Melinda Boudreaux unless otherwise attributed. If you're featured in one of the pictures below, feel free to copy it onto your desktop and share. If you're posting it somewhere like Facebook, photo credit is appreciated. High resolution files and prints are available for purchase, contact Ellis.
Krewe of Kids, February 7th
Nereids Parade, February 8th
Mystic Krewe of Seahorse, Lundi Gras Day, February 16th
Krewe of Diamonds, Mardi Gras Day, February 17th
Well, Well, Well - March 2015
Spring Cleaning for the Body
- This month - Include your body along with your house in that wonderful ritual of Spring Cleaning!
Spring is right around the corner and people everywhere are making plans to clean out the cupboards, pantries and closets in that wonderful ritual called“Spring Cleaning." According to many, Iranian customs are responsible for this yearly event. In Iran, the new year, “Nowruz," arrives on March 21 and is a time of regeneration. Iranians partake in a ritual, “Khaneh Tekani," that literally means to “shake the house." New clothes are bought, every nook and cranny of the home are scoured, and scented flowers are brought in to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Well, Well, Well
AGNI - The Sacred Fire Within
According to Bayan Botanicals, resetting Agni is great for those who struggle with: digestive issues like constipation, loose or irregular bowel movements, a lack of energy, or intense cravings for spicy, salty or sweet foods. A mono-diet based on your constitution is just the thing to put you back on a healthy path. If you have trouble skipping meals, you will eat kitchari, a mixture of basmati rice and split mung dahl. If you feel lethargic with a cloudy mind, fruit is your choice. For those who feel uncomfortably heavy and dull, a juice fast is the choice.
Now to get started. Pick a day where you can have peace and quiet and minimize stress. Don’t eat after 7pm the night before. Upon arising on your agni reset day, scrape your tongue and scrub your body with a hemp body mitt or loofah. Drink 16 ounces hot water to cleanse your system. Do some gentle exercise such as stretching or take an easy walk. Eat your chosen mono-diet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three hours in between meals. Drink 8-12 cups of room temperature water or hot fluids. You can also take triphola tablets or powde one half hour before bed, which should be 10pm.
Now if you really feel great after one day of detoxing, you can purchase a seven-day Ayurvedic cleanse kit for $69.95 here.
The Pressed Juicery Cleanse
Cleanse #1 is for those who are new to cleansing, athletes or those with higher caloric requirements. This cleanse includes two almond milks high in protein and complex carbohydrates.
Cleanse #2 includes their most popular juices including the “Greens 2”, kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon.
Cleanse #3 if for experienced juice cleansers and is the lowest calorie option.
Once your cleanse is over, you can opt to purchase a post-cleanse box consisting of three days worth of meals for $75. It includes green detox salad, cauliflower tabbouleh and quinoa with veggies.
I am always weirdly impressed with packaging and the Pressed Juicery takes the prize for the most beautiful website and juice bottles. Does it make Pressed Juicery better than other cleanse options? Not necessarily, but it definitely makes me want their products over others.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Favorite Cleanse
Alejandro Junger, the “detox it boy”, is the creator of the Clean Program, a 21-day program which gets rid of dairy, sugar, alcohol, gluten, caffeine, nightshade veggies (potatoes, eggplants), soy and peanuts. He claims that “toxins slow us down and make us sick”. For $450, you can prove him right or wrong. Now, I think the biggest thing a program like this does is teach us what foods are good for our bodies by fine tuning our food choices, teaching us what it feels like to be hungry, and to feel gloriously and healthfully satisfied.
For a look at the reality of a 21-day cleanse program, read the hilarious article “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cleanse Made Me A Monster." It’s the account of one woman’s Clean Cleanse experience. My favorite part of the whole article is her account of cheating by adding an extra scoop of lentils!! Now I love lentils, and am hard-pressed to ever find a way that eating lentils equals cheating.
You can order the program book “Clean” at local bookstores (or online) and I found the accompanying reviews to be excellent and full of practical advice.
The Wellness Detective Weighs In
Now, I must admit, I have done a five day juice fast preceded by a high colonic (I am from California, after all), and I was less than overwhelmed with the results. In retrospect, I believe I didn’t see dramatic results because I have spent my entire life eating healthy and exercising. I love food and love cooking and really am not a fan of juice, so the whole experience was kind of a drag.
I have also done an Agni reset from Deepak Chopra’s book “Perfect Health." His is different from the one I outlined above but seeks to accomplish the same reset. Chopra advises doing the program over a weekend:
- Friday do not eat or drink alcohol after noon and at night eat a light dinner. Before bed, take one tablespoon of castor oil, followed by a glass of hot water. You may be awakened in the middle of the night to have a bowel movement; others wait until morning.
- Saturday have fruit juice cut with warm water for your meals. Apple or grape is best. You can have three to four glasses as snacks. Avoid strenuous exercise and spend the day doing as little as possible!
- Sunday start the morning with a light breakfast of hot cereal. Avoid coffee and tea. Do not eat again until noon., then have a good, moderate lunch. Do not just have a salad and avoid anything fried or very spicy. Don’t eat again until dinner. Have a lighter meal, perhaps just lentils, rice and steamed vegetables.
I really enjoyed this routine and felt lighter and purer after completing it. To reap all the benefits, continue to eat a light breakfast and light dinner, making lunch the biggest meal of the day. Don’t skip meals, take it easy on the booze and coffee, and avoid eating between meals.
So here’s to a good Spring cleaning, inside and out! I would love to hear from any of you that participate in any cleanse, fast or agni reset program.
Upcoming Events - March 2015
- In March! Lazy Magnolia Brewery celebrates a 10th anniversary, St. Pat's parade in Waveland, Souper Mudfest AND Second Saturday in Old Town. The Spring Pilgrimage Home Tour is also on the slate, along with Arts Alive!, a presentation on Women's Sufferage, Mr. Atticus's Night Market and a 100 Men Hall show with Eric Lindale.
For a full list of monthly happenings, go to our Community Calendar page!
3/6 - Friday
Tickets for the event are $15 at the door and include a specialty pint glass and beer samples. There will also be three cask beers available for this night only. Tickets may also be pre-purchased online through the Lazy Magnolia website at http://lazymagnolia.com.
Lazy Magnolia Brewery
3/14 - Saturday
Parade begins near the city park at the corner of Central and Waveland Ave, traveling east on Central to Coleman ave, then to the Beach on Coleman, turning east on Beach to Lafayette, then up Lafayette to Central then left to Waveland Ave.
Waveland St. Patrick's Parade
3/14 - Saturday
Funds raised benefit the Hancock County Food Pantry, Hancock County Tourism and the Old Town Merchants Association.
3/14 - Saturday
As always, two designated "Hot Spot" businesses are spotlighted. Meet the March Hot Spots, Biz-Zee Bee and Alternate Reality Artists Gallery on the Cleaver's Second Saturday page!
Second Saturday Artwalk
Spring Pilgrimage Home Tour
3/21 - Saturday
3/24 - Tuesday
Women's Suffrage in Mississippi
3/27 - Friday
Mr. Atticus's Night Market
3/27 - Friday
Eric Lindell & Co.
Coast Cuisine - March 2015
- This month - If you feel the need to pretend that eating seafood on Fridays during Lent is a hardship, please do. Otherwise, let’s just be grateful for an abundance of fish and other local seafood to keep us faithful and fed.
On opening Friday, St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church volunteers worked in a well organized pattern of taking lunch orders, frying fish, filling styrofoam plates and matching customers with their meals.
There was a tiny wait when friends and I placed our orders but it was well worth it when we got our piping hot catfish, sides and dessert. The four pieces of catfish were crunchy and so well seasoned I skipped the ketchup and dipped into the tarter sauce only lightly. The potato salad was creamy and the green beans were tasty, too. (The cake came home with me for a mid-afternoon snack.) All that, including a canned drink or bottled water, for an $8 donation.
The St. Rose fish fry is held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Holy Spirit Center at 301 South Necaise Ave. Delivery is available with 10 or more orders. Call 228-467-9700.
At Our Lady of the Gulf, intrepid cookers sit outside in the cold frying up batches of catfish and hushpuppies. Frank Ladner and a large crew of volunteers are frying and baking and serving catfish, green beans, hushpuppies, cabbage slaw, a beverage and cake to raise funds in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
The OLG conference of St. Vincent de Paul is composed of three parishes: Our Lady of the Gulf, St. Clare and St. Rose de Lima. The Society helps residents of Hancock County who are in need, so fundraisers like the fish fry at Our Lady of the Gulf are an appropriate activity for the Lent.
Enjoy yours from 4:30 - 7:30pm for $10!
Lenten fish fry dinners at St. Ann Catholic Church, situated on Lower Bay Road in Clermont Harbor, began just about six months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed Parish buildings, along with most church member’s homes. The first year, dinners were fixed outside on propane grills and cookers, but then that’s the way most people fixed meals in those days. Today dinner is prepared in a modern kitchen and is for dine in or take out from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays between Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. Plate dinners cost $8, with desserts and drinks available at an additional cost. Proceeds from this event go of offset Parish insurance costs, something we all wish we could for our own homes!
Diane Staszak coordinates this this event and dispenses desserts. Dinner always includes fried fish, coleslaw, hush puppies and bread, with homemade potato salad or mac and cheese while it lasts. Fries are available when those are gone. Dessert selection depends on the specialties of the many folks who bring these items. Depending on the weather, somewhere around 70 to 120 meals are dispensed each Friday evening. Many parishioners help with dinner, with the men taking over the kitchen while the several ladies greet friends and sell tickets at the door. On the night of my visit, these women of the church represented a combined 24 years of experience at this task.
St. Clare is on a Lenten journey as a parish group moving together the next 40 days toward Easter. And each Friday the whole parish works together to host a Lenten Fish Fry at the church from 5 to 7. Fried fish and Shrimp plates, $10, Oysters and combo, $12. Includes two sides, beverages and desserts available.
The church did these fish fry events annually before Hurricane Katrina but have just now resumed them in the past four years since they have been in their new building. The funds raised from the dinners goes into a general fund to support St. Clare and its activities.
Second Saturday - March 2015
A Souper Second Saturday - March 14th
This Month - Souper Mudfest takes the town by storm in one of the most popular events of the year, with Hot Spots Biz-zee Bee and Alternate Reality Artist Gallery!
Growing Up Downtown - March 2015
The Drive Into Old Bay St. Louis
- Historian and well-known coast musician Pat Murphy has been working on his memoir "Growing Up Downtown" for several years. During 2015, the Cleaver will feature one of his essays each month - along with historical photographs from his archives.
I have been told by folks like Mr. Buster Heitzmann that in the days before Highway 90 was completed from New Orleans people would ship automobiles over from New Orleans. Either by boat or rail car, they would be unloaded upon arrival in Bay St. Louis for use during the summer season. After the completed construction of US Highway 90 from the Chef Menteur Pass through Bay St. Louis and beyond in the 1920s, a steady stream of vehicles flowed from the west into the Bay/Waveland area.
Growing Up Downtown
Talk of the Town - March 2015
A New Merry-Making Marching Club - The Raw Oysters
-This month - a sassy new group of marching women took to the streets for the first time on Lundi Gras to rave reviews.
Although 2015 marked the second year the Krewe of the Seahorse paraded through Bay St. Louis on Lundi Gras, the parade featured a dance team making its debut performance. The Raw Oyster Marching Club bedazzled the crowd along the route, with the spirits of spectators and dancers dampened only by a downpour as the parade neared the end of its route.
Talk of the Town
Butler owns the French Potager in Old Town Bay St. Louis where she sells antiques and her distinctive flower arrangements. She’s an active member of the community and serves on the board of The Arts, Hancock County. Yet, the first time the club marched on February 16th, she wasn’t sure how the public would respond to a glittery dance team of feisty women flaunting costumes of red and gold.
“We were a huge hit!” Butler says. “In less than one week following the Seahorse parade, we had over 500 ‘likes’ on our Facebook page. We were also featured in almost every media outlet on the Mississippi gulf coast.”
That same evening, the group also received invitations to march in both Jackson’s and Waveland’s St. Patrick’s Day parades. Schedule conflicts forced them to decline the Jackson gig this year, but it’s clear the Raw Oyster Marching Club is going places. Lots of places.
It’s also growing - the group is up to forty-five members now. Thirty of the group marched with Seahorse and twenty will be marching in the Waveland parade on March 14th. Butler says that having forty-plus members assures a good group will commit to any parade they’re asked to join.
Costumer Laura Kidd (who creates costume headdresses professionally) also takes her job seriously. The red and gold costumes for the premier performance lit up the evening parade, but the group’s opting for a costume change for the upcoming Waveland event, when they’ll wear gold dresses and green wigs in honor of the club’s first queen, fabled dancer Kitty West.
West became nationally renowned for her “Evangeline, the Oyster Girl” dance she choreographed and performed for decades, beginning in the late 1940s in New Orleans. The show told the story of Evangeline, who slept in an oyster shell in the swamps of Louisiana and rose once every hundred years to seek her beloved. West’s performances drew Hollywood greats like Frank Sinatra and Richard Widmark to the French Quarter and became so legendary that the dance routine is a popular draw even today in both Texas and New Orleans venues, nearly seven decades after it originated.
Butler had read about Kitty West in a book two years before and had been excited to learn later that the retired dancer lived in the Bay area. She also found stunning vintage photographs of West and her oyster shell stage prop.
“I was looking for a theme for the club that would be locally relevant,” says Butler. “West is iconic in the entertainment field and oysters are such a part of the culture here, so it all seemed a perfect fit.”
West, who has been featured twice in Life magazine, says “I want to be able to try to help these young girls coming up who want to get out there and dance. I want them to be artistic and to have class.”
The term “young girls” is relative. The age of Raw Oyster Marching Club members ranges from 21 to 65-plus years old. Yet according to a bevy of comments on the group’s Facebook page, everyone’s having a blast. Consider this one, from Bay St. Louis resident Connie Pace:
“It's fun! Freeing! Diverse! As we danced down the streets, it became this energetic fireball that fueled the community and they began dancing along with us, having fun, even in the cold rain!”
“[It’s] Amazing to see that unfold. I'm falling in love with these high-spirited ladies of all ages, investing so much into the community. Dance, costumes, music, fun group... where else can one go for that?”
Vintage Vignette - March 2015
Junk In Your Trunk
The Etiquette of Valuing and Hocking Your Treasures
- This month - We have a saying in the antique business: "It's only worth what someone will pay for it."
We have a saying in the antique business: "It's only worth what someone will pay for it."
That phrase usually passes over my lips once a week, mostly when I'm attempting to educate someone who is seeking my advice on selling an item. The fact is, the sentiment you attach to Grandma's depression glass might not fetch the wealth you'd imagine at auction. On the brighter side of things, if it happens to be a rare piece of Anchor Hocking, then you might have something on your hands.
The best resource to find out how much your antique item is worth is your local antique store. Most of the time they are happy to look at your item and tell you it's history. But please call and schedule an appointment first! Some shops offer this service for a nominal fee, and include printed information and resources. You can also schedule an appraisal for items of high value. Please do not show up at a store on a busy Saturday and ask the owner to abandon their post to come view something in the trunk of your car. That's so Ted Bundy.
Any reputable antique dealer will offer you a fair price for your object, but be warned: this offer only stands in that moment. While you do reserve the right to shop around for the right buyer, remember that you're dealing with a tight-knit community of antique enthusiasts where phone calls are faster than feet. So if you're courting all of the shops on the same street, chances are the shop owners know who you are and what you're selling before you even walk through the door. Much like the dating world, you might get the cold shoulder in a situation like this.
TIP: When viewing items on eBay, select "Sold Listings" to see what the item has actually sold for. To calculate an idea of value, average the lowest and highest sold items. By doing this, you can determine a (very superficial) fair market value. If you find the items on auction pages, some will reveal the selling price of an object. You may look at predicted auction prices to get a broad scope, but in reality- it's only the selling price that counts.
You must remember that your items matter most to you, and if you have any hesitation to sell, then don't. No dollar sign will ever replace the regret of hocking a piece of a loved one or a special memory. If you do have items to sell, call your local antique stores to schedule an appointment for viewing. See the the Cleaver's exclusive Bay-Waveland Antique Directory for local stores.
Beach to Bayou - March 2015
More Fun Than Run
- This month: Icy Pint Athletics combines running and beer (AFTERWARD) in a monthly Fun Run at the Mockingbird!
Fluorescent greens, hot pinks, all shades of blue and silver creak across the wooden porch and through the old door. Running shoes carrying their smiling owners of all ages, shapes, sizes, and speeds. Over thirty eager people fill the Mockingbird Cafe tonight, as many do every Thursday for the IPA Happy Hour Fun Run. Jacqueline Mize checks people in as they enter, greeting them familiarly. A band is setting up keyboards, guitars, and amps. After a few minutes, everyone seems to be antsy to go, so they start filing back out onto the porch and sidewalk.
Beach to Bayou
Everything about this bunch of athletes says fun and community. Most of them seem to shy away from the terms “athlete” or “serious runner” altogether. Jacqueline corrects me, “I do triathlons all the time, and I’m not a serious runner!” Instead, they talk about IPA like it’s a group of friends getting together once a week for some beer. After all, half of the experience is the icy pint that rewards you back at the Mocking Bird. “We run for beer!” exclaims Katie Dauro, a mother of two small children who attends the Fun Run most weeks. In fact, if you run, walk, or bike the short lap around Old Town, your second pint is free. ”Plus,” Katie reasons, “You burn the calories you’re gonna get in the beer.”
It’s clear, though, that Katie, Jacqueline, and all of their IPA friends don’t just run for beer. They come together to laugh, to train, to spend time with their families, and to show each other support. They all know they're part of something bigger than their own fitness goals or best times.
“We hold each other accountable,” Katie explains. “Somedays I don’t want to come, and some days my friends don’t want to come.” At the end of the night—beers in hand and endorphins pumping—it all seems worth getting off the couch. They call it accountability, but it seems much more like a fellowship of encouragement.
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Regardless of the weather, there are always some devoted to run. The Mockingbird Cafe is the loyal host to the Bay IPA. Like the best symbiotic relationships, IPA guarantees hungry runners and thirsty beer enthusiasts, while the Mockingbird provides the beer, tasty food, and (often) live music. A sweet deal that fosters community relationships and supports local small business.
It all started in Ocean Springs when Eric Collum was—as the IPA website explains--“enjoying a cold beer after a run and asking himself ‘Why am I not doing this with my friends?’” Then, when Jacqueline noticed the running community in the Bay, she wondered why she traveled all the way to Ocean Springs for IPA. Eric responded with a quick “sure” when she asked if they could start one here.
In the 2 years since Eric started IPA in Ocean Springs, over 500 people have come out to at least one run. The numbers continue to rise weekly. Many have already hit the 100 runs mark, like Jacqueline who just earned her IPA visor this month for reaching the triple digits. Eric is here to present it to her after she awards multiple perks to faithful “Top Shelf” members who hit milestones today.
Attending the Happy Hour Fun Run is completely free, but signing up for the Top Shelf Membership sets you up for a great list of perks. The annual membership is $25, which offers benefits like official IPA merchandise, runners insurance, discounted and free training sessions, and discounts at IPA events and local merchants. It’s definitely worth it for anyone wanting to run often and run well.
To top off the Icy Pint, there is more than just weekly fun runs in three locations (Ocean Springs, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport). They host runs and other events, represent at local runs and triathlons, offer training and workshops, and just simply hang out sometimes. As their website boasts, “If you ever run, even if it’s only a few feet; if you like to drink; if you want to help create awesomeness… you are in the right place.” That is if you’re running with Icy Pint Athletics.
For more information about the fun runs, the annual membership, or what IPA is all about, go to their website, icypintathletics.com, and Facebook/IcyPintAthletics.
Arts Alive - March 2015
ArtsAlive! 2015 is slated to take place from 10am – 8:30 pm on Saturday, March 21st in Old Town Bay St. Louis.
The name has been around since 2004, but what began as a simple studio tour is now a “multi-faceted celebration of the arts - one where music, art, food, and literature mix it up for an unforgettable experience.”
The Artists Showcase is the main focus of the event, with dozens of artists showing and selling their work at “host” businesses in Old Town. Free demonstrations and talks by the artists about their techniques take place through the day.
The showcase is open to artists nationwide for a nominal fee ($25 for members of The Arts, Hancock County, $50 for non-members, which includes a year’s membership in The Arts). Artists are paired with host businesses for the day and are featured on the event’s website and in the event program. Deadline for artists to register is March 4th. Applications are available at www.ArtsAliveGulfCoast.com.
“Think of it as sort of an ‘American Idol’ for the arts,” says The Arts president Cynthia Mahner, smiling. “Our new motto is ‘Celebrating Art, Engaging Communities and Enriching Lives!’ So we’re staging events that will engage entire families and get them excited about creative endeavors of all kinds. People can come out and cheer on their favorite artist or student.”
Several different competitions are offering nearly $3,000 in cash prizes for top contestants on the day of the event. There will be a “Flash Fiction” writer’s contest which is open to all ages. Writers are given just three hours to write a story about a specific topic, announced that morning. There’s also a “Southern Sweets” culinary competition, and a singer-songwriter competition that has already attracted entries from all over our area.
In addition, a juried art show and high school student art show - both offering generous cash prizes - will be on display. In the afternoon, a fun theatre tableau will take place on the courthouse steps, with actors bringing to life the characters from a famous painting.
Mahner says the new ArtsAlive has been enthusiastically embraced by both artists and Old Town merchants. “The response has exceeded our expectations again this year and that’s always a great place to be.”
For complete ArtsAlive! information, click here.
Across The Bridge
At Home In The Bay
Beach To Bayou
BSL Council Updates
Casting My Net
Coast Lines Column
Friends Of The Animal Shelter
Growing Up Downtown
House And Garden
Legends And Legacies
Mother Of Pearl
Murphy's Musical Notes
Old Town Merchants
On The Shoofly
Shore Thing Fishing Report
Talk Of The Town
The Eyes Have It