TRAVELOGUE - Accent on Tampa Bay Magazine



TRAVELOGUE - Accent on Tampa Bay Magazine
The night before the parade, we attended
the Gulf Coast Carnival Association
Tableau, which introduced the 2009 King
and Queen, and Dukes and Maids of
Mardi Gras (all society folk from the
area). It was quite a spectacle, and the
costumes were amazing.
Apparently no expense is
spared in making them.
The Katrina Memorial in Biloxi.
Bead bestowers on the Gulf Coast Carnival Association float.
ACCENT On Tampa Bay
recent trip to part of the re-energized Gulf Coast (Gulfport, Biloxi
and Ocean Springs) afforded us a great
experience with people places and events.
The necessary refurbishing of the area
means a lot of shiny new places.
Remnants of the hurricane are mostly in
what you don’t see, as in properties wiped
clean, awaiting a new house or building.
Pretty much anywhere you choose to stay
will be a new modernized version of what
used to be there, such as some of the old
casinos and motels. We stayed at the
Treasure Bay Casino Hotel which we
found to be cozy and comfortable with a
convenient location.
Of course the big draw for us was the
Biloxi Mardi Gras. We were thrilled to
have the opportunity to be on the Gulf
Coast Carnival Association Float in the
parade, and took advantage of the power
of our plastic royal crowns to dole out
beads to whomever we chose. The Mardi
Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) Parade attracted
85,000 souls seeking beads and a fun
he Mississippi Gulf
Coast folks are
proud of their commitment to their history
and the arts, and have
worked to rebuild some
important icons of
their area.
Beauvoir was the Jefferson
Davis stan
home of Jefferson
Davis (President of the Confederacy)
Hurricane Katrina damage to Bouvoir.
trouble at some point and had to sell off
some of the property. When he died, his
wife sold the estate to the Sons of
Confederate Veterans. She stipulated that
the property was to be used for
Confederate Vets and their wives, and the
last Confederate wife died in 1957. Ms.
Davis also stipulated that the
estate be kept as a
memorial to her husband.
While we were
having a true southern
Naomi’s Catering at a
little pavilion on the
Beauvoir property, “Mr.
Huston Tegarden” (aka
John Harral) — a close
in front o
friend of Davis’ —
f Bouvoir
dropped by in his best finBouvoir today.
and is a Biloxi landmark. The
ery of the day to tell us more about
1852 French-Creole style home
life during the time of
had a lot of hurricane damage
his friend. While he
(it’s located right on the gulf),
told us some stories, we
but has been refurbished to it’s
munched on cornbread
original glory now, stripping
made from Mrs. Davis’
away many years of paint. The
original recipe. It was
front porch and parts of the
made then (and also for
Some reco
roof were ripped off, and the
on an open hearth. It
red Bouvo
items twis
ir was very different from
ted by th
Presidential Library (a sepae storm.
rate building) was destroyed. Some of
what we’re used to, as it
the original furniture and items were
saved from Katrina and can
Bouvoir Curator Richard Flowers in front of a 400
year old Live Oak that survived the storm.
be seen in several of the
rooms. Curator Richard
Flowers also pointed out to
us a slab of slate from the
roof that the storm sliced
straight into a palm tree
with such force that all you
see now is a little corner
sticking out — barely
noticeable, and the palm
tree is fine. There is also
a 400 year old Umbrella
Live Oak on the estate
that survived the storm.
The property originally
had 608 acres, but
today it’s down to 65.
ey Elise B
Ixolib Dew
Davis ran into money
ter Sr.
k Car
erville Ric
King d’Ib
and their
on Tampa Bay
Calvin Coleman from Naomi’s Catering serves up
some true Southern cooking.
was a flatbread cornbread. We also
enjoyed Naomi’s Calvin Coleman’s cooking of beans, rice, andouille and pig
knuckles sausage, and bread pudding.
Can’t get more Southern than that!
Biloxi may be a smallish city (population 46,000), but it will soon be home to
a world-class museum designed by none
other than architect Frank Gehry (the
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain;
the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los
Angeles, etc.) His distinct designs are
attractions in themselves. The museum
was only a year away from completion
when Katrina barreled ashore destroying
most of it. When it opens (hopefully in
2010) it will be the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum
Lawyer John Harral moonights as Mr. Huston
Tegarden, a friend of Jefferson Davis.
38 ACCENT On Tampa Bay
of Art, and will feature the works of the
famed “Mad Potter of Biloxi”, George
Ohr (b. 1857). Considered the “First Art
Potter in the World”, the eccentric Ohr is
known for his abstract pieces and skill at
working the different mediums, which he
traveled the country to learn at the turn of
the 20th century. Toward the end of his
life he was working in bisque, and was
able to created amazingly
pieces which
still amaze potters today. The
Ohr collection is
currently being
exhibited in the
1926 Swetman
House while it
awaits it’s permanent home. The
rge Ohr’s
new museum will Some of Geo
directly on the walls. Each wall in the cottage depicts a time of day, and the ballroom features the history of Ocean
or some water fun we enjoyed a brisk
sail on the Glenn L. Swetman
Schooner with Capt. Brandon and his
crew. The ship is
one of two city
owned replicas
of turn of the
boats, and sails
from the Biloxi
Schooner Pier
he Gulf
Coast casinos
obviously feature gambling, but
A model of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art designed by Frank Gehry.
also have a gallery featuring African most are also resorts that have comfortAmerican Art, as well as rotating exhibits.
able guest rooms, spas, and great dining.
Another local early 20th century artist We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in
that gained fame and is honored with a Biloxi, and had fabulous ribs and pulled
museum is painter and naturalist, Walter pork, made with a mustard/vinegar base.
Anderson. The Walter Anderson
Art Museum is located in Ocean The boat that Walter Anderson used to row 12 miles to Horn
Springs, a charming artsy com- Island in, hangs in the museum.
munity east of Biloxi. Anderson’s
depictions of local plants, animals and people make him a
highly regarded American master
although, sadly, he didn’t realize
fame during his lifetime. This
wonderful museum is well structured to fit his art and celebrate
his life. Another eclectic artist, he
would row his boat 12 miles to
Horn Island, turn the boat over
and sleep under it. He would stay
on the island for weeks at a time
until food and art supplies ran
out. A lot of his watercolors are done on In the evening we dined in the very invittyping paper, which have miraculously ing Jia’s, a Pan-Asian restaurant in the
survived the years. The museum houses Beau Rivage, Biloxi, known for their wonhis studio cottage and a large ballroom — derful sushi (called a Mississippi Roll).
both filled with his artwork painted They also have the best Lettuce Wraps
Chef Vrazel prepares French, Italian and
If you hanker
Cajun cuisine. Indeed, the “Chicken
for a burger, you
James” was memorable, with Boneless
have to try the
Breast of Chicken stuffed with Wild Rice,
Mushrooms, Bacon, and Shallots, and
Burger Resturant in
served with a lemon sauce. Mmmm!
Biloxi. They use a
lthough Mardi Gras is a lot of fun,
blend and secret
anytime on the Gulf Coast is the
sauce on their burgers
right time to visit. In addition to top-name
which keeps them
interesting, and the
crowds coming. They
are only open for lunainting.
rge wall p
chtime hours, and also
erson’s la
serve “regular” food as A small portion of
tected the house durwell.
ing Katrina. Mary Mahoney’s has been a
A trip to the Gulf Coast is not com- restaurant under the stewardship of the
plete without a visit to Biloxi’s oldest Mahoney family since 1964. The affable
Bob Mahoney (a dead-ringer
Captain Brandon helms the Schooner for James Carville) makes all
Glenn L. Swetman his guests feel welcome, and
he has indeed entertained
some notables during the
Vrazel’s delicious “Chicken James”
years, such as presidents and
Best-selling entertainment at the casinos and convenauthor, John Grisham, has tion center, there are plenty of other fun
taken a shine to
events that take place along
Mahoney’s and has
the coast weekly, as
mentioned it in several
well as popular
of his novels — “The
annual events such as
Runaway Jury” and
the “George Ohr Fall
“The Partner”. But
Festival of Arts”
it’s the deliciously
prepared fresh sea“Cruisin’ the Coast”
food (especially their
Classic Car Festival
house, Mary Mahoney’s Old French famous gumbo) that keeps peo(Oct. 4-11), “Christmas
House, which was built around 1737. ple coming back.
on the Water Parade”
During the years, any reconstruction done
(Dec. 5), and “Mardi
has kept the original structure and charGras” (Feb. 16) to name
Bob Mah
oney, Mar
acter of the house intact. A 2,000 year old
y Mahoney
massive live oak named “Patriarch” has
been standing in the courtyard through
many storms, and is thought to have pro-
The 2,000 year old live oak “Patriarch” in front of
historic Mary Mahoney.
In Gulfport, it’s Vrazel’s Restaurant
that is a big dining destination. We had a
wonderful lunch in this lovely restaurant
located across the street from the Gulf.
on Tampa Bay

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