Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Southern Coastal Stop

We  headed to New Orleans but knew it wasn't a whole day's drive so we decided to stop in Biloxi for a few hours.  We made arrangements to take a historical tour.  The meeting place was at a marina so we spent a few minutes checking out the boats and enjoying the pelicans perched on the poles.

When the small bus arrived we learned we were the only passengers for the tour.  We sat by the driver and enjoyed a very personal tour.

One of the historical buildings was the birthplace of Barq's soft drinks.  Both their root beer and cream soda were big in Cincinnati.  It was many years before I learned about A&W root beer or that most cream sodas aren't red.

Ted's uncle painted the Barq's signs on the sides of brick buildings in Cincinnati.  I remember one I passed each day going and coming from school on the side of Montgomery's Parkview Market. There was a Sullivan signature in the corner.  Little did I know he would become my uncle by marriage.

I googled painted Barq's signs in Cincinnati.  I found this one from North Fairmount (I lived in South Fairmount) but it doesn't have the Sullivan signature.  It was used on a "ghost art" calendar.  There is a war of sorts between ghost art and painting over it.

But I did find a painting that was covered over with just the ULLIVAN showing but it must have been another ad because it would be in the lower right hand corner to have been a Barq's ad.  It is the correct one though, as distinctive as any logo.  The ghost art proponent had written " Oh Mr. Sullivan, what art of yours have they covered up?"  Just a little family history!

This area was devastated by Hurricane Camille in 1969 and again in 2005 during Katrina but the lighthouse that sits in the middle of the four lane beach highway has survived since 1846.  The 17 mile long beach is gorgeous and not cut off by huge hotels and condos.  

I was astounded by the number of homes destroyed and not rebuilt.  There are sidewalks and driveways to nowhere.  Concrete slabs sit in the middle of grassy areas, once the foundation of a home.  There are still many beautiful southern homes though and our driver was very familiar with their history.  So many large oaks were destroyed and their trunks have been turned into sculptures by Marlin Miller.

There are many different ones throughout the beach area, one more beautiful than the other.  Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.

The last part of our tour was to Ocean Springs, MS, a quaint little town a bit east of Biloxi.  We were given a $5 token so we stopped for a coffee in a lovely French bakery.  It would be a nice place for a couple's getaway with lots of shops, restaurants, water sports and planned events.  

After our tour we headed on toward New Orleans.  We chose to stay in Covington, LA at the Pontchartrain Causeway entrance for easy access to the city.  We wanted the car parked close to us and that just wouldn't happen in the city.

Nearly two weeks have passed since Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast, and while we are still dealing with the tremendous devastation - and will be for quite some time - we are also seeing increased signs of recovery and help in our region. - Jo Bonner

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