Harbor Highlights - June 2015
"Beach House" - Joe and Sunny Miceli
This Navigator 56' has room for a family and the oomph to go places. Meet Joe and Sunny Miceli and find out why they're about to have two Beach Houses in the Bay!
Soon, a broker from Fort Myers called, promising that he had the perfect boat for the Micelis. It was a 2001 Navigator. The classic pilothouse boat was 56 feet long. Two Volvo 430hp engines provided the power. With three full cabins and two full baths, it did indeed seem made to order.
Joe happened to be in Tampa on business and drove over to inspect it. The Navigator fit the bill in every way. And the boat's name wouldn't have to be changed after all. “Beach House” was already emblazoned on the fan tail. The coincidence sealed the deal.
Beach House lives up to its name. The salon is spacious and furnished like a comfortable seaside retreat. The main living area is open to a roomy galley that could have been transported from a chic Manhattan apartment.
The pilothouse contains ample room for a captain and a full complement of crew who may want to keep him (or her) company. Down below, the master cabin glows with wood tones and reflected light. While the other two cabins aren’t quite as large, neither feels cramped.
The bathrooms offer full showers and lots of head and shoulder room. One design device is genius: the ceilings are mirrored. The illusion of unlimited height makes it seems as if even Shaquille would have plenty of headroom.
The top deck, however, is Sunny’s favorite hangout. There’s another captain’s station there and enough wrap-around seating and tables for a goodly sized crowd. The Micelis like the open-air feel and the panoramic views of Bay St. Louis Old Town.
The couple have always been fond of Bay St. Louis, so it was an easy decision to use it as a home base for Beach House. The feature they like most is the fact that there’s no busy four-lane highway separating the harbor from the town. They also enjoy the shops, restaurants and pleasant strolls through the historic neighborhood - all easily accessible.
“They have a little beach right here for our grandkids,” says Joe. “And this location is convenient to gulf. It’s not like you have to go through a lot of canals and no wake zones. Once you’re out of the marina, it’s short distance to islands, and the Louisiana marsh is right there for fishing.”
With the perfect boat in the perfect location, the Gulfport house is now on the market. The Michelis have bought property on Washington Street, near the beach. Joe’s happy that the property is in the Bay St. Louis Historic District because he feels like his investment will be protected over the long haul. The couple is planning to start building in the coming year. And when the house is complete, the Micelis will have two beach houses. But one has a feeling the grandchildren won’t mind.
Good Neighbor - June 2015
The patriarch of the Benvenutti clan may be 90 years old, but his memory and community spirit are as strong as his spirit.
- by Pat Saik
Arts Alive - June 2015
4th Sunday at Four
A celebration of the arts in a striking venue - Christ Episcopal Church. Find out how why this free series of concerts and fine art shows is growing in popularity each year.
- photos and story by Ellis Anderson
Yet some of the artists who had helped found the festivals found themselves out in the cold as the competition for booth spaces became fierce. The Dawsons and several church volunteers launched 4th Sundays to give venues to local artists and performers.
Flash forward to 2011. The new Christ Church building, replacing the one destroyed by Katrina, had been sanctified. Yet the church vestry wanted the spacious facility to be used for community events, as well as congregational ones. The Dawsons, who had been attending the church for several years, shared their Kansas City 4th Sunday experience. The concept was met with enthusiasm. The first event took place in January 2011, making 2015 the fifth year of the series.
The concerts and art shows offered at the 4th Sunday at Four series are free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.
The event begins with a musical performance in the sanctuary starting at 4pm. Favorite past performers include Coast Chorale (a Christmas tradition), Laura Leigh Dobson, J.T. Anglin, Walter Chamberlin’s jazz ensemble, and Father Ron & Friends (who just performed in May). Other much appreciated performers have been the N.O. Quarter Shanty Krewe (who performed Irish Sea Chanties) and Heather and the Monkey King.
The musical programs range from classical to folk to jazz. The performers are paid only what the audience donates as they’re leaving. But Margene says that people are generous, so it works out well for both performers and the audience. She also says performers love the venue – the building is lovely and uplifting, while the audiences are quiet, attentive and appreciative.
After the one-hour performance, the crowds stream across to the community hall next door. The large room is set up like a gallery each month, to showcase everything from photography to paintings to pottery. All the artwork is for sale and since refreshments and hors d’oeuvres are served, the affair takes on the feel of a swank big city gallery opening.
The artists keep all the proceeds from the sales – the church doesn’t collect any commission.
Artists with coast-wide reputations that have shown at the series include Tazewell, Kat Fitzpatrick, Lori Gordon and Neil Untersaher. Watercolorist John McDonald was the featured artist for the May event.
As the reputation of the series spreads, attendances have been building. Margene says they're at least double what they were five years ago.
4th Sunday at Four take place nine months a year. April is skipped because of Easter activities, while school openings and the heat in August and September combine to make the events difficult to coordinate.
“The only way I’d do it in August is if we could get Neil Diamond,” Margene says, laughing.
Growing Up Downtown - June 2015
Continuing the tour of what is now the Bay St. Louis Historic District, step into the past for a stroll down Main Street.
- by Pat Murphy
Up Main and Down Second
Magnolia State Building Supply which was originally founded by the Gex family and stood right behind Henry Osoinach’s new Bay Mercantile building at the corner of Main and North Beach. Before Mr. Osoinach built the building, there had been a Standard Oil gas station in this location. Originally the Magnolia State building had been the location of the Edwards Ford Agency.
My friend Carey Phillips and I used to hang out and play up in the lumber racks because Carey’s grandfather, Mr. Hippo Phillips, was one of the co-owners. Mr. Hippo had married into the Gex family, but his first wife, Weena Gex Phillips, had died and Mr. Hippo remarried. We could usually get free nails and scrap lumber to build stuff with whenever we needed it from Mr. Hippo.
Behind the Hancock Bank (in the building that is joined to the bank) was the post office, before a newer one was built down the street in the mid-1930s. When I was a child, the next building behind this was Hancock Insurance. At one time, this building was also the location of the W.L. Bourgeois Grocery Store and later Supertane Gas Company, run by several of Mr. Bourgeois’ sons. Mr. Pete Benvenutti told me that there was a big old house located where the bank parking lot is now. That was the home of the W.L. Bourgeois family.
Beach to Bayou - June 2015
A Fisherman's Dream on Washington & Third
A new tackle shop owned by an experienced fisherman opens just a few blocks from some of the best fishing piers on the Mississippi Coast. Meet Billy Ray Sanders.
- photos and story by Ellis Anderson
The twins are likely the first of many. If the location, location, location mantra proves true, there’s no way this business can fail. It’s situated on the corner of Washington Street and Blaize Ave (Blaize changes names to Third St. on the Waveland side of that intersection), only two blocks from the Washington Street pier and boat launch. The new Bay St. Louis harbor and the adjacent fishing pier are just several blocks beyond. There’s plenty of off-street parking and the building itself looks cheerful and well-kept.
Inside, walls and shelves are lined with lures, nets, hooks and lines. Dozens of rods stand in racks, while reels glint alluringly from glass cases. While Sanders carries some items found in big box stores, he stocks specialty tackle, rods and reels that can’t be found elsewhere locally. Okuma and Shimano and Penn are a few of the brands that he carries. Sanders will also stock someone’s favorite lure. All they have to do is ask.
Flounder lights are made in the store. They’re durable LED lights encased in an aluminum water-safe housing.
“All our lights are repairable,” Sanders says. “If they have a problem, they can come back to me and not have to ship them off.”
Currently, the tackle shop stocks frozen bait and may soon be offering live bait as well. Ice is available in either ten or twenty pound bags, and snacks and soft drinks will keep fishermen happy if the fish aren’t biting.
But probably one of the main draws for local anglers will be Billy Ray’s advice.
He’s been a serious fisherman since he moved over to Hancock County from New Orleans in 1981.
When asked how he became a go-to guy for fishing information, he points to forty years experience.
“I fish, that’s the authority,” he says, smiling. “I fish all week. If I can’t sleep at night, I walk down to the pier and fish. If I wake up too early, I get up and go down to the pier and fish. I’m in my boat too, at least once a week.”
“I tell people, advice is free. Don’t think you need to buy something to come in here to ask me a question. That’s not how it works. You can ask me anything, whether you’re an experienced fisherman and have questions about local fishing or if you’re trying to learn how to fish for the first time. “
And fisherfolk have plenty of opportunities to stop in and ask: the Tackle Shop is open every day but Sunday, from 7am – 6pm. The shop phone is 228.220.7114
The Town Green - June 2015
A honeybee hive on the rooftop of an Old Town restaurant? Yep! Find out how hive hosting is good for the community, the food chain and makes for good family fun!
- photos and story by Ellis Anderson
Bee Here Now! The New Trend in Hive Hosting
That’s not the case with many hives across the country today. Josh says that nearly a third of bee hives in the U.S. die off each year. Pesticides, bee predators and fungi are chief among the identified culprits, but the high rate of mortality remains somewhat of a mystery.
The high rate of loss makes beekeeping a risky profession these days, but Josh Reeves is undeterred. He and his father-in-law, Jim Huk, began their company just last year. J&J Bees and Trees focuses on raising citrus trees and honeybees. The two currently own and manage about 25 hives. They’re hoping to double the number of hives each year and eventually provide local honey on a small scale.
One arm of their business is neighborhood hive hosting. Most of the country’s 2.4 million domesticated bee colonies are utilized in agriculture for pollination purposes. Bees pollinate one out of every three bites of food we eat, making a $14.6 billion impact on agricultural harvests. But it’s a growing trend for homeowners in cities or suburbs to host bee hives.
Here’s how it works. For a set annual fee, Josh Reeves will set up and maintain a honeybee hive at someone’s home or business. The property doesn’t even have to be large or rural, it simply has to be bee-friendly. The Starfish Café is a case in point. It’s in the middle of Old Town, and the hive, since it’s mounted on the roof, takes up no yard space.
The hive hosters benefit in several ways. They receive a portion of the honey harvested each year (although there’s not much of a harvest the first year while the hive is getting established). Hosters don’t have to care for the hives. Josh checks in periodically to make sure all is well. The host family has the satisfaction that they’re giving pollinators a place to call home – and increasing the production of their neighbors' vegetable gardens. Or their own. Di Fillhart, owner of the Starfish Café, noted a huge uptick in the production of the restaurant’s vegetable garden since the bees moved in.
Josh’s passion for bees began after he retired from the military and he and his wife, Jinny, bought a small farm in Ohio. The couple raised goats, chickens and pigs, in addition to raising much of their own food. In nearby Medina, Ohio, the A.I. Root company offered beekeeping workshops and Josh signed up for a few classes. Root is a candle company now, but used to be one of the country’s foremost suppliers of bee-keeping equipment and is still involved by providing educational resources for beekeepers.
Reeves was smitten with the hard-working insects and kept hives for the next five years. When the family relocated back to the Mississippi coast in 2014, they decided to create a company based on their passions and their values.
Their mission statement (below) expresses the goals of the Reeves’s lives and their company. They want to bring families together. They want to educate the community about bees. They want to introduce others to what Josh calls the Gee Whiz factor, the joy and amazement that comes from living in harmony with nature.
The day the Cleaver photographs Josh checking on the Starfish hive, he begins by lighting some straw in a special smoker device. It looks sort of like a little watering can with bellows. Once the straw is smoking, he directs a few puffs of it into the hive from the bottom, where the bees are coming and going.
It doesn’t take much to calm the bees. He waits a few minutes, then moves calmly to open the hive from the top. He’s dressed only in jeans and a t-shirt, not the bee-keeping space suit that’s usually seen in cartoons and movies. Once he’s opened up the hive, he begins pulling out the vertically stacked trays that the bees build their honeycombs on. He holds them by the wooden edges since both faces of the trays are covered by bees busily stuffing nectar into little cells.
Reeves explains that since the queen dictates the temperament of the hive, “gentle” ones - those who don’t seem to be unduly angered by human interaction - are bred. That’s why most domesticated honey bees are not as aggressive as legend suggests.
After he makes sure the queen is thriving and no pests have crashed the party (mites and fungi are the main threats in this part of the country), he reassembles the hive. A few minutes later, the beekeeper climbs down from the roof without a single sting to mark the experience.
In the future, Reeves is hoping to make the hive openings at the Starfish educational events open to anyone who wants to learn more about honeybees (contact the Starfish to find out Reeve’s next scheduled visit). It’s the perfect family summertime outing, sure to keep kids “buzzing” for days. Since the Starfish hive is on the roof, observers have a great view from below. It’s safely out of angry bee distance in case someone’s afraid the queen might be having a grumpy day.
The Starfish hive is just one of several J&J hives hosted in the area. The word’s getting out and more people are calling Josh daily to inquire about getting into the program. Why the surge in interest?
“I’ve talked to so many older people whose father or grandfather raised bees,” says Josh. “They remember it from their childhood. Of course the younger kids haven’t had that experience, but what kid doesn’t like a bug? When you can take a male bee – the kind without a stinger - and put it in a child’s hands, it’s neat to see what happens. It’s really easy to bridge a generational gap with honey bees.”
J&J Bee’s and Trees is more than just honey. It is impacting the community through education, family and making our environment more vibrant and wholesome. It starts in your backyard and spreads throughout the world.
Find J&J's Bees & Trees on Facebook or call (228) 363-3490
J&J's Mission Statement
Upcoming Events - June 2015
6/4 - Thursday
6/12 - 6/13 - Friday & Saturday
6/13 - Saturday
6/13 - Saturday
6/13 - Saturday
6/19 - 6/20 - Friday & Saturday
6/25 - 6/27 - Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Saturday, 10am - 10pm
10:30am - 4pm: Off beach rendezvous for boaters
11am - 1pm: DJ at 111 Main Street
4pm: Pirates arrive at harbor
5pm: Captain Long Beard’s meeting with Laffite Brothers and Royalty from the Krewe of Nereids at Bay Town Inn (208 N. Beach, across from Harbor)
5:30pm: Pirates' Parade from DeMontluzin to Buoy's Bar
6pm: “Captain Long Beard is Captured” and jailed by Mayor and townsfolk. Corner of N. Beach and Main St.
6Pm - 9pm: The reenactment continues with live music, culminating with a proclamation from the mayor.
9pm - 10pm: Fireworks show by Mystic Krewe of the Sea Horse and the Silver Slipper Casino
6/26 - Friday
6/28 - Sunday
7/3 - 7/5 - Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Watch here for more details on the USA Today "Red, White, and You" Celebration in Waveland on July 4th! Read more about it here!
Bay Bride - June 2015
A romantic B&B in the heart of Old Town provides the perfect setting for a sweet ceremony and memorable reception.
April 11, 2015
Noel Nadine Nami & Charles Edward Lizana
Bay Reads - June 20`15
Indie Bookstores the Mark of Vibrant Towns
This month, a look at the qualities of independent bookstores - which are making a comeback across the country - and on the coast!
- by Carole McKellar
Independent bookstores are usually owned and operated by people who are passionate about books. They find book selections to suit every taste and make informed suggestions to customers. They enrich their community by hosting book clubs and author events. Local bookstore owners are actively engaged in our community and support the local economy.
Browsing small, intimate bookshops is satisfying on several levels. They are generally warm and inviting visually. Books are colorful and artistic. Reading the synopsis and reviews on the dust jackets promises riches within. Holding books in your hands invites you to participate in something that has enthralled humans for hundreds of years. It is impossible to have the same experience visually and tactilely surfing the web.
When I travel, I seek out bookstores and tend to judge communities by the quality of their independent bookshops. We on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are fortunate to have Bay Books on Main Street, Bay St. Louis, Pass Books on Scenic Drive in Pass Christian, and Southern Bound Book Shop in Biloxi. All of them help make our communities unique and thereby richer.
Mississippi has two bookstores that regularly gain national attention. Lemuria in Jackson is one of the finest bookstores I’ve ever been in. Square Books in Oxford is a ‘must’ for Oxford visitors. Nearby New Orleans has three independents that are regular stops for me. In addition, the French Quarter has three used book shops that are treasures. To find their names and others in each state, go to www.newpages.com or www.indiebound.org.
Successful small businesses make vibrant towns. Shop our independent bookstores to keep dollars and this valuable service in our community. Our local bookstores deserve our support because they enrich all of our lives.
Jeff Kinney, author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, is opening a bookstore. “If one kid’s life is changed because of this bookstore, then the whole thing was worth it,” he says.
Shared History - June 2015
The pride and delight of the Bay St. Louis community, the Train Depot continues as a monument to the legacy of daily life and transportation in the 1800s and 1900s, and a gathering place for all.
- by Karen Fineran
The Fabulous Depot District
To see more video shorts of life along the Hancock County Scenic Byways,click here!
The Sunset Limited line is one of America’s oldest passenger train routes, and was formerly North America’s only transcontinental Coast to Coast train, spanning from Los Angeles to Orlando, Florida. Originally developed by the Southern Pacific Railroad in the nineteenth century, the route spanned the Sun Belt, connecting New Orleans, Louisiana to Los Angeles, California. The name Sunset Limited dates to 1874 (Southern Pacific Lines had published a magazine called Sunset, extolling the virtues of the West, to entice Americans to travel to California by train).
Construction of the Mobile to New Orleans railroad line began in 1867 and was completed in 1870, and L&N opened the original Bay St. Louis train depot for business in 1876. Bay St. Louis functioned as a major transportation hub along the Sunset Limited; other popular stops included Waveland, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs and Pascagoula.
The BSL Train Depot was the stopping or starting point for many commuters, day workers, freight transport, and New Orleans families enjoying weekend or day outings in tranquil Bay St. Louis. The fare for a round trip in 1871 between Bay St. Louis and New Orleans was just $2.25.
In the early twentieth century, the BSL Train Depot was the center of activity for the town of Bay St. Louis. Goods that were shuttled between New Orleans and Bay St. Louis included racing pigeons, eggs and produce. Vendors at the BSL Depot hawked fried oysters, pralines and sandwiches to weary and sometimes overheated passengers (there were no fans or air conditioning on the trains).
At that time, as in the rest of society, segregation on the railroads was a fact of life. Railroads operating in Mississippi were required to have at least two passenger cars per train to separate black and white passengers, or divide the passenger cars by a partition to separate black from white passengers. The train passengers were not permitted to unnecessarily pass through the cars or compartments provided for the other race, or use the toilets or closets provided for the other race. The Train Depot was separated at that time into two sides, so that black and white passengers could buy their tickets and wait for the train in separate areas.
By 1926, the Chamber of Commerce and the L&N Railroad were in negotiations to replace the original aging Train Depot. Before action could be taken, the older wooden structure was destroyed by fire in 1928. Its replacement, an 8,000 square foot two-story Spanish colonial revival building, with its recessed and decorated entry portals and arched windows, was completed and dedicated in 1929.
The BSL Train Depot has been the site of some famous visits and events. According to the Hancock County Historical Society, actress Sarah Bernhardt in 1888 or 1889 got stranded in Bay St. Louis after the mail train she was on to New Orleans lost a section of wheel into the Bay while crossing the Bay Bridge.
Apparently, this was not the first time that Sarah Bernhardt was reported to have had a misadventure in Bay St. Louis. According to Patricia Marks’ 2003 book Sarah Bernhardt’s First American Theatrical Tour 1880-1881, Bernhardt’s journey to New Orleans for her first American tour was marked by a harrowing experience on the train crossing the Bay Bridge. The train that she was on approached a decrepit and crumbling railroad bridge crossing the Bay of St. Louis. When the engineer refused to move the train over the railroad bridge, Bernhardt bribed him with $2,500 to press forward. “As the engineer hurtled across the bridge, Bernhardt watched it crash to pieces behind them. From then on, she confessed, she was troubled by nightmares at her temerity at risking the lives of so many people.”
In 1965, the movie “This Property Is Condemned” was filmed using the Depot and surrounding areas, including the Bay St. Louis Little Theater across the street, as the backdrop for the movie. That film was directed by Sydney Pollack and starred Robert Redford, Natalie Wood, and Charles Bronson.
Shortly after the movie was filmed, the daily commuter service was discontinued, as the automobile by then had become the primary mode of transportation. While freight service continued, regular passenger service did not begin again until the 1990s. Amtrak began regular stops again in 1993. Also, in 1993, Amtrak extended the Sunset Limited to the east, through Mississippi and Alabama to Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida.
In 1991, Bay St. Louis purchased the building and surrounding property from CSX and began the redevelopment of the Depot District The restoration of the Train Depot and grounds were completed in 1996.
However, Amtrak service on the Sunset Limited was ground to a halt for a time by the devastation of the rail lines by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Though the BSL Train Depot underwent a complete exterior and interior renovation after its severe damage by Hurricane Katrina, sadly, the L&N Depot is no longer in use. Following Katrina, the portion of the Sunset Limited route between Florida and New Orleans was “suspended” and has not been restarted. Effectively, the route has been severed.
Half of the line still operates several days a week west of New Orleans, and the eastern half does not operate at all. Although Amtrak apparently completed its track and signal work in the first couple of years after Katrina, it is unknown whether Amtrak will ever find it profitable enough to resume operations between Florida and New Orleans. (In 2012, representatives from municipalities across the Gulf Coast attended a passenger rail summit with Amtrak to examine how rail service might be restarted). Perhaps, one day, at least the original route between Mobile and New Orleans could be resumed, and the Bay St. Louis Train Depot and its historic coastal companions could be open for business again.
After its total refurbishment after Hurricane Katrina, the Train Depot was reopened in 2011. The building and its grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the building was also listed in 1995 by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History as a Mississippi Landmark Property. Walking inside today is like getting a glimpse of the history of our fascinating community.
Now, the Depot has once again become a focal point for the town’s community gatherings, activities, meetings and festivals. The Depot is the home of the Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau, and is the official Visitor Center for Hancock County. The lower floor is home to the Mardi Gras Museum, displaying elaborate and colorful Mardi Gras costumes.
On the second floor, the Alice Moseley Museum provides a home for the works and life story of the nationally-acclaimed folk artist. The surrounding Depot District is alive and well too, with a number of outstanding restaurants and atmospheric bars within just a few minutes walk of the Train Depot.
This month, on June 20, the BSL Train Depot hosts the 4th Annual Midsummer Night’s Dream Festival, a special children’s event with a Renaissance theme. The Faerie Princess Pageant is open to boys and girls twelve years old and under, with a registration fee of $10 and awards and crowns in each age category. From 5 pm to 9 pm, a live harpist will play under the oak trees and an instrumental band also will take the stage. The public is invited to bring picnic baskets and blankets to spend an enjoyable evening outdoors. For more information, contact Event Coordinator Elizabeth Veglia at (228) 304-1333 or (228) 463-9222.
The pride and delight of the Bay St. Louis community, the Train Depot continues as a monument to the legacy of daily life and transportation in the 1800s and 1900s, and a gathering place for all.
Station House BSL - June 2015
This month, Chief Pam San Fillippo gives us a rundown of essential fire-fighting training and equipment that our Bay Fire Department needs to save both lives and property.
What It Takes To Do the Job
Training: New recruits must complete a seven-week basic training course at the state fire academy within one year of hire. Tuition and related expenses will cost at least $2,000.00. After this training (since firefighters are called to almost every emergency you can imagine) they spend their careers in continuing training for emergencies that are too numerous to list. Chemical leaks or fires, medical and trauma emergencies, vehicle extrication, high-angle rescue, fire investigations, fire prevention, and of course structural and vehicle firefighting are a few examples.
Fire departments must continue learning new techniques and purchasing different equipment to manage emergencies in a world that changes almost daily, Everything from hybrid vehicles to deadly street drugs to acts of terrorism are the new dangers of modern firefighting that were unheard of not so long ago.
Protective Gear: Firefighters can’t go into burning buildings or work around torn metal at vehicle accidents without very specialized clothing. Outfitting a firefighter with a few uniforms and a set of custom-fit firefighting gear (helmet, coat, pants, boots, hood and gloves) carries a price tag of about $3,000.00. As the clothing ages and loses the ability to protect the firefighter it must be replaced, usually every 5 to 10 years - or immediately if it becomes damaged.
Breathing Protection: In order to work in superheated air and toxic gasses, special clothing isn’t enough. Without respiratory protection the firefighter will not survive. The air tank and mask that firefighters wear is a “Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus” or “SCBA” (not to be confused with SCUBA tanks!) that allows them to breathe in otherwise deadly environments. It is the single most important piece of equipment a firefighter uses, and each unit carries a price tag of about $5,000.00. These are also replaced about every 10 years.
Equipment: Trained and protected in the right gear, our firefighter is ready to work. Now we have to get the firefighter to the emergency with the tools needed to handle... well, anything! Of course we need a vehicle - a fire truck. Average price tag: $400,000. Add another $50,000 for fire hose and nozzles, saws, axes, pry bars, flashlights, bolt cutters, various adapters, extrication tools, medical equipment, radios and communication equipment - and all of that is carried on each fire truck the department has in service.
Every emergency we respond to is different from the last, and the next. There is no such thing as a “routine” emergency. Our equipment sees a lot of rough use, and repairs and maintenance are expensive and seemingly never ending. Firefighters do what they can in-house, but most equipment repairs require specialized knowledge and tools, which of course, equals a hefty repair bill.
With five fire trucks and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tools and equipment, the costs involved in operating our fire department add up quickly. Yet, the finest fire truck and the best equipment money can buy is worth nothing without someone willing and able to use it anytime, anywhere, under any conditions, for anyone. For that task we need a firefighter, the one asset I hope you will agree is “priceless."
Just For Fun... Fire Equipment From Bygone Years
What's Up, Waveland? - June 2015
The Big Buzz - June 2015
Waveland Wins USA Today July 4th Celebration!
USA Today announced on May 29th that Waveland is one of two winners in their Red, White and You contest. The Grand Prize is a Fourth of July celebration (including a fireworks display) valued at approximately $50,000, including food and entertainment.
Earlier in the year, entrants sent in 150 word essays explaining why their city was deserving of the grand prize. More than 2,600 entries were received.
The winning entry for Waveland was written by Donna Estopinal.
"Many people were forced to move away leaving their dreams behind to start over somewhere else," she wrote. "Those who stayed were determined to rebuild not just their homes but our beautiful city as well. Waveland is coming back stronger and better than before."
Oroville, California was awarded the other grand prize. The other finalists were Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Midland, Pennsylvania, and Platteville, Wisconsin.
Read the complete article here.
Bay St. Louis Fastest Growing City in the State
For two years in a row, Bay St. Louis has landed the title of Fastest Growing City in the State of Mississippi, at least those with a population over 1,000.
According to an article in the Sun Herald, the city has grown by 23% since 2010, adding 2,128 residents for a total of 11.388 in 2014.
Mayor Les Fillingame attributes the rapid growth to the real estate market and the rebuilding of the city's historic district.
"The build-out of Old Town Bay St. Louis is the hottest part of real estate in the region," he said. "By and large, we have rebuilt the city to produce the results that we're seeing. Hats off to everyone involved in the recovery."
Read the entire article here.
Registration for Leadership Hancock County Begins
Leadership Hancock County will be accepting applications between June 1st and July 31st of this year. The Hancock Chamber began the leadership program in 1996 to “identify and prepare the community’s existing and future leadership resources.”
The group meets for an entire day each month for field trips and classes that develop an awareness of the community, develop networking skills and teach participants to make the most of their leadership abilities.
Since the program was introduced nearly two decades ago, thirteen classes have produced 320 graduates, many of whom have gone on to become “change agents for the good of Hancock County.”
LHC participants receive a certificate of graduation and celebrate their dedication and hard work in June, with a graduation ceremony and dinner.
Please click here to access the digital application, directly, then fill it out, sign the bottom and fax to 228-467-6033 or emailing to email@example.com by the July 31st deadline.
100 Men Hall Spotlighted
Bill Cleven travels all across the country seeking people and places making America great, then shares them with readers of his website "Bill On The Road" and fans of his St. Louis radio show. So of course, he spent time in Bay St Louis recently! Here's his take on 100 Men Hall:
The 100 Men DBA Hall in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi once hosted many of the biggest names in music. Fast forward to 2005 when the same building sat in disrepair and largely unused. Add in the destructive forces of hurricane Katrina and the hall was on the brink of destruction and for lack of a better word – history.
Now imagine being from out of state, zero knowledge of the building’s great history (that includes way more than just music) and buying it hours before it was set to be demolished.
That’s pretty much the story of Jesse & Kerrie Loya.
Read the rest of the article here.
Stennis Testing Deep Space Rocket Engines
Engines being tested now at Stennis Space Center will power the core stage of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which is being developed to carry humans deeper into space than ever before. The heavy-lift SLS will be more powerful than any current rocket and will be the centerpiece of the nation’s next era of space exploration, carrying humans to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.
The successful 450-second test of the RS-25 rocket engine occured May 28 at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The hotfire test was conducted on the historic A-1 Test Stand where Apollo Program rocket stages and Space Shuttle Program main engines also were tested. RS-25 testing now is set to continue through the summer.
New Old Town Historic Complex Open For Guests
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Hancock Chamber Business After Hours
Ground Zero – Waveland Library, Coleman Avenue, Waveland, MS
Sponsored by the Library Foundation of Hancock County
This will kick off the week of Katrina Plus 10 Anniversary Events
Thursday, August 27, 2015
2015 Annual Awards Gala
6pm Dinner & Program
presented by the Hancock Chamber &
The Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission
Hollywood Casino, Bay St. Louis, MS
New Day in the Bay - Celebrating Our Can-Do City
11:30am – 1pm
Luncheon for Visiting Media, Elected Officials and Business Leaders
Longfellow Civic Center, Court Street, Bay St. Louis, MS
Media Tours (optional) prior to and following the luncheon
Public is invited to tour, dine and shop all day
Stores will stay open late with music in the streets
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Ringing of the Church Bells Across the Coast
All churches will be invited to participate to commemorate when Hurricane Katrina made landfall
Waveland’s Ground Zero Hurricane Homecoming
Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum
5pm Ceremony to remember the lives lost to Katrina in Hancock County
5:30pm Grand Re-Opening of the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum
Music, food & beverages until 8pm
Tours of the Museum featuring the new H. C. Porter Exhibits
Backyards and Beyond: Mississippians and Their Stories
Sponsored by Mississippi Power Company, the City of Waveland and the Hancock Community Development Foundation
Katrina Authors will be on hand to sell and autograph books through Bay Books
Bring your lawn chairs, Katrina memorabilia, picnic baskets and more for an evening of tail-gating
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Various churches throughout the county will hold events and special services.
St. Rose De Lima Church in Bay St. Louis has an event in formation and details are not yet available.
Coast Cuisine - June 2015
It’s a Lulu’s thing: people drive from Mobile for one of the “debris” roast beef po-boys. They invite their friends for dinner on the delightful screened porch that catches the gulf breezes. During Sunday brunch, families gather to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries - and just the fact that it’s Sunday again in the Bay. During the week, shopping BBFs give their feet a break while enjoying a refreshingly fresh homemade lunch.
Welcome to the new Lulu’s on Main. The things that made this lunchtime restaurant a coast favorite for eight years remain unchanged - which will be a big comfort to die-hard fans. There’s just more of everything now: more space, more art, extended hours and new creative dishes.
Even the kitchen has grown, from a cramped room to a spacious state-of-the-art chef’s dream.
In fact, this all is a dream, one that owner/chef Nancy Moynan has been nurturing for decades.
“It’s been my dream and my passion and finally I’m living it,” she says. “All I’ve ever wanted is a place where the food, the service and the ambiance combine to give diners an outstanding experience.”
Moynan brings a lot of outstanding experience of her own to the table. She grew up learning the nuances of flavor by watching her grandmother and mom. She cooked for three years in the legendary Commander’s Palace restaurant in New Orleans. She also worked for five years as private chef for a Lebanese family, adding expertise in Mediterranean cooking to her Creole and Italian mix.
The Sunday Brunch menu tempts diners with traditional favorites and scrumptious flights of fancy. Authentic Grillades and Grits (a dish very difficult to find on menus now - even in New Orleans eateries), Crabby Lulu (a scrumptious crab cake and egg creation) and a Sausage soufflé.
There’s also the tantalizing Redfish Florentine. It features fresh gulf redfish, seared and served with a creamy spinach Madeleine, sautéed mushrooms and artichoke hearts and two poached eggs. The whole seductive dish is covered in a homemade hollandaise sauce. Bringing friends who will share tastes of their own plates is highly recommended.
Desserts served at all meals include homemade ice creams and sorbets, Lulu’s Chocolate Mud, and Betty’s Bread Pudding, named after the chef’s mom.
Even little things like the saltine crackers that come with the chicken salad showcase Nancy’s distinctive flair. What magic does she work to make them so savory, and downright addictive? She holds her cards close to her vest, but encourages diners to experiment in their own kitchens at home.
“That’s the best compliment someone can pay,” Moynan says. “ I want them to leave looking forward to their next meal here.”
At Home In the Bay - June 2015
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
Maybe Miss Moseley Was Right
In the bedroom of Martha Wilson’s house on Carroll Avenue, an Alice Moseley print hangs on the wall. Like many of the folk artist’s paintings of Bay St. Louis, this one includes angels overseeing matters down below. Martha Wilson thinks the artist was on to something.
“I’ve met those angels and they’re here,” she says.
And according to Martha, many of them actually reside in her neighborhood, disguised as regular folks living undercover as contractors, designers, photographers, shop owners.
At Home in the Bay
Martha names a veritable choir of them. An angel named Jeanne Baxter helped her find the cottage at 314 Carroll Avenue. An artist she met at Gallery 220, Jo Slay, bolstered Martha’s hopes of finding a home in the Bay. Interior designers Al and Cathy Lawson offered fresh ideas to make the house live up to its potential as her dream home.
Liz Seal, who had originally designed the striking patio landscaping, offered her new neighbor advice for making the most of the maturing plantings and adding new beds. Contractor Kenny Monti has competently solved Martha’s small construction dilemmas. There are lots of gardeners and shop owners and painters she names. As well as the neighborhood children who take a break from play to rest on her front porch.
It’s clear that Martha has found her own slice of heaven on Carroll Avenue.
After retiring, she devoted her energies to full-time care of her aging mother, who recently passed. Soon after, she began to feel tugs toward the coast. Martha had spent time there as a child, but when she, her mother, and her sister returned on a road trip in 2007, she was heartbroken to see that the damage from Katrina was much worse than they’d imagined. The haunting images remained with her, but so did a love of the landscape and the people she'd met. Finally, in 2014, she found the opportunity to return - this time with the resolve to buy a house.
At the suggestion of her sister, she began searching in Ocean Springs, but found it didn’t “feel quite like home.” She traveled to Bay St. Louis, where she met Jeanne Baxter (John McDonald Realty), “whose love for the place came out." Then a stay at the Bay Town Inn and a visit with owner Nikki Moon, left her certain that she’d found her true coast home.
She made the offer on the Carroll house cottage before she left town.
“What a wonderful place for family and friends," says Martha. “I looked at other homes with great charm and character, but this one really spoke to me.”
The house is a Biloxi cottage, a rare design in Bay St. Louis. Economy was important in the early 1900s, so four adjacent rooms had corner fireplaces - all served by the same chimney. In the past century, all the fireplaces in the Carroll cottage have been removed. However, the previous owners, Benjamin Golding and Elizabeth Bartasius, exposed the remaining brick chimneys when they renovated post-Katrina – one of the many small touches that make the house anything but ordinary.
Architecturally, the floor plan of the house flows like a lazy river. The front door opens onto a large living room area on the left with the dining room straight ahead. The compact – but exquisitely functional kitchen – merges with the left side of the dining room.
French doors at the end of the dining table tempt one to step out into an astonishing Asian/Southern deck area. Liz Seal’s vision as a landscape designer comes to the fore in this serene place. Stalks of rust-colored bamboo provide privacy and a fantastic visual backdrop for the clumps of river birch trees growing up through the deck. The textural bark of the lithe trees sings against the bamboo backdrop. Comfortable and durable furnishings complete this retreat. Any activity would feel perfect here – meditating, reading or grilling out with family and friends.
The house originally contained two bedrooms and a small office. Martha’s master bedroom opens into the second bath and and a private door leads directly to the patio. Since her children and grandchildren are frequent guests, she needed “as many beds as I could fit.” The former office now contains two twin beds. Four full-sized bunk beds fill the guest room, but they were designed with the comfort of adults in mind.
Family portraits by Ann Madden
Work by other local artists can be found almost everywhere the eye lands. The furnishings range from beach casual to antique, but with the help of designer Al Lawson’s genius with juxtaposition, everything works beautifully.
The main conversation piece in the house came about because Al mentioned that the living area lacked a real focal point. He brought in a mass of huge paper lanterns and hung them over the dining room table. Their light - and light-hearted - impact woke up the entire living area and set the tone for the house.
Martha believes Al understood exactly what she was going for. “I didn’t want it to be stuffy. I didn’t necessarily want it to be beachy though - just a fun place for the family and friends to come."
“More people have already have stayed in it than I would have imagined in my lifetime… my friends, my children, my grandchildren. It’s a happy magnet.”
And one guesses that the house at 321 Carroll is attracting a few angelic visitors as well.
Al Lawson - On Design
The eyes have it! Absolutely! There is a need for one “bright spot” in a room where your eyes can focus… and find a place to be engaged. The bright spot can be achieved through several different design methods. One approach can be to use an architectural element that you would visually organize the room around. That architectural element can be a something as simple as a window or fireplace. Just remember – a television is not an architectural element. Another focus idea is to use a monochromatic color scheme and then introduce a small amount of its complementary color... for example, a green appointed room with a small amount of red will invite the eye to focus in that direction. And one more recommendation would be to exaggerate the scale of pieces. Pianos are often used in large spaces to give a room scale. I particularly turn to large sculptures or paintings to add drama and draw attention to an area. The eye is fascinating to direct and influence! Enjoy playing with this design idea!
Coast Lines - June 2015
The Mother Lode of Moxie
- by Ellis Anderson
Vintage Vignette - June 2015
- by Martha Whitney Butler
Are you looking for a colorful collectible that won't just sit around collecting dust? Well you might just want to consider some of those rainy day board games you played with as a child. Their bright colors and whimsical images not only open the flood gates of family fun memories, but they also lend themselves to a great starting point when decorating a room or collector's vignette.
Some of the old games and toys are so reminiscent of an actual color wheel that you can apply them to any color scheme. Take the vintage Chinese checkerboards for example. Even just one of these can serve as a pivotal decor point for a room. Give me a blank, white wall and a vintage Chinese checkerboard and we can go from there!
Black and white wooden dominos make for interesting fillers in bowls and vases as do colorful marbles. The ONE thing I allow myself to collect is vintage marbles. Not only do they not take up a lot of space, I can use them to fill bottles, vases, and even pull the Chinese checker board off of the wall and play.
Give some thought into displaying your collection in a vignette. Like items arranged together in a variety of positions and heights can really show of your collection. Don't stuff it all into a China cabinet and call it a day. Get creative!
So before you pack those board games away for a rainy day, reevaluate their potential and see if they can be incorporated into your home's décor!
The Shoofly - June 2015
The Hancock County Senior Center
- by Gus Duda
If you are 60 years of age or have someone in your family who is, and you are a resident of Hancock County you need to know about the Hancock County Senior Center.
My name is Gus Duda and I am most assuredly a senior citizen, 95 years young to be exact. We moved to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi from Alexandria, Virginia and I have loved almost everything about the Bay.
I was not happy to find that public transportation is not what I was used to. In Alexandria I could hop on a bus and go to the store or pharmacy or library. In Bay Saint Louis I am dependent on others for transportation.
Those who have errands to do or appointments to keep get a ride on the bus. Jimmy my usual driver is an employee of Coastal Transportation Service and a tremendous asset to the center. Always patient, caring and fun to be around Jimmy knows how to make everyone feel welcome. After we have lunch we get a ride home on the bus.
I did some research on the center because I was not here from the beginning and I like knowing the history of things. The Center is located at the corner of Old Spanish Trail and Bookter Street in Bay Saint Louis. It was established in 1972 by May Beyer, grandmother of Chuck Benvenutti. Eve McDonald served as the Center’s director from 1972 to 1992. The Center was located in a small classroom in the Valencia C. Jones School. I heard that she had to beg around for tables and chairs and later as the Center grew they were given more space.
Arlene was hired in 1985 to do arts and crafts and did such a fantastic job and was so loved by the seniors that she was given the director’s job in 2001 after Rosine died. After Hurricane Katrina I heard, the Center served as an emergency shelter in Bay Saint Louis. For about three months they provided food, clothes and shelter for more than 175 people. The building did get damaged during the storm. Repairs were made thanks to insurance proceeds and FEMA. Through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the Center was able to expand, adding a dining area, an indoor walking track, and additional storage.
Today, the Center provides nutritious hot food for lunches, a place for the expression of art and companionship. We are about 40 people of various backgrounds sharing a meal, laughter and stories. We are taken good care of by Arlene, Trish, Jimmy and Michael, our chef and all the volunteers. It is nice to be out during the day and to have something to talk about when I get home.
If you are 60+ and would like to join us, we would love to have you. Just call the Center at 228.467.9292 or pop in at 601 Bookter to sign up. I’ll see you there.
Second Saturday - June 2015
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
The Second Saturday column
Continue the fun at the LP Release party at 100 Men Hall
Bay Saint Louis
Doors open at 7pm
The LP sells for $45 including out-of-state shipping and is available for preorder on our website www.100menhall.org. The LPs will be shipped after the release party on June 13. Doors open at 7 and tickets are $10.
There will be short presentation featuring speakers from the MS state tourism office and then the LP will be played. The House Katz will provide live music afterward. The Live at 100 Men Hall LP will be available for sale the night of the event.
Puppy Dog Tales - June 2015
The Dogs of Cat Island
This month - Daisy Mae looks at a bizarre failed WWII experiment that took place on Cat Island: a top-secret attempt to train dogs to sniff out Japanese soldiers.
Dear gentle readers,
I am working on my campaign materials and will have more to share with you for the July Puppy Dog Tales. One of my major concerns and a core item on my platform is in the humane treatment of all animals. The Humane Society of the United States ranks all the states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Mississippi ranks 50th in that listing in the protections offered to animals.
With that in mind, Friends of the Animal Shelter is participating in the Humane Society of the United States Humane Lobby Day. The date for Mississippi is the 18th of June. Friends is hosting meeting on the 18th at the Hancock County government offices from 8:30am until 10:00am. Advocates will be meeting with decision makers to urge them to support bills that protect animals.
Lawmakers see a tremendous number of bills and they may be silent on animal issues not because they don’t care about animals, but because they haven’t heard from constituents. Information on the meeting will soon be available on the Friends of the Animal Shelter website and Facebook page. For more information on the HSUS visit their website at www.humanesociety.org.
The Dogs of Cat Island
Humans and animals have long had a working relationship that for the most part has been of mutual benefit. Sometimes that work involves warfare. History.com has an article entitled War Animals From Horses to Glowworms. It appears that elephants, horses, dolphins, camels, pigeons, mules, bats and pigs have all played a role. Cats never quite worked out – they are kinda hard to train. The best they could do was rodent control and serve as stress reducers. Not a bad role actually. About the glow worms: they were used as a light source in the trenches in World War I. They were caught and placed in jars and handed out to the soldiers.
While doing some local research on dogs in Mississippi, I came across a reference to Cat Island. Do you know about the war dogs on Cat Island? A little aside: there were no cats on Cat Island when the French arrived about 1699. They mistook the large brownish raccoons for oyster eating cats because there are no raccoons in France.
Puppy Dog Tales
Those that passed all the tests went through a basic training of about to eight to twelve weeks. The dogs were trained to wear muzzles and gas masks and conditioned to riding in vehicles and desensitized to loud noises. After the basics the dogs went on to specialized work training in scouting, sentry duty, messengers and to locate missing troops. This was a noble and a good partnering for dog and soldier.
A civilian dog trainer, William A. Prestre, had pushed for the mission. His theory was that ethnic groups smelled different. Dogs could be trained to sniff out and attack the Japanese. Upwards of 30 thousand dogs were to be made ready and then would be dropped in as a first wave of assault on Pacific Islands and would seek out and kill Japanese soldiers. History Detectives has a chilling report on the goings on and an investigation into the training.
The experiment failed after about 90 days and the loyal Japanese-American troops were reassigned. Men from the Signal Corps used the facilities to train messenger dogs with carrier pigeons, as shown in the YouTube video. You can see the special carrying cases the dogs wore to transport the pigeons. This proved very effective and a valuable means of communicating on the battlefield.
Cat Island did not really have the facilities for soldiers and the dogs so it was not practical to keep it open. The training facility closed down in July, 1944.
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