The Long, Long Beach
Nov 3, 2013
| We passed by Gulfport, Mississippi on Interstate 10 and arrived in Slidell, Louisanna. We are located about a 30 minute drive to New Orleans. As we prepared to leave Merritt Island, Bob and Cindi gave us a gift of dinner at the world famous "Blow Fly Inn." This restaurant is located on Bernard Bayou in Gulfport, Mississippi. Today we took the scenic highway 90 (aka The Old Spanish Trail)from Slidell to Biloxi.
We have seen the effects of Katrina more than 8 years later. There is a real blight of abandoned properties covered in graffitti or burned out. We saw a lot of this on our way into New Orleans. Once we crossed back into Mississippi, we started seeing empty lots opposite the beach. In fact the beach was readily accessible to all. Sea Oats and Cabbage Palms had been replanted. There were no buildings on the bayside and few on the mainland side. All the damaged homes had either been repaired or removed.
A beautiful new marina sits in Gulfport. We watched as the local yacht club launched a dozen or so sailboats for a little regatta.
In the highway median, the old trees looked like Bonsai. Some of the trees that were destroyed by Katrina were transformed by an artist into amazing sculptures. Story of an artist here.
It was still a bit early for lunch at the BlowFly Inn so we headed to Biloxi. There we found the last home of Jefferson Davis and his presidential library. The home was built in 1848 and named Beauvoir, (French for "beautiful view") because of the vista if afforded of the Mississippi sound. Jefferson Davis purchased the property in 1878 as a retreat to write his memoirs and to raise citrus and grapes.
When Davis died in 1889, his wife and daughter were unable to maintain the estate so they placed the property in the hands of a caretaker and moved to New York City. Despite numerous offers to purchase the property, the Davis family held onto it until 1903. It was sold to the United Sons of the Confederate Veterans with the understanding that it would serve as a home for Confederate veterans, their wives, widows, servants and orphans.
We toured the home and grounds.
After Katrina, the house was closed for three years for restoration. They brought experts in to restore the amazing trompe l'oeil,an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion painting on the ceilings and walls. It looks like fancy wallpaper. The painting technique gives the appearance of curved walls and three dimensions.
We walked through a rose garden that is being replanted to the cemetary. Almost 800 Confederate vets and their families were housed on the grounds. We were entertained by one of the docents with stories about the people buried here. One guy had been with a group of Union soldiers that attempted to steal a Confederate train known as the General. The story was made into a couple of movies. We found the grave of Prentiss Ingraham, a Confederate veteran and soldier of fortune whose dime novels publicized the exploits of Buffalo Bill.
Do you know what is inside an oak tree? I have a picture.
After our stroll through Beauvoir, it was time for lunch and we headed to the Blow Fly Inn. This eatery has been made famous by "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives" on the Food Network. It was determined to be a well established member of "USA Today" - "Top 51 Burger Joints in America" Locals say it is the best seafood dive around. We were not disappointed. Bob had a seafood pasta "Fra Diablo" with more shrimp than pasta. I had shrimp and grits. I love when they fry the grits into a patty instead of that pasty soup you usually get. It was all good and the view was even better. At great stop-over.
That's about it for today. Oh yeah...the long, long beach is all manmade. It runs from Biloxi to Pass Christian. At 26 miles, it was the longest manmade beach in the world. It no longer holds that record. I wonder who does???