Shared History - June 2017
1985: A Church Fair Becomes Crab Fest
"Crab Lady" Pam Metzler and other Crab Fest veterans share the history and traditions of this favorite coast festival.
- story by Lisa Monti and Tricia Donham McAlvain, photographs by Ellis Anderson
“We don’t charge for admission so it’s impossible to know how many people come in, but it’s thousands. At night sometimes you can hardly walk,” said longtime Crab Fest chairperson Pam Metzler.
Church fairs were a big part of growing up here, and many volunteers are carrying on a family tradition. “All the local church families worked the fair,” said Metzler. “My mom worked the cake booth.”
The first few years of the festival, it was held on property that celebrity clarinetist, Pete Fountain owned (near the foot of the bridge where the Chapel Hill neighborhood is now). Pat Murphy remembers playing there with his wife Candy, guitarist John Bezou and drummer Jerry L’Enfant.
Metzler says the festival was moved to the church/school grounds because the shade from the live oaks gave some relief from the mid-summer heat, yet still allowed for breezes from the gulf.
This year’s Crab Fest will be the 20th year Metzler has served as chairperson. In 1997, Pam, who was Hancock County's circuit clerk at the time, was approached by Father Pete Mocker, who asked if she'd take on the enormous job of chairing the event. After consulting with her family, who promised to help, she took on the job, becoming the first woman to do so.
Now she's retired from the county, but not the Crab Fest. She and the other dedicated volunteers return year after year to keep the pieces and parts of this three day festival rocking along. It’s hard work, in the heat, but they enjoy it.
“Everybody always has a wonderful time. A lot of volunteers aren’t even church members, they’re just members of the community or members of other churches, other denominations,” Metzler said. “Because it’s so fun.”
Just a few of the regular volunteers
(editor's note: these Shoofly Magazine photographs were taken before 2017 and a few of the folks below have passed away since then).
Metzler and others shift into Crab Fest mode in January, and a few even set up camp on the fair grounds ahead of the opening. “Six months ahead of time, they start getting ready to prepare food,” Metzler said.
Laura Piazza Griffith (editor's update: Laura passed away in 2019) makes 600 pounds of crab stuffed potatoes. Others boil 7,000 crabs and 3,500 pounds of shrimp. Some fry the seafood and make the gumbo and other items.
Kevin Haas and Mike Gibbens have been boiling the crabs and shrimp since the beginning days of the festival. "Starting 15 years ago, we got it down to a science,” said Haas. “We boil the crabs and shrimp separately in big pots with baskets in water. Then we cool the crabs or shrimp in water with seasoning, in what we call "charge pots" and then they are ready to eat.”
The Monti family has been involved in the Crab Fest since before day one. “The Monti brothers, Bill and Joe, had the original idea for the Fourth of July fair and carnival,” said Metzler. “They said let’s do a crab festival, it’s the Gulf Coast and there was no one doing one at the time.”
The late Gene Monti (“The Sweetest Man in Town”), his wife Mary Alice and his sister Lydia Favre were long time volunteers. Gene was well known as the cotton candy man and he also handmade cast nets that were raffled off. The husband of Monti’s niece carries on the traditional of knitting crab nets that are raffled.
“It’s a great, great festival and so much fun. We laugh and we work and we’re tired, I truly love it,” Metzler said. “I tell people you can’t quit the Crab Fest, you have to die to get out,” Metzler jokes. “We’ll be 80 and still be out there boiling crabs.”
And for those who make it to closing, there’s even a fun tradition.
“We get the band to play the second line and the die-hard volunteers who have stayed to the end dance all around the pavilion waving napkins," says Metzler. "When we throw our napkins down that means Crab Fest is officially over for the year."
"Then, we go soak our feet in the [soft drink] cooler with the leftover ice," she says, laughing.
Puppy Dog Tales - June 2017
Robbie MacDougal, Shetland Sheepdog and canine journalist - and longtime watcher of squirrels - takes a closer look at these frolicsome creatures, including Pete, President Truman's White House squirrel.
Next I read a tiny item that squirrels were once one of America’s favorite pets. One in particular, Pete the Squirrel, belonged to President Harry S. Truman.
When I researched squirrels as pets I found an article at atlasobscura.com that confirmed that squirrels indeed were popular pets. Mungo, for example, was a very special squirrel who belonged to Benjamin Franklin. When Mungo was killed by a dog, Franklin wrote, “Few squirrels were better accomplished, for he had a good education, had traveled far, and seen much of the world.”
Katherine Grier’s book Pets in America noted that while colonial Americans kept many types of wild animals as pets, squirrels were the most popular. By the 1700s squirrels were the rage — they were kept in fine homes, clothed, fed well, and often even appeared in the ubiquitous family portraits. Eventually the fad of ownership lessened.
They were, after all, wild animals, and behaved as such. Many states in the U.S. now have laws on the books prohibiting keeping squirrels at home.
Squirrels still have a big place in our hearts, so there is National Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21.
To help you better appreciate these backyard critters, here are a few facts and thoughts on squirrels:
Recognize these two fellas? They are the infamous Disney characters Chip and Dale.
To help you better appreciate these backyard critters, here are a few facts and thoughts on squirrels:
Recognize these two fellas? They are the infamous Disney characters Chip and Dale.
Did you know that chipmunks are rodents and members of the family Sciuridae, just like grey squirrels?
There are around 280 different species of squirrels, including gray squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, fox squirrels, marmots, and groundhogs. Betcha didn’t know there were so many.
There are a lot of famous squirrel characters. See if you remember these characters compiled by ranker.com.
To test your knowledge of squirrel trivia, check your answers to these questions at the National Wildlife Federation blog:
If you have children in your household, one of the best ways for them to learn about squirrel and other backyard habitats is using resources from the National Wildlife Federation. Ranger Rick is one of the best.
I want to be fair to my gentle readers who do not see squirrels and their relatives as benign, fun, lovely additions to the backyard environment. One of my neighbors sees them as enemies to be thwarted, and pesky rodents who steal birdseed from feeders. The World Wildlife Fund has some tricks for slowing down squirrels like weight-activated feeders, a feeding station just for the squirrels, and various baffles.
Keep in mind that squirrels are very resourceful, and that young squirrels learn from their mothers and grandmothers in attacking your feeder.
Whatever you feel about squirrels, my advice is to get a good comfy chair and position it by the best window in the house and watch them perform.
What's Up, Waveland - June 2017
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke reports on the Destination Waveland Celebration on Saturday, July 1st, new construction projects and an update on beach maintenance and parking.
Any businesses or residents who want to get involved in the celebration, please contract Tammy Fayard at 228-467-4134.
Sponsored by City of Waveland and numerous generous community sponsors.
Caution: Men at Work — SOON
The Waveland lighthouse, public pavilion, and restroom project has spurred so much interest from contractors that Waveland decided to extended the bidding process until June 6. Bids for this project were scheduled to be open until May 17, but due to overwhelming solicitation for bid packets and the large scope of the project, the mayor and aldermen decided it was best for taxpayers to allow contractors more time to put together a quality bid.
Waveland has decided to seek bids for to paving Garden Lane, Gladstone Street (east of Henderson) and to mill a number of sections of Waveland Avenue. I expect these paving projects to be completed by Labor Day.
A Day at the Beach
Hancock County Board of Supervisors just executed a $376,400 beach maintenance contract with local company Black Diamond Construction. Black Diamond’s proposal was the most competitive bid, and I have no doubt will do a great job.
The new contractor just took over the beach maintenance in mid-May, but the quality of performance maintaining the beach and walking path is already far superior to years past.
During May, Hancock Count Board of Supervisors discussed during public meeting the plan to pave parking bays on the south side of Beach Blvd in selective location. This project has been mentioned in years past, but I suspect that this project will finally come to fruition in the next few months.
There is a high probability that the Board of Supervisors will have at least one of the proposed parking bays constructed on the south side of Beach Boulevard in Waveland by the spring of 2018.
Coast Lines - June 2017
Paying Your Respects
Could an outpouring of community condolences on the loss of an antisocial dog stem from the coast's hurricane culture?
- story and photo by Ellis Anderson
Sponsor Spotlight - June 2017
Marshall Moving Services
A young hometown entrepreneur is on the move with a new business that aims high and carries through.
- story by Ellis Anderson
Bay Reads - June 2017
Fathers in Literature
Book columnist Carole McKellar takes a look at some of the best and the worst fathers in modern literature - and in real life, with Every Father's Daughter, edited by Pass Christian author Margaret McMullan
The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar was picked by The New York Times as one of the five best nonfiction books of 2016. It tells the true story of Matar’s father, who was kidnapped by Quaddafi’s forces and thrown into a secret prison in Libya. His family never saw him again, and the book tells of a son’s search for the truth of his father’s death and the tragic lives of Libyan refugees in a well-written story of familial love.
In The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (from Parnassus Book First Editions Club) the father is a career criminal who tries to provide his daughter with a normal life. The story moves back and forth over time and weaves the story of the twelve times Samuel was shot during his life with his intense love for his dead wife and child. This book reads like a thriller, and I loved it.
Other admirable fathers in fiction:
Some less than admirable fictional fathers are:
Real-life fathers, both good and bad, are eloquently portrayed in Every Father’s Daughter: Twenty-four Women Writers Remember Their Fathers selected and presented by Pass Christian author, Margaret McMullan. I enjoyed essays by some of my favorite writers, including Alice Munro, Lee Smith, and Jane Smiley, but I equally enjoyed stories by writers unknown to me. Melora Wolff’s essay brought strong memories of my father when it began:
Maybe we remembered hugging the fathers when we were little girls and they were like trees, and we balanced on the tops of their shoes; maybe we remembered lifting out arms above our heads and waiting for our fathers to lift us up as if we were little ballerinas, into the air where we spun and squealed.
The forward by Margaret McMullan is worth the price of the book. She wrote about her relationship with her father and their love of books: “When we talked about a book, we were always talking about important things.”
If you are fortunate to have a living father, please enjoy one of those hugs described above. If, like me, you no longer have a father in your life, buy Every Father’s Daughter and read all day on June 18. Or, you could watch To Kill a Mockingbird and enjoy Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch, who exemplifies the best of fatherhood.
For fathers who read this article, Happy Father’s Day.
Second Saturday - June 2017
Step up to summer at the June Second Saturday, June 10th. You'll find cool deals, fresh meals and lots of art and live music. It's the way we throw a family-friendly party here in the Bay and you're invited!
Make sure to visit Hot Spot businesses Bay Life Gifts and Gallery (111 Main Street) and Gulf View Properties (111 Court Street). Rory's Jazz Band will be performing at Bay Life 4pm - 7:30pm and Bronwynn Brent will be performing at Gulf View Properties, 5pm - 8pm.
- stories by Tracy Shields
Bay Life Gifts & Gallery
111 Court Street
Bay St. Louis
During the artwork, Rory's Jazz Band will be performing fro 4pm - 7:30pm, and light refreshments will be served.
After being a part of corporate America for 28 years, Bay Life owner Janice Guido decided she wanted to be her own boss. Janice opened her doors in March of 2015 and has not looked back.
“I enjoy being my own boss even if it does include sweeping the floors and unpacking heavy boxes,” Guido said. She loves being a part of Old Town Bay St. Louis, and it truly shows in her store.
Bay Life is designed to inspire all who walk through its doors. Guido has her store set to exhibit the Southern coastal charm of our life in Bay St. Louis and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Its tag line, "the shop for Bay coastal style," reflects Guido’s intention: “I want people to feel that they can find a little bit of everything for everyone when they enter my store. “
This shop features charming gifts for everyday life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for yourself or for anyone you care about. If you are a visitor, Bay Life is designed to make you smile at the memories of a great getaway where you purchased the perfect gift for yourself or for someone you love.
Bay Life is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30–5pm and Sunday noon to 4 during the months of June through August. Come walk around this delightful store, where you will find everything from birthday or wedding gifts, to happy surprises for people dear to you.
Guido has plenty of home and table décor, and she especially loves selling local artists’ works and Mississippi-made products.
Bay Life has a little bit of everything for everyone, and you are sure to find what you’re looking for at Bay Life.
Gulfview Properties, LLC
111 Court Street
Bay St. Louis
During Second Saturday, Bronwynn Brent will be performing from 5pm - 8pm at the Court Street office.
Kevin Jordan, owner of Gulfview Properties, LLC, knows that opting to rent a house instead of staying at a hotel when traveling adds a more intimate dimension to a vacation.
Aside from the seclusion, there's your own stocked refrigerator if you crave a midnight snack. It's also a great way to get in with the locals — suddenly you're the new neighbor.
When you factor in the per-day cost as well as room for family members or friends sharing the tab, a week or two at a spacious beach house or cottage can cost far less than a hotel.
Gulfview Properties offers furnished beach houses and cottage vacation rentals on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, primarily here in Bay St. Louis. Each of their Bay St. Louis rentals is a quiet retreat to help you feel right at home, as well as close to all the wonderful attractions that Bay St. Louis has to offer.
All you have to do is slide the key in the lock, and it is home sweet home for your stay. “Bay St. Louis is the perfect town to live in or visit for a stay,” said Jordan.
Jordan’s family owed the very first vacation home on 121 Seymour Street. Today there are more than 400 vacation homes on the Gulf Coast.
“I love doing historical restoration, and I never want to sell after I finish with the job. Plus this keeps me out of trouble, for the most part,” said Jordan.
If you are planning your dream vacation to Bay St. Louis, contact Kevin Jordan at Gulfview Properties, 228-344-3004, or go to gulfviewproperties.net.
Talk of the Town - June 2017
Rockin' at the Crab Fest
Each year, Crab Fest organizers bring in top regional bands. Get the scoop on this year's line-up, including Pat Murphy and his new band, Sippiana Soul.
- by Karen Fineran
Sippiana Soul is made up of Pat Murphy, keyboards and vocals, John Bezou, guitar and vocals, Phil Guay, bass and vocals, Steve Sandberg, drums and Mark Rybisky, tenor sax. Murphy's known Phil Guay since he was sixteen, Guay traveled with his band from Baton Rouge to play for local teen dances.
“I’ve always enjoyed Crab Fest because I run into people there that I don’t see very often,” says Murphy. “Also, I love where they’ve put the stage now, back under all the beautiful big live oaks!”
Pat predicts that the sound from the stage this year will be phenomenal, with Aaron Lee heading up sound and production.
Crowd favorites Chee-Weez perform covers of ’70s funk, ’80s pop, and ’90s grunge rock, thrilling audiences with the addition of crazy costume changes, giant video walls, lasers, lights, and pyrotechnic explosions.
The Chee-Weez have pulled in sizeable audiences at Crab Fest on Friday night every year for the last eight or nine years. Joey Mangiapane, Chee-Weez’s bass player, spoke about his band’s long relationship with OLG Crab Fest.
“When we first started playing the Crab Fest, it was a newer festival, and they didn’t have a stand-alone stage yet. We played under the crab-eating tent, right in front of the tables and chairs. After they got a big stage up the next year, I think that we were the first band to ever play on it.”
Mangiapane added that Crab Fest is one of the band’s all-time favorite festivals to play, because there is usually an enthusiastic crowd of six or seven thousand people there on Friday nights (and because the food there is so delicious).
On Saturday, July 1, the fest begins with Razzo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by the Bucktown All-Stars from 3 to 6 p.m., and then the Todd O’Neill Band, 7–11 p.m.
The horn-powered Bucktown All-Stars have become legendary in Louisiana, performing their own mix of rock, soul, funk, R&B and New Orleans classics at outdoor festivals, nightclubs and special events across the Gulf South.
This summer, the award-winning All-Stars celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band. (They have taken one of Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Awards for nearly 10 years in a row, as well as several of Gambit Reader’s Choice Polls.)
The All-Stars have played their second-line funk and Motown soul at the Crab Fest at least five times over the last several years. Steve Alfonso, the band’s drummer, elaborated upon the Crab Fest.
“We love it. It’s one of the more top-notch festivals that we play — one of the reasons is that it’s always very well run by Pam [Metzler]. There’s just a great mixed crowd of locals and New Orleanians, it’s extremely family-oriented, and it’s in the most beautiful setting you could imagine, shaded by those big oak trees. Oh, and there’s also great food and boiled crabs. It doesn’t get much better than that!”
Todd O’Neill is a country music singer and guitarist. Based in Nashville, but originally from Hammond, Louisiana, O’Neill’s musical style blends a little Cajun zydeco and New Orleans R&B into his country songs.
On Sunday, July 2, the music gets started with the Family Tradition Band, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., followed by Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition 2–6 p.m. The Crab Fest closes with Category 6, 7–10 p.m.
Ryan Foret is a nationally recorded country music artist with four CDs released since 1999. His band’s mix of country with a dash of zydeco, R&B and funk is in high demand along the entire Gulf Coast.
New Orleans cover band Category 6 combines high-energy stage antics with UV blacklighting. Their clothes and faces glow neon colors in the dark, and yours can too! (Category 6 “glow wear” is available for sale at their shows.)
There you have it — three days and three nights of premier live music and dancing under the stately oaks! Come on down to the Crab Fest to pass your Fourth of July.
At Home in the Bay - June 2017
House of Dreams
Three very different buildings make up the home of artist Kat Fitzpatrick, yet they magically mesh to create a space where dreams become reality.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
Arts Alive - June 2017
Acclaimed fiber artist Kerr Grabowski has made her mark on the national art scene, but she's now blazing new trails here in Bay St. Louis.
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
For most of this stellar career, Kerr created wearable art — painting, printing and dyeing fabric that was then used to construct high fashion, one-of-a-kind garments. Kerr’s show-stopping silk kimonos might retail for thousands of dollars in a metropolitan gallery. Since the pieces were naturally limited in production, they became highly sought after by serious fashionistas.
Kerr started making her marks early, in Jasper, Alabama, in the hill country north of Birmingham. Recognizing her talent early on, her parents signed her up for art classes. But in a bizarre effort to impress Kerr’s parents and keep the lessons going, the art teacher would paint over each of Kerr’s works. The experience almost turned Kerr against art altogether.
The family moved to Gulfport, where Kerr continued pursuing that eloquent line in high school. After graduation, her parents convinced her that making a living with art was unrealistic, so she headed off to college majoring in chemistry and biology, first at Mississippi University for Women, and then Mississippi State.
Leaving school to become a wife and mother, Kerr began painting children’s furniture and purses. Her success convinced her to return to college, this time for art. After she obtained her degree from Delta State, the young family moved back to the coast. Kerr began drawing late at night, then focusing on batik, an ancient method of using wax and dye to produce designs on cloth.
Divorcing when her daughter, Crawford, was six, Kerr had $200 in the bank when she decided to start selling her work at craft shows to pay the bills. She traveled to regional shows in a 1958 VW van that could “only go for about four hours without breaking down.” When Crawford had sleepovers, Kerr would enlist (and pay) the children to help iron and sew.
The business grew, and so did Kerr’s skills. With a more reliable vehicle, she was able to show at crafts venues in the northeast. It turned out to be an enormous asset that she’d been working on the Mississippi coast, where fiber artists who might have influenced her work were rare. In the Northeast, where fine crafts were sought after and revered, Kerr realized that her work and the some of the techniques she’d developed were unique.
Kerr hired assistants and purchased a studio in Pass Christian. By the mid-’80s, she’d become a shoo-in for highly competitive shows featuring the top craftspeople in the country, like the Smithsonian. Gallery owners across the country snapped up her work.
She’d been considering moving to the Northeast when she was offered a position as head of the fiber program at the prestigious Peter’s Valley Crafts Center on the Delaware River in New Jersey.
“I felt immediately at home in those woods,” she says. “The rock formations and the forests seemed just like the ones I’d loved as a child in Huntsville. It turns out they’re both bookends of the Appalachian Mountains. The job was for three years. I stayed for nine. I did a lot of adjunct teaching in the surrounding universities during that time.”
In the mid-’90s she purchased a derelict historic building in downtown Sussex, New Jersey, 60 miles from New York City. She rehabbed the bottom floor, and it served as her gallery, studio and living space.
She continued teaching, extending her range exponentially in 2007 when she made a DVD demonstrating her signature deconstructed screen-printing technique. The DVD sold internationally, and the invitations to teach outside the country began arriving regularly.
But her granddaughter was born in Jackson, Mississippi that same year, and Kerr began to feel the tug to return to the South. Artist friends, including Vicki Niolet, Kat Fitzpatrick, J.J. Foley, John McKellar, and Bill Myers, all urged her to move back.
In 2010, she found the perfect house on Keller Street in Bay St. Louis. With an original historic cottage and a small contemporary guesthouse, it provided ample space for both home and studio. The guesthouse had been renovated, but the restoration of the 1920s cottage had stopped mid-stream. After its purchase, she flew back and forth to supervise the construction. When it was completed in 2011, Kerr moved to Bay St. Louis full time.
“I love the vibe here,” she says. “I can sit on my porch, or walk over to the Mockingbird [Café] and meet friends and have coffee. There’s a wonderful energy in this town. And the arts scene across the whole Mississippi coast is really taking off.”
Soon, locals interested in learning from Kerr won’t have to fly to Australia to take one of her classes. She’ll be offering instruction at the new Bay Creative Arts Center later this year.
“There’s a supportive group of very talented people making art here, out of the love of making. The show at Smith & Lens really made me feel like I’m a part of that community.“
Across the Bridge - June 2017
What Katy Did
Award-winning author Rheta Grimsley Johnson introduces a moving new book by noted journalist John Branston.
“Watch out for snakes!” I warned.
“Kaboom!” yelled the dam-destroyers. They were fearless.
That’s where I’ll keep Katy Branston. In the hollow, in the branch, in the box of faded snapshots under the bed. For somewhere there is a photograph I took of her that dam-building day. She is standing with her father, mother and brother, on the side deck where I’d line them all up each annual visit.
The Branstons, a handsome couple, had such beautiful children that you felt compelled to document their big eyes and pinch-able cheeks. I once tried to sell my publisher on a photograph of Katy’s brother Jack for a book cover. I am talking cute.
In 2014 I received an email from Katy announcing she was leading a bike tour across America to raise money for something called “Bike and Build.” It was a fundraising scheme for affordable housing that involved pedaling nearly 4,000 miles in 75 days.
Once again, I marveled at time’s swift passage.
Little Katy was grown and gone, already graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina’s Elon College and living near her brother in Montana.
For a while that year I was current. Katy blogged about the trip, and I saw a few photographs and read well-written accounts of her adventures. She made it safely with her 32 charges to the Pacific Ocean. Still fearless, I thought.
But this past November when Katy’s father, John, called to tell me she had taken her own life, I refused to believe Katy was age 29; it simply could not be. She was the small girl in overalls.
Now, because life is so damn tough, there’s a book you should read, as close to the bone as anything ever written. Titled What Katy Did, it also is what John did after his daughter died. He wrote, same as he’s done every day of his adult life. Katy had started writing a book and wanted to share it with friends and family when she turned 30, which should have been this month.
John finished it for her.
John and Jenny Branston have been in my life since 1981, when John and I worked in a small bureau for United Press International in Jackson. No, we didn’t deliver packages in a brown truck as many assumed. UPI, not UPS. We were reporters -- young, driven, competitive. He was a Michigan Yankee. I was Deep South. But we were good friends.
We even took jobs with the Memphis newspaper the same day, sharing the ride up from Jackson for our respective interviews. We both eventually left that paper, but print journalism had its hooks in us. The Branstons named their firstborn, Jack, after Jack Burden, the reporter in All the King’s Men. John, an exceptionally fine writer, authored a well-received book, worked for Memphis magazine and, for years, the alternative city paper.
I have seen the Branstons more lately than I have in decades. John had retired, was a bit restless, and he and Jenny visited us in the Pass. They fell in love with the place. It happens.
Before we knew it, they bought a second home on Second Street previously owned by a lady named Gisela who grew up in Nazi Germany and survived Kristallnacht. The Branstons started giving the house the clever decorating touches that Jenny is famous for in Memphis. John rejoiced in doing some physical work for a change.
Then they lost Katy, who never saw the new family home in the Pass. She never saw Cat Island in the distance, or up close, the siren sight that convinced her father to locate here.
I knew for certain that John, living through the worst imaginable thing any parent could face, would write something. He would have to. It is how writers work through everything, joyful or bleak. Especially for reporters, it isn’t real until it appears on the page in short declarative sentences.
“This is a short book that can be read in an hour or two,” John writes, “which is fine because that’s about all I have in the tank and Katy wouldn’t want us moping around. Katy believed in living true….”
It may be short, but it is perhaps the most profoundly heart-breaking story of struggle I’ve ever read. Written by a seasoned journalist, it is full of evocative, but never maudlin, details that make Katy as real to me as she was that day in the branch.
She taught herself to play the ukulele. She worked for Habitat for Humanity in Whitefish, Montana. She faced down a mountain lion. She missed her folks.
Using his own words, Katy’s words, her friends’ countless tributes, John has managed to lasso his sorrow into what may be the single best profile I’ve ever read.
“It is possible to have a life after horror and loss,” John concludes. “Gisela lived 77 years after escaping the Nazis. Walter Anderson was most productive after escaping from the state mental hospital. Pass Christian completely rebuilt itself after deadly hurricanes in 1969 and 2005. I have hopes.”
He is following his daughter’s example. Living true.
Coast Cuisine - June 2017
Breakfast in the Bay
Lisa Monti takes on a tour of some of the most popular breakfast spots in Bay St. Louis. Visiting any one of them is a surefire way to start your day off with a smile - and a satisfied appetite.
110 South Second Street
Bay St. Louis
Mockingbird Cafe, a local favorite since 2006, has outdoor seating and breakfast is served Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Take your pick of eggs your way, omelettes, frittatas, waffles, yogurt, fresh fruit and various sides. Not surprising for a place that started out as a coffee shop, the coffee here is fresh and served all day. Pick from espresso, latte, cappuccino, mocha, iced and specials along with hot and iced tea.
112 North Second Street
Bay St. Louis
The tables on the tiny front porch and in the shady front yard of Buttercup Cafe on Second are favorite spots for breakfast and people watching. Eating at one of the tables inside the cafe also is comfortable and casual for lunch and breakfast. And the fact that breakfast is served all day is another endearing thing that keeps attracting locals and visitors to the bright yellow building just off Main Street. Some favorites are the omelettes, pancakes and the roasted potatoes on the side.
Buttercup Cafe is open daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lulu's on Main
126 Main Street
Bay St. Louis
The breakfast menu at LuLu’s on Main is plentiful, playful, and reliably delicious, from the kitchen of chef Nancy Moynan. The Breakthrough Breakfast Sandwich (cheese, fried egg and ham, bacon or sausage on a toast English muffin) is getting rave reviews. There’s Lu’s Bagel, the top of the line “everything” open-faced bagel with smoked salmon, crème fraiche, red onion, capers and sliced hard-boiled egg. For balance, there’s low-fat yogurt & fruit parfait topped with granola. And for something that combines the best of breakfast and lunch, the fried chicken beignets sprinkled with powered sugar seem totally well worth the calories.
LuLu’s breakfast is available Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
315 Reese Street
Bay St. Louis
Sunrise Cafe is a cozy spot at the corner of U.S. 90 and Dunbar Avenue that’s often packed with locals, so table sharing isn’t unusual. Customers come in for the cooked-to-order breakfast (and lunch) dishes and other favorites including hearty omelettes, breakfast sandwiches and buttermilk pancakes. There are specials, too. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon.
2400 McLaurin Street
Grammy's Donuts and More
308 Hwy 90
Bay St. Louis
More donuts can be found at Grammy’s Donuts & More, where you might find yourself in a long line at the drive through to get your order. It’s that popular. The donuts made here bear no real relation to the manufactured variety except for the shape. The texture, glaze and flavor will have you understanding you've never enjoyed a real donut before. It's hard to believe that such a divine dining experience.
The "More" part of the name means daily specials (a recent weekday featured shrimp & grits, and a pork chop breakfast), full traditional breakfasts, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches on fresh croissants made in-house ($2.99). Try a breakfast and then a donut for dessert. You can skip lunch and not miss it.
Beach to Bayou - June 2017
Solar Boat Bayou Tours
Shoofly correspondent Lisa Monti gets a delightful, insider's view of local waterways on a silent solar-driven vessel, guided by boat builder Mark Isaacs.
The lightweight, Coast Guard–certified craft can be hauled on top of a car or on a trailer and accommodate one or two passengers in cushioned swivel bucket seats. The boats run on German-made electric motors charged either by the sun or by electric outlets and have a top speed of 5 mph, the better to take in the rivers, bayous and bays and far quieter and fume free than gas-powered motors.
Putting in at the end of North Beach Boulevard at the Cedar Point boat launch for a late-afternoon tour of Old Joe’s Bayou, Isaacs slid our two boats into the water and unloaded the gear from his car: two motors, one battery for each plus a spare, life jackets with compass and whistle, two paddles and other accessories. Isaacs takes extreme caution in his preparation and instructions on safely operating the boats.
My own experience running a boat is negligible, so I admit to palpitations right before stepping onto my boat and settling into the chair. My main concern wasn’t for my safety but for my new iPhone in my life jacket pocket.
Isaacs does take care to talk about the proper way to board the boat and keeps a dry bag for your wallets and keys. “We have ways to address those concerns,” he said.
Facing sideways and with right hand gripping the tiller, I rolled the tiller handle forward to slowly pick up speed and followed close behind Isaacs’ boat as we set out into the peaceful bayou on the back side of Hollywood Casino.
It took no time to get the hang of changing the craft’s speed and direction, and with the beautiful marsh scenery and birds of all kinds flying all around, the fact that I was on this boat by myself didn’t distract from the peaceful sightseeing.
“As many times as I’ve done this, I continue to not quite get over the quietness of the experience,” Isaacs said. “This for me is quiet and meditative. It’s the most powerful aspect of the experience.”
As to what you’ll see on one of these tours, Isaacs said that’s up to nature. “Different locations offer different experiences,” he said. The possibilities include a heron with a six-foot wing span taking off close at hand, dolphins feeding in the Jourdan River, and sand crabs scurrying on shore.
Bridge swallows put on a show for us at the old bridge near our launching spot. Isaacs once saw an enormous alligator gar in a full arching breach through the air. “You can’t control what you see but most of the time there’s a nice diversity of birds,” he said.
Tours of Old Joe’s Bayou are about an hour and cost $60 for a boat for two. Catfish Bayou takes about three hours to tour and costs $90. Bayou Bogue Homa on the Mississippi side of the East Pearl River typically takes about two hours for $90 and No Name Bayou in Diamondhead is $80.
Conditions have to be right before any tour to ensure safety. Wind can’t be more than 12 mph and temperature must be over 60. “Typically, wildlife are more active either in the early morning hours or evening so think of this as a sunrise or sunset tour,” he said. Tides also have to be right, so Isaacs recommends calling well in advance to plan a trip.
For more information, call or text (228) 363-2529 or visit the Solar Boat Tours website.
Good Neighbor - June 2017
Carrying on her mother's legacy of building community and love of local libraries, Suzi Lee believes in the ripple effect of goodness.
- story by Tricia Donham McAlvain
Mind, Body, Spirit - June 2017
Sneezing is something we all do, but did you know we actually adopt certain sneezing styles, which reflect our personalities?
- by Christina Richardson, PhD.
I learned that before a sneeze hits I can rub my nose, press on my upper lip, or take a deep breath out my nose. I did some searching and found out some other details about sneezing.
Click here for additional sneeze factoids.
The video below explains the science behind the sneezing mechanism.
Patti Wood is a body language expert who is the official spokesperson for Benadryl and creator of the “Benadryl Sneeze Analysis.” Ms. Wood has really put a lot of work in to the sneeze business. In “Shooting the Breeze about Sneezing” on her website, Ms. Wood identifies sneeze styles.
The NICE, or sensitive, sneezer: These people are warm and friendly and their most important priority is their relationship with others. They tend to have a single “achoo” and turn their heads away when they sneeze.
BE RIGHT sneezers are careful and accurate. They take their time, play by the rules and wish others would do so. They are the most likely to cover their noses when sneezing.
GET IT DONE sneezers are fast, decisive and to the point. They are leaders and get things done. These folks often hold in a sneeze but when they let go it is a loud one.
THE ENTHUSIASTIC sneezer is charismatic, imaginative and open to people. When they sneeze it is usually big or multiple.
In the study of 547 people Ms. Wood found that sneezing matched personalities. Some of the respondents added their own type of sneezers: the big bad wolf, the tease, spray gun, freeze tag, hand as handkerchief, the how high can you count sneeze, the cartoon sneeze, the coughing sneeze, and others. The article goes in to traditions, why we say “bless you,” and some celebrity sneezers.
Sneezing is one of those automatic things we do and don’t do much thinking about. Maybe now you will.