A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Old photos are portals to the past - and make for chic home decor, guaranteed to spark conversations.
- story and photos by Grace Wilson
While most antique shops have old photos here and there, Magnolia Antiques on Main Street in Bay St. Louis has several shelves and cases dedicated to vintage photographs.
Many of these are houses in books and binders that are works of art themselves.
Shop proprietress Shay Coss has a special interest in these family photos from a time gone by. In fact, family members with old albums know where to take these treasures where they can be fully appreciated.
“I hear this all the time: How did someone give these up?” said Coss. “Sometimes people are at the end of the line of their family tree and they don’t want these family photos to end up in a dumpster. Here they’ll become part of another family’s collection.”
Thumbing through the albums or stacks of photos, stories emerge. Often collections reveal a timeline of a person’s life, but also the document that time and place in history. Even how the photo was taken is a snapshot of the time’s technology.
“We had a photography student come in and buy up all the photos of one particular person,” said Glenda Schornick, founder of Magnolia Antiques. “You could see the evolution of the subject, but also the changes in the art of photography through the years.”
Spending an afternoon at the shop with Coss as she excitedly showed off the different albums, it was impossible not to feel how special each photo was in its own way.
In fact, photographs are something we largely take take for granted today. Most everyone has the ability to whip out their phones and snap a shot (or sixteen) of any occasion and share it with the world through social media.
There was a time in the not to distant past that a family had to save and spend some serious pennies on hiring a photographer.
Sometimes a single photo was all a family had. This is especially true of post-mortem photographs. If a child or baby died at a young age, a family who could afford it would take the time and expense to have a photo made.
(Yes, Magnolia Antiques has a photo or two of these, too.)
We all have fascinations with lives: lives lost, lives past, lives we wish we had... and photographs — especially vintage photographs — are a perfect portal.
What's Up, Waveland? April 2019
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke reports on the newly completed Waveland lighthouse and the 12th annual Crawfish Cook-off!
This project is a great example of a successful collaborative effort between Waveland and Hancock County Board of Supervisors. The project is a significant addition for the public at Waveland’s Coleman Avenue beach area. The project was funded using Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act funds, Tideland Trust funds, and seawall tax funds.
Much of the new facility matches the vision outlined and discussed for nearly a decade. The facility has a convenient layout, such as user-friendly ground level space, an elevator and plenty of seating along the observation deck. The facility is low maintenance, has low operating costs and is ADA accessible.
The Waveland Lighthouse, pavilion and bathroom facility will be cleaned daily. The facility will have 24 hour video surveillance. No established hours for the opening and closing of the restrooms have been decided, but the restrooms inside the Waveland Lighthouse will not be available 24 hours a day.
I will let everyone know when a date and time is decided for the ribbon cutting of this much needed facility.
12th Annual C&R's Crawfish Cook-Off
C&R’s Bar and Grill’s 12th Annual Crawfish Cook-Off will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019, from 10am – 4pm on Coleman Avenue.
The teams will be competing for cash prizes and for the glorious honor of being crowned Crawfish Cook-off Champion. Trophies will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams, as well as to the People’s Choice and Most Unique Edible Lagniappe item.
Admission is just $25 for adults and $10 for kids (9–12), and under-8s are free. The C&R crawfish cook-off benefits Hancock County non-profit, Hope Haven.
No outside beverages are allowed to be brought in and please leave your pets at home. The sponsors of this event are the Silver Slipper Casino and Budweiser.
Harness the Power
The Hancock Chamber finds new ways to improve the business lives of its members through continuing education and networking opportunities.
- story by Lisa Monti
The Power Hour Coffee Call, held on the first Friday of every month, gives members a way to hear updates from governmental officials or learn best practices tips to start their day. “We just did one on creating engagement on social media and will be doing another on email marketing basics in April,” said Tish Williams, the Chamber executive director.
Also new this year is the Power Hour Lunch Break where members meet from noon to 1pm at a different restaurant every month. Held the second Tuesday of each month, “This meeting helps to generate revenue for the hosting restaurant and gives members an opportunity to connect with people to grow their business,” Williams said. April’s Power Hour Lunch Break will be at Cuz’s.
The Chamber also has a major new event in the works that’s being spearheaded by the Relocation Committee chaired by Regan Kane of John McDonald Realty. The Hancock County Parade of Homes will showcase some 26 homes scattered throughout the county.
It’s set for noon to 5pm on April 13 to tie into the Second Saturday Art Walk. Williams said this inaugural home tour will bring potential home buyers to the county and also create more traffic for merchants during Second Saturday.
To sweeten the tour, participants will be eligible to enter into a drawing at each house to win a $2,500 new-home-owners package giveaway.
The Parade of Homes will be marketed throughout the region, from New Orleans to Hattiesburg. To find out more go to hancockmsmyhome.com after March 29.
DIY: Make Your Own Headboard
Some reclaimed wood, a few simple tools and a little sweat-equity equals a clever, one-of-a-kind project from our own DIY diva.
- story and photos by Holly Lemoine-Raymond
The type of wood you want to use is up to you. Any hardware store will have various sizes, colors, textures, etc. But you know me! I chose to use old fence boards. I like the unique “weathered” appearance the boards provide. Use your creativity to create the style you like best!
Measure the bed and wall space you will be covering. Consider whether or not you want your headboard to be wider than your bed or the same width. I left about an inch on each side beyond the width of my bed.
Measure and cut your wood. Remember to measure twice and cut once! I usually like to stagger my pieces but this time I left the fence boards all the same length (about four feet long). Each board had its own imperfections which I love because we too, have our own imperfections.
Using either a drill or a nail gun apply the fence boards to the wall. I used three fence boards for this project based on the amount of space I had available.
There you have it! It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
The most difficult part of this project for me was getting the measurements correct. Now you’ll have a unique focal point in your room. I hope you enjoyed this super-fast and easy project. We’ll see you next time when we bring you more Beautiful Things!
Enhancing Your Life with Essential Oils
Reputed to enhance mood, help manage weight, improve sleep, and even repel bugs, essential oils are experiencing a renaissance.
- story by Denise Jacobs
A cologne is not the same as an essential oil, however. Thanks to diffuserexpert.com, I have learned that musk, “once derived from the sexual glands of the Himalayan musk deer,” is now available as a synthetic oil blend of Frankincense, Myrrh, Ambrette, Rose Petal, Cedarwood, Amber Oil, and my old favorite, Patchouli, all mixed with a carrier oil like almond.
Today’s essential oils marketplace includes both essential oils —compounds extracted from plants — and oil blends with their own unique aromas (think Musk). Essential oil aficionados credit oils with the ability to support all the systems of the human body, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Oils are recommended for mood management, exercise and weight management, sleep, self care, and household cleaning—and insect repellant. The oils are said to uplift and energize, and who couldn’t use more of that?
Much like a living plant, an essential oil captures a plant’s scent and flavor — or its essence. As you might imagine, peppermint is associated with boosting energy and helping with digestion.
Lavender — local Young Living (YL) Essential Oils distributor Jamie Skladzien’s best seller — is used for stress release. Sandalwood is said to calm nerves, Chamomile to increase mood and relaxation, and Tea Tree oil to reduce infection.
While some studies have shown that use of essential oils might have health benefits, most medical professionals are still skeptical (this Mayo Clinic article is typically cautious). Yet, testimonials abound about the benefits of aromatherapy with essential oils.
Starfish Café owner, Di Filhart was diagnosed with early-moderate Alzheimer’s in 2014. She was on medication, and the disease was progressing. With the support of Skladzien, who owns Mane Salon, right across the street from the Starfish Café), Filhart began a protocol using essential oils to fight the dreadful disease. Twenty-one months later, Filhart credits the oils with recovery of her cognitive function.
Carole Sullivan, a long-time client, has found that a combination of Peppermint and YL PanAway rid her of shoulder discomfort and help her sleep at night. Holly Bishop Moran, Pass Christian, finds that essential oils have enhanced her prayer life and spiritual well-being.
On the other hand, a 2015 Washington Post article entitled “When it Comes to Essential Oils, do your Research,” presents a still-relevant argument that, while essential oils can offer health benefits, they can also be harmful if used incorrectly.
As with any reputable distributor, Skladzien would tell you the same. The use of essential oils is not without risk. It is probably just common sense to test your skin before applying, to dilute oils, and to follow a doctor or expert’s recommendations for usage.
Personally, rather than risk guilt by association with the musky, sweet, spicy hint of counter-culture revolution, free love, and Jefferson Airplane, my heavy use of Patchouli went the way of Birkenstocks in 2001 when I began my career as a university writing instructor at Louisiana State University.
Still, I am a fan of many of several essential oil blends and deeply enamored with their metaphorical names, like Gratitude, Acceptance, Release, Peace & Calming, Grace, Dream Catcher, and Envision--you get the idea.
To me, the names alone are strong medicine. I’ve found that working with the intention of a particular oil—whether I’m diffusing it or mixing it with a carrier oil and slathering it on my wrists—helps me move in a particular direction.
I like to practice writing “under the influence” of different oils and blends. One of my best experiences is with YL’s Surrender, a mesh of Lavender, Black Spruce, and Roman Chamomile. The literature suggests that the blend helps cast off the inhibitions that might limit our potential.
In the end, surrender is an essential aspect of creativity, right? There comes a moment when we have to cast off the inner critic and surrender to the process. Still, whether it is the alchemy of the oil blend or the metaphor of surrender that makes the difference, I couldn’t say. Maybe a little of both.
This article should not be considered as medical advice.
Exploring Mandeville, Louisiana
An easy one-hour drive from the Mississippi coast, Mandeville offers a beautiful scenery, live music and good food - making for a perfect day-trip!
- story by Lisa Monti
As a handy reference, remember that Covington is the parish seat with its old courthouse anchoring downtown. Mandeville, somewhat smaller in population, is the one that put the “shore” in the Northshore.
“If you come across the causeway, Mandeville is where you land,” Renée says. Indeed, it’s no surprise that many Mandeville residents commute to work in New Orleans and retire there.
Mandeville’s sweeping lakefront is what drew – and still draws – New Orleanians, whether it’s for a nice meal, a day of shopping or sightseeing, or the place to have a new (or second) home.
“Lake Pontchartrain played a huge part in Mandeville’s history and it’s still important,” Renée says.
The city’s sweeping Lakeshore Drive, with its picture-perfect sunsets over the water, stately old homes and ancient oak trees, are part of Mandeville’s character. Or personality, as Renee describes the city’s inviting lakefront.
The tourism bureau notes that Old Mandeville is being discovered by more and more visitors who can find an abundance of restaurants, shops, nature outposts, festivals and live music.
“It’s a great getaway and less than an hour from New Orleans. A lot of visitors spend a couple of days in New Orleans and a couple of days here,” Renée said. Likewise, more people are heading over from the Mississippi coast.
Old Mandeville was developed in the 1830s by Bernard Xavier de Marigny, who was from a prominent New Orleans family. He came across the lake, bought thousands of acres and maintained a sugar mill and plantation where Fontainebleau State Park is today. “He developed that area and to the west of it as a subdivision and sold building lots to affluent New Orleanians as a getaway from the city. That’s how Mandeville developed,” explains Renée.
We can thank Marigny for decreeing the grassy land on the lake side would never be developed. “That green belt is like a big park for everybody,” she said. Look for the wooden gazebo to sit awhile and take all in all the scenery.
Houses along the lake date back to the mid-19th century. One significant structure near the lakefront is the Jean Baptiste Lang House, a Creole cottage that was moved inland from the lakefront after Hurricane Katrina and was restored as a small museum depicting life in the 1850s. The museum and gardens are free to explore.
A great place to enjoy the sunset is at the end of the two-mile lakefront where you’ll find a beautiful stand of old cypress trees. Nearby is the free fishing pier that juts out into the lake, as well as picnic tables, a sand beach and playground. Sailboats from the nearby yacht club come and go on the lake.
For those who want to enjoy more of the outdoors in Mandeville, there’s prime bird-watching along the boardwalks at Northlake Nature Center and trails along Bayou Castine. Look for a variety of great species including Great Blue Herons and Pileated Woodpeckers, egrets and owls.
The Trailhead in Old Mandeville is a center of activity with lots of free concerts, a fun Saturday farmers/crafts market and bike rentals for the adjacent Tammany Trace bike path. Renée notes that loads of people rent bikes and ride around the lakefront or on the Trace.
On the day of our visit, after some relaxing lakeshore time, we sought out a relatively new restaurant for lunch that has quickly become a favorite. Hambone has to be one of the all time best names for a restaurant. Set in a red roofed cottage at 544 Girod Street, Hambone is a find, thanks to the talents of Chef Luke Hidalgo and his wife Marci, who opened Hambone in 2018. Chef Luke was the sous chef post at Commander’s Palace and executive chef at Palmetto’s on the Bayou, the popular Slidell restaurant, before the couple opened their own place.
Hambone uses house-made ingredients and buys from a local bakery and local farms. The lunch menu is as tidy as the dining room, with a handful of small plates and sandwiches, sides and dessert custards.
The Hambone Gumbo, listed under Small Plates along with fried boudin, deviled eggs, catfish dip, Oysters Marci and Caesar Salad, was exceptional. It was as dark as all gumbo makers try to achieve but rarely do, and topped with scoop of potato salad. The combination is enough for a satisfying lunch.
The standing daily lunch special is fried chicken but at Hambone you’ll notice the dish is billed as Fried Chicken! That exclamation point is not to be taken lightly. Chef Luke’s version, a quarter fried in pieces and served with an honest to goodness biscuit and sweet pickles, deserves the punctuation. Judging from the gumbo and chicken, it’s safe to assume that everything else on the menu, from the fried pork chop sandwich to sautéed farm greens to blue crab and boudin omelet, also are standouts.
Liz’s Where Y’at Diner is also a popular destination which has earned a huge following for its down-home food, great breakfasts (served all day) and welcoming atmosphere.
Girod Street, not far from the lake, is the main street in Old Mandeville for shopping and is chock full of boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Other concentrations of shops can be found on the east and west Causeway entrances and along Highway 190. Outlet shopping is available at Premier Shopping Centers 1 and 2.
The shops have it all: gifts, jewelry, clothing and shoes, kids clothes, and food items. Familiar New Orleans names such as Fleurty Girl, Acme Oyster House, Martin’s Wine Cellar and Mandina’s have outposts around Mandeville.
Music fans have a couple of favorite destinations here. Mandeville is home to the Dew Drop, billed as the world’s oldest unaltered jazz hall. Live music is also available at Ruby's Roadhouse, which has the distinction of being called one of the best roadhouses in the country by Rolling Stone magazine.
Getting to Mandeville takes under an hour and with a little planning, you can make the most of a day trip with all the town has to offer. Check out www.louisiananorthshore.com for more options.
Fountainbleau State Park
Jean Baptiste Lang House & Gift Shop
605 Carroll St.
Northlake Nature Center
23135 Hwy 190 East
Mandeville Trailhead and Cultural Interpretive Center
675 Lafitte St.
Liz's Where Y'at Diner
2500 Florida St.
544 Girod Street
Wednesday & Thursday: 11pm - 3pm & 5pm - 9pm
Friday: 11pm - 3pm & 5pm - 10pm (Dinner)
Saturday: 10pm - 3pm(Brunch) & 5pm - 10pm (Dinner)
Sunday: 10pm - 3pm(Brunch)
Happy Hour: Wed - Fri: 5pm - 6pm
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall
430 Lamarque St.
840 Lamarque St.
Hummingbirds, jewels of the Southern garden, are returning to our area after wintering in Central and South America. Find out how to welcome them home.
- Story and photos by Dena Temple
Video (below) taken in Waveland in September, 2018
during the fall hummingbird migration.
While 16 species of hummingbirds breed in the Northern Hemisphere, there is only one species that regularly inhabits our area, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The male is an iridescent green with a white underside and a red gorget (throat). As light is reflected off the gorget, it appears a fiery red; out of direct light, it appears dark.
With wings that beat about 70 times per second, hummingbirds can indeed hover as well as fly backwards and upside down. They are interesting to watch and worthwhile to attract to your yard.
There is no trick or special formula to attract hummingbirds. You just need to understand that all living things require three things to survive: food, shelter, and water. If you provide those things for hummingbirds, they will visit your yard, too.
First, let’s talk food. Hummingbirds subsist on a combination of insects and the nectar from tubular-shaped flowers. While you probably won’t be able to set up an insect diner for the hummers, supplying nectar is as simple as putting out a hummingbird feeder.
The feeder needn’t be fancy, or expensive; most wild bird stores and many garden centers have inexpensive feeders available. When selecting a feeder, be sure to choose one that is easy to clean, because you’ll be cleaning it often. My personal favorite is the Aspects Mini HummZinger (shown). It is extremely easy to clean and fill, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Fill the feeder with a nectar solution made from one part sugar to four parts water. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to boil the mixture; just stir until the sugar dissolves. Mix only as much nectar as you need at that moment.
And please, don’t use commercially available nectar formulations from the home center. They cost a fortune and include red dye and other unnecessary chemicals that may negatively affect your little lodgers. Hang your feeder in a semi-sheltered location such as under the eaves of the house, if possible, to keep rain water from contaminating the nectar.
Clean your feeders often – at least once a week in cool weather, and more often in warmer weather. If the nectar looks cloudy or shows any mold growth, it’s past time to clean.
The usual reason for lack of success in attracting hummers is setting out the feeder too late in the spring. Reports are already coming in from neighboring communities that the first hummers are back!
Males return first to stake out breeding territories. If they find your feeder and the area looks safe, one may take up residence. In a week or two the females will return, looking for love – and an attractive territory.
The right food plants can also make your yard more attractive to hummers. If you are planning on adding to your landscape, you might want to keep these plants in mind. (See list at the end of this article.)
Shelter is the second requirement for attracting hummingbirds. If you have numerous trees and shrubs on your property, the birds have plenty of places to construct a nest or hide from predators.
Water is the third requirement. A simple birdbath can be constructed from almost anything – a plate, a trash can lid (clean it first, please), a shallow plastic bowl. Again, be sure to keep the birdbath clean and shallowly filled.
In our area, your first guest should appear in early March. You may not see regular activity at your hummingbird feeder for quite some time while the birds establish their territories.
Once you start seeing the birds, note how territorial they are: One male will not allow another to use “his” feeder. If you hang more than one feeder, try to locate them so that they are not in direct view of each other, so one male cannot monopolize two feeders.
Do not be surprised if your “guests” disappear several times during the summer season. When their favorite flowers bloom, they will feed only from the flowers, rejecting your finest offering. Don’t worry; they’ll be back.
Also, breeding activity may keep them from being active in the garden. But just wait: if you provide them with suitable nesting habitat, you can enjoy watching the young hummers cavort around your hard all summer long, until they begin their southbound migration in September. Their games are enchanting to watch.
As autumn approaches, you will see less and less of your guests as they begin their long migration to the tropics. You have helped make this trip possible by supplying them with the energy they need for this arduous trip. Do not be sad at their leaving; if all goes well, the same birds may reappear next year.
Fall is the time to double up on your feeders; you will probably need to refill them daily to keep up with demand. Then, as hummers migrate south from the rest of North America, get ready for Invasion of the Migrants! An entire continent’s worth of hummers will stream past, pausing before making the arduous trip across the Gulf of Mexico.
The amazing video above was taken at a Waveland feeder in mid-September. Keep your eyes open for rare migrating Western hummingbirds that occasionally lose their way and end up along the Gulf Coast.
Hummingbirds make an attractive and interesting addition to any summer garden. It is well worth your while to invite them to spend their summer vacation at your “resort,” where they fascinate and captivate. All it takes is a few pennies’ worth of sugar – and a little patience.
After a fulfilling career in education, Davis "retired" to a second career in social service, one that has both uplifted and inspired the lives of those around her.
- story by Denise K. Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson
Second Saturday Artwalk - March 2019
A few times a year, the iconic Second Saturday Artwalk event in Old Town Bay St. Louis adopts a theme. The “Souper Mudfest Second Saturday Artwalk" - one of the most popular events of the year in Bay St. Louis - will take place March 9, rain or shine.
- Stories by Caroline St. Paul, photos by Caroline St. Paul and Ellis Anderson
Bowls for March 9th's Souper Mudfest Second Saturday Artwalk will be sold on the green space at Main and Second Street beginning at 3:30pm. A wristband will be given to all who purchase the official bowls.
Bowls have been handcrafted by more than a dozen local potters and sell for $20 each. Bowl-buyers are provided with a list of local merchants where they’ll be able to sample gourmet soups throughout the evening - for free! Just show your wristband and hold out your bowl.
As usual, two Hot Spot businesses will be featured: the Ulman Tea Room, 317 Ulman Avenue, and Dan B's Restaurant and Bar, 109 South Beach Boulevard. Read more about them below!
Ulman Tea Room
317 Ulman Avenue
Bay St. Louis
The Ulman Tea Room is truly one of a kind. This hidden gem is a tea room and antique store combined. There are so many beautiful antiques here, but what is most special are the teas, homemade desserts, and high tea service.
Antique Maison Ulman Tea Room opened in June 2014. Since then, the community has enjoyed many a tea party there. The Ulman Tea Room is owned by Sylvia and Ed Young, who own the antique shop located on Second Street as well. They were inspired to create another antique store, but even more inspired to create “the only tea room on the Gulf Coast.”
At this special spot, you can experience a true high tea, similar to those in England. Transport yourself “across the pond,” and make reservations for The High Tea Windsor, which includes a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, mini quiches, mini potato salads, mini artichoke delights, chocolate covered strawberries and cherries, mini ambrosia salads, and mini scones with lemon curd.
High tea reservations must be made 48 hours in advance. This scrumptious experience costs $20 per person. The beautiful main room accommodates 35 guests and the private party room accommodates 20. “We do have an outside eating area under the historical tree in the back deck that you can eat under in the springtime,” Missy Geisel explains.
Sylvia and Missy strive to make sure that their guests have a lovely time in the tea room. There are even hats, pearls, and gloves available for use to complete the full high tea experience.
Everything is homemade by Missy Geisel, Sylvia’s right hand woman. She does all of the cooking and cleaning for the tea room, and has made it her passion to create an experience for the guests through her tasty creations. She makes a new dessert each week, so that there is always something new for guests to devour.
A little known fact is that you can come in for just tea, scones and dessert without a reservation. Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-3pm, the tea room offers a casual tea, where you can choose from one of their many delicious options, including the ginger peach tea, for which they are especially well known.
“You can come in and have high tea and then shop, too… not very many places you get to eat and shop,” Missy says. After you experience the Ulman Tea Room, you can take a look around the antique shop to discover one of the many treasures that they have to offer. The antique room is open Monday through Saturday from 10am-5pm and features “nautical decor, vintage jewelry, antique furniture” and much more.
For this month’s second Saturday, Ulman Tea Room will be serving chicken and sausage gumbo as their offering for Souper Mudfest. There will also be a band performing, sponsored by The People’s Bank, Hancock Whitney Bank, and The First.
Dan B.'s Restaurant and Bar
109 South Beach Boulevard
Bay St. Louis
Dan B. Murphy’s Restaurant and Bar is the perfect casual spot for delicious food, tasty drinks, and live music with an even better view.
Daniel Murphy was inspired to re-open Dan B’s after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the original, which opened in 1981. “We bought it from my grandparents in 2005,” he explained. In October 2017, he resurrected a classic, bringing back all of Old Town’s favorite dishes, including his grandmother’s roast beef po’boy, which she created thirty years ago.
“We saw what it was like before the storm, and we just wanted to bring it back.” For Daniel, it was about bringing back and carrying on the “life-long family business.”
The atmosphere gives off a casual fishing camp vibe, “nothing fancy,” with expansive dining rooms on the second and third levels. The ground-level hosts the main bar and stage area.
A variety of food is served at Dan B’s, most of which are Daniel Murphy’s own recipes. “Here, everything’s homemade.” Some of the most popular and best-selling items on the menu include the traditional roast beef po’boy, fish and shrimp tacos, gumbo, pizza, and more. They also have an extensive wine, beer, and signature cocktail menu. Daniel recommends the gumbo, which is popular in the winter, describing it as “to die for.”
For Daniel, the most rewarding part of owning and operating Dan B. Murphy’s is the local clientele that keeps coming back. The view of the harbor and the water is not bad, either. “It’s a nice little quiet town, and it rocks in the spring and summer, of course.”
Every Friday and Saturday night, enjoy a live band to accompany your food and drinks. They strive to host local bands to play at the restaurant. For the Second Saturday Art Walk on the 9th, enjoy live music by the “All Nighters” sponsored by The People’s Bank, Hancock Whitney Bank, and The First.
Dan B. Murphy’s is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 11am - 8pm, Tuesdays from 11am - 2pm for lunch, Saturday from 7am for breakfast until 9pm, and Sunday from 7 am, also for breakfast, until 8 pm. On the weekends, enjoy bottomless mimosas with your brunch from 7am - noon. There are daily lunch specials as well as boiled crawfish every weekend. On Friday and Saturday, dine in and order one of their dinner specials of either pasta, steak, specialty quesadilla or pizza.
Daniel B. Murphy's is a great place to experience casual dining and great atmosphere in the heart of Old Town Bay St. Louis. Enjoy them as a “hot spot” all month!
Reading the Modern South
As a professor, writer Scott Naugle taught more than literary criticism; he allowed his students to read for the sheer joy of the written word - even Faulkner.
Through a clerical oversight, I’m sure, my “Reading the Modern South” class was scheduled in Gibson Hall. Gibson Hall faces St. Charles Avenue overlooking Audubon Park.
The oldest structure on campus, it was built in 1894 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Thousands of massive chiseled stones create an impressive façade exuding intellectual gravitas. The office of the university president and his staff occupy the lower floors of the building.
The students arrived on time for the first class. Several carried clean, crisp notebooks while the remainder snapped open laptops. There was an almost equal number of men and women, nine in total, all either juniors or seniors, anxious survivors of the undergraduate milieu.
We bantered a bit, I believed it important that they be relaxed with me, and then I handed around the course outline. Streetcars slid by outside the large windows, the clattering barely audible.
Here is what I wrote in the syllabus and read aloud that evening:
I commit to work with you in developing a set of critical analysis skills as you read literature. These skills include close reading, methods to critically analyze the text, comfort with literary vocabulary and terms, identification of historical and cultural issues, and several tools to interpret texts. You are encouraged to speak your mind in class and to write beautifully and convincingly in support of your thoughts.
On that hot, humid night in early June as I discussed the course novels and supporting material we would read and write about, there was an audible group groan when I mentioned the inclusion of William Faulkner’s Light in August.
Silence. And then I asked why.
“We’ve read Faulkner in another class and the professor couldn’t explain the novel, but acted as if he could, and talked a lot. It was torture. No more Faulkner, please.”
All shook their heads in agreement looking directly at me to gauge my response wondering, I assume, if they had crossed a line.
I experienced a flashback at that moment to two years earlier when I was a graduate student in a class on literary theory. We read Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, a beautiful and haunting novel if left unmolested by forced interpretations through various lenses of theoretical conjecture.
Literary theory attempts to offer avenues to understand a work of fiction through culture, historical forces, or the functioning of the psyche, among other approaches. Specific types of criticism include New Criticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Feminist Theory, and Marxism, among a salad of many others.
The professor, let’s call him Dr. Wheezy, coached us each week to view Bronte’s work through a specific type of theory. It was Feminist Theory one week and then Cultural Materialism the next.
Rather than enrich the reading of the novel, it became a series of weekly calisthenics in reductivism, marginalizing a beautiful work of literature into a constricted cardboard box.
As an example, a weekly assigned reading was Terry Eagleton’s Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontes.
The novelist Francine Prose, in Reading Like a Writer, recalls her experience in a graduate seminar as a student, “That was when literary academia split into warring camps of deconstructionists, Marxists, and so forth, all battling for the right to tell students that they were reading ‘texts’ in which ideas and politics trumped what the writer had actually written.”
I vowed at that moment, should I ever be fortunate to teach, that I would work with students to read with delight, insight, and to marvel in the beauty of the written word.
In contemplating the syllabus for the course, my desire was to show different ideas and cultures within what is mistakenly perceived as a stagnant, singularly-minded South. We studied Thomas Hal Phillips’ The Bitterweed Path, about gay love in the mid-twentieth century rural South. Phillips was a closeted Mississippian and Republican political operative.
Uncle Tom’s Children by Richard Wright was included as a window into the hatred of the last century and the different, yet still as vigorous, forms it takes today.
Shirley Ann Grau’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Keepers of the House was a springboard for discussion about our changing values and the hypocrisy of racism.
To bring the readings into the present day, we read the marvelous Jesmyn Ward’s National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones.
I don’t know how and even if it is possible to measure success, but several students voluntarily wrote their end of semester research papers on Light in August.