Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, & Biloxi

Joan and I were surprised to find out that Mardi Gras is celebrated in many towns in the central south Gulf coast. Yesterday we were caught up in a very long, very exuberant parade That wound 5 miles down highway 90 from Pass Christian to Waveland. Many of the floats were tossing out stings of colored beads and stuffed animals. The stores are filled with Mardi Gras masks, beads, T-shirts, and even specialty foods. What fun! We intentionally skipped New Orleans to stay away from the crowds and the price gouging going on there- so we are pleased to get to join in the local reverie.

We have been venturing out in the car to take in the sights up the coast from here to Ocean Springs, a distance of 45 miles or so, which takes in the towns of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, and Biloxi.

Each town has its own distinct feel and flare, and it is fun to drive the backstreets of each and get a sense of the charm and mystique. One thing that is a common thread throughout has been the sight of vacant lots, or ruined homes.

The next town up the beach (east) from where we are staying in Waveland is Bay Saint Louis, which sits on the west side of a large bay by the same name.

The photo is taken from a jetty back towards town and in the center of the photo are the brick buildings of Saint Stanislaus College. Imagine this scene with a storm surge that piled up 27 feet of water above where you see the bay level today.
The back streets of Ocean Springs are typical of many in this area, with large Oak trees that knit branches overhead. The streets are narrow and the architecture is varied with new and old mixed. As you may have guessed, all the new beachfront homes are built well above ground on wooden or concrete pilings.

Ocean Springs sits on the east side of Biloxi bay and there is a beautiful new bridge that connects it to Biloxi on the other side. The earlier bridge built in 1962, was damaged by Hurricane Camille in 1969, but it was devastated by Katrina in 2005. This new structure was completed in 2008, it is both higher and wider than the previous structure. The bridge is 95 feet above the ship channel, making a drawbridge unnecessary.

The bridge on the Ocean Springs side is decorated with a beautiful set of murals made of colorful bits of tile, which captivated our interest.

The murals are the work of 5 artists: Christopher Inglis Stelby, Susie Ranager, Ching Walters, and Elizabeth Veglia who was also the Director of the project.

Ocean Springs prides itself on being and artists mecca.

We started back to the RV park at about 4:30 and by the time we arrived at camp the skies had opened up and there was a steady rain. The forecast is for more rain tomorrow and a break on Wednesday before another front drops more rain on Thursday. No sunset tonight...

Jeff and Joan

No comments:

Post a Comment