Favorite sights on self-guided New Orleans tour

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I drove 90 miles from my hometown of Gulfport, Miss., to New Orleans on Sunday for the Bywater Bakery king cake party, and after attending the celebration, I took a self-guided tour through the Bywater and the Marigny to check out familiar and unfamiliar sights. Pictures of Tilly in Gulfport entertainment

Here’s what captured my interest with a timeline included.

The new Anchor & Arrow, 3528 Dauphine St., Bywater, 3:15 p.m.

Vintage clothing store is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The shop’s grand opening was on Dec. 8.

Euclid Records, Piety St., Bywater, 3:30 p.m.

Euclid Records is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and specializes in new and used vinyl. The selection is tempting and overwhelming.

Crescent Park from the Bywater to the Marigny and back to the Bywater, 4:05 p.m.

I used the Runkeeper app to track my walk, which was nearly two miles. The distance included the streets I walked through after  I left the park.


Crescent Park features a running, walking and biking path with unique urban scenes and Mississippi River views. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is between the railroad tracks and the Mississippi and has entrances at  Bartholomew Street, Piety Street and Mandeville Crossing.


Friendly Bar, 2301 Chartres St., Marigny, 4:30 p.m.

Nola.com says “this joint serves as a neighborhood watering hole for a widely varied crowd” including the LGBT community.


Crescent City Conjure, 2402 Royal St., Marigny, 4:35 p.m.

The shop offers spiritual services, oils, soaps, candles, herbs, incense, tarot readings, curios  and gris-gris. It is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily except Tuesday.

Flora Coffee Shop & Gallery, 2600 Royal St., Bywater, 4:50 p.m.

Open 7 a..m. to midnight every day.

Bywater signage, 4: 55 p.m.

Blessed Francis Seelos Catholic Church, 3053 Dauphine St., Bywater, 5:05 p.m.

Founded in 1866. The church is “always open,” its Facebook page says.


Festival vibe kicks off king cake season in NOLA Bywater

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I took the 90-mile trip from my home in Gulfport, Miss., on Sunday for the opening of the king cake season in New Orleans.

Bywater Bakery was my top destination, one of the many places in the city celebrating not only king cakes but also Kings’ Day, the start of Carnival season, which runs until Fat Tuesday on March 5.

After I parked my SUV a few blocks away, I thought I would just walk into Bywater Bakery, check out the variety of king cakes, perhaps buying one and then walking to some of my other favorite places in the Bywater such as Euclid Records and Crescent Park.

The sunny spring-like day brought out a lot more people than I ever expected to see. A line was out the front door of the bakery and folks were hanging out in the middle of the street waiting to hear the next band play across the way outside the Bywater Art Lofts.

One guy was selling Mardi Gras jewelry next to what looked like a small Carnival float serving  drinks and a juggler entertained kids on the river side of the street.

It was a festival atmosphere, but the bakery line barely moved. It was no second line, so I walked through the side door of the bakery with no fear of getting blocked or knocked down and I found treats I have never seen before: Carnival cinnamon rolls topped with sugary sprinkles in Mardi Gras colors. I got two of them, spotted an opening in the line, paid for the rolls and was out the door.

I’ll wait for another day to get a king cake.

I took a lot of iPhone photos outside and inside the bakery.  One is at the top of this post and seven more of mine are down here.

In the street at the corner of Dauphine and Independence, people wait for the next band to play outside the Bywater Art Lofts. 

The scene on the lake side of the bakery. In the background is what the shop called a king cake driveup and pickup.

It would have been more entertaining to see that guy juggle three King Cake Baby bobbleheads.

One of the King Cake Baby bobbleheads given to the first 8,000 fans before a Pelicans game in 2017.

The Carnival cinnamon rolls weren’t blurry. This picture just makes them look that way.

King cakes were also sold by the slice. The one at bottom left was filled with crawfish.

That’s king cake bread pudding. Is there a king cake bread pudding baby?

Because of that line inside the bakery, I bypassed king cakes for the rolls and made an easy exit through the side door.

My cousin is the Kristin Cavallari autograph recognizer

Last week, I published a post headlined “Please tell me who signed their book this way” and I said the person with the correct answer would receive a gift card.

I gave just two clues, both of them vague, and expected no one to identify the signer.

I never knew Dave Wilder of Miami, my cousin, was the Kristin Cavallari autograph recognizer until he emailed me on Christmas Day. He saw a snipped image of the signature atop the post and said it was Cavallari’s.

Dang, he got it right, and as far as I know, he was the only person to send an answer to the voluminous Pictures of Tilly email account.

” I thought it was her but couldn’t remember her name except that it started with K,” Dave said. “Did a google search and it said she had a book coming out in 2019 so that threw me off. Overall, it was a lucky guess.”

Barnes & Noble carries signed copies of Cavallari’s cookbook, “True Roots: A Mindful Kitchen with More Than 100 Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar,” published in 2018, and I saw them during one of my nightly visits to the Crossroads B&N in Gulfport.

I looked at the signature and it inspired me to come up with a contest for the faithful readers of this blog.

This is what I wrote in the contest post:

“I’ll give you just a couple clues for now.

“The signature appears in a cookbook that was published in April.

“The author is a woman.

“I’ve got one clue I’m holding back and may add later. If I tell you now, you will be able to identify the signer.”

Turns out I didn’t need to say that Cavallari is the reality TV personality married to retired NFL quarterback Jay Cutler.

Young Mr. Wilder knew all along, and for that, I was going to send him a $25 Amazon gift card, but he said I didn’t have to do that and instead  just get something for my two grandchildren.

Thank you, Dave. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.




Please tell me who signed their book this way

I enjoy browsing through signed books just to see if the autograph is good or bad, creative or lazy, one that is a keeper or not.

Let’s have a little fun with this post. Please tell who wrote the signature that appears in the picture at the top of this page. Maybe you will win something if you get it right or make up something hilarious. That something could be a $25 Amazon gift card, which I would present since I’m the one and only sole judge of this contest.

The signature has flair, but it’s not worth the price of the book. The person only provided initials. A full name would have made it attractive, though the book is not the kind I would buy.

I’ll give you just a couple clues for now.

The signature appears in a cookbook that was published in April.

The author is a woman.

I’ve got one clue I’m holding back and may add later. If I tell you now, you will be able to identify the signer.

From New Jersey, a friend sends his holiday jeer

Crescenzo Capece, music seller, songwriter and perhaps my one and only best New Jersey friend, sent me a lyrical text message Sunday that was entertaining because of its anti-merry and anti-mirth crankiness.

Now it’s a blog post, thanks to his approval and my laziness this week to come up with original contest of my own.

By CRESCENZO CAPECE
Special to The Broadmoor Bureau

I know u love holidays, so:
ChrisMess Song
(Curmudgeon’s Lament)

Maybe somewhere,
Some families taking
A wonderland sleigh ride or two
I’m sitting here  in
My lounger & undies
While I chug on my
15th brew

A season of cheer
That’s what some call it
But my toe’s a hammer, not mistle
I ain’t got a mantle
With festive cards
On it
And Misery is my epistle

No Darlene’s love to
Sing me no carols
Those tunes they get
On my nerves
No special cookies
Baking in my oven
And the mall Santas
All look like fakes

So don’t you be telling
Me to be merry
Or building no snowman outside
All I needs my TV
And a frozen dinner
And i’m always hitting
My stride

Trees are for forests
They don’t need no
Lights
Reindeers are just good for
Lyme disease and bites

So leave me alone
And I’ll be just fine
While you all claim
You’ll have a jolly
Old time

Don’t get me started
About all that shopping
I’d sooner be down
in Bama sharecropping

But you have your holiday
And stress about bills
While “Bonanza” reruns
Will give me my thrills

And when the new year comes
I’ll still be the same
Another year over
And straight down
The drain!

What I wanted to say to rude Gulfport cop on Trump route

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I was on my way home Monday night around 6 when I saw police barricades on the east and west sides of rundown commercial property where Hewes Avenue meets Railroad Street in Gulfport, two blocks north of Highway 90 and the beach.

Hewes was part of the route for the Donald Trump motorcade from the airport to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, where the president spoke in support of Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in advance of her runoff Tuesday against Mike Espy.

One police car was parked behind each set of barricades and I thought it would be interesting to get a picture of the barricades and the police car in the lot of a long-shuttered Railroad Street convenience store.

It’s not unusual to see police activity in our neighborhood of Broadmoor, which is just west of Hewes and Railroad, but the scene of barricades for a presidential motorcade near our house was a first for me.

I drove about 20 yards past the barricades, parked my car in a dirt-filled side of the avenue, got out of the car, walked to the barricades and took my picture. The photo is at the top of this fine piece of quality journalism.

I got back in my car and drove a couple blocks north to the corner of Hewes and 25th Street, just two minutes from our house. As I took a left turn, a police officer driving south on Hewes stopped me.

WTH!!!!!!

We were right in front of a historic church, St. James Baptist.

He walked up to my car and motioned for me to roll down my window, but the man was impatient, so he opened my car door and told me, “GO!”

I told this rude rube I was going home.

“GO!” he said again. “START YOUR ENGINE! THE PRESIDENT IS COMING!”

I asked him why he stopped me.

“BECAUSE YOU STOPPED DOWN THE STREET!” he said.

A presidential road block would have been the best barricade.

Seems like one of his fellow officers saw me taking the picture and alerted him.

Among the things I wanted to say to the officer who stopped me:

If the president is coming now, it seems kind of early because he’s not scheduled to speak until 8 p.m. and it’ll take the motorcade only 10 minutes or so to get to the Coliseum.  Maybe the president has a 6:30 dinner reservation at Mary Mahoney’s.

I’m sure he’s your president. He’s not my president. I would never vote for him.

If you arrest me, do you think the next president would pardon me assuming Trump isn’t re-elected?

Can I take a picture of you for my blog?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadmoor store offers alternative to malt liquor

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

The Hop In convenience store, also known .as the Chevron Mart, is offering an alternative to the malt liquor beer it sells to many the many customers who live in or near the Broadmoor neighborhood in Gulfport.

The new drink is branded as the Limitless Liquid Shot, a blend of herbs, vitamins and nootropics, the natural supplements for brain boosting.

A 2-ouncer is $7.99, quite expensive compared to the cost of a bottle of malt liquor, but the Limitless makers say their concoction won’t give you the jitters or anxiety associated with other drinks, such as the MLB.

Malt liquor is the preferred drink of the middle-aged bros who ride bikes up Kelly Avenue or loiter in empty lots. The top brands nationwide include Steel Reserve, Hurricane, Magnum and Panther, and they have a higher alcohol content by volume compared to other beers.

You can get malt liquor in 40-ounce bottles, or forties as the experts say, and the bottles are sold chilled and put in brown paper bags for patrons to have a refreshing afternoon at their favorite curbside spots.

The down side, according to a study, is that malt liquor drinkers are more likely to be homeless, unemployed, receive public assistance and tend to drink more alcohol more often than other types of drinkers.

The “more alcohol more often” part is because malt liquor is cheap. For example, a 12-pack of 12-ounce Steel Reserve cans is $10.99 and a 40-ounce bottle is $2.79.

Broadmoor needs to help its malt liquor addicts. The next time an MLB drinker on Kelly Avenue asks if you have a dollar, be generous and give the dollar but tell him to save it and other dollars he receives so he can have enough money to go the Limitless Liquid Shot route.

The Limitless website says that “our mood enhancement supplements are designed to slow the overactive parts of the brain to provide a wave of clarity, peace and unparalleled focus.

“Limitless promotes mood enhancement and motivation by slowing the impulses in our brain that don’t pertain to what we’re trying to accomplish, AKA the chit-chatter of the mind.”

The fine folks at Hop In will brown-bag Liquid Shot, just like they do with malt liquor, but the nootropics will prevent buyers from stumblin’, mumblin’ and bumblin’ their way to the street corner.

 

 

 

I’ve found something to like about Cruisin’ The Coast. Really!

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

My friend and former newspaper colleague Bubba messaged me on Sept. 21.

“You up for a cruise?”

That’s a cruise as in Cruisin’ The Coast, and although I have the Cruisin’ hater rep because I mock the classic car event every chance I get,  I gladly accepted his invite.

I hadn’t seen Bubba since last fall’s Cruisin’ The Coast, when I rode with him and his wife Nancy in their 1957 Chevrolet Wagon for my Cruisin’ initiation.

So eight days ago, Bubba, Nancy and their friend Tammy swung by my house in Gulfport and we hit the beach road known as Highway 90 for a short hot-afternoon drive to the Armed Forces Retirement Home just west of Biloxi, a home that is in an area where I grew up back in the 1960s.

The home is on land that used to be the Keesler Air Force Base Annex, and it was there in 1966 that I worked as a 14-year-old summer camp counselor for the Keesler Recreation Department and learned that Bob Dylan had gone into hiding after he was badly injured in a motorcycle accident in upstate New York.

I might have to bring up that chapter in Dylan’s life as a trivia question for Bubba. We occasionally message each other about rock-music trivia, and he stumps me more often that I stump him. He knows his stuff.

He really knows cars and I know nothing about cars. I couldn’t tell you if my SUV has a carburetor or a carbohydrate.

All the Cruisers visiting the AFRH were car experts, I assume, and they put on quite a show for the military veterans who stood or sat outside the front of the home with friends and family. They waved at the Cruisers and thanked them, the Cruisers waved back and thanked them and it was a heartwarming experience. It was funny, too. There was a guy sitting in the back of a convertible and he was wearing a Tricky Dick Nixon mask and flashing victory signs.

All the camaraderie may stop me from poking fun at Cruisin’ The Coast. Really!

I’ve found something I like about it: Accepting Bubba’s invites.

 

 

 

This picture represents my biggest Cruisin’ dislike

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

See that photo at the top of this post? It represents what I despise most about Cruisin’ The Coast, the annual White Fall Break in which locals and out-of-towners clog Highway 90 and our main streets to show off their classic cars and attract the oohs and aahs of gawkers young and old.

The picture was taken on Monday at Highway 90 and Kelly Avenue in Gulfport, less than a mile from our house, and it shows vacationing squatters turning a post-Hurricane Katrina empty lot into their own beachfront parking lot for one week. I would think this is trespassing. I know this would be trespassing during Black Spring Break and the Sheriff’s Department wouldn’t have enough space to lock up offenders.

The picture is just a partial view of the site, which people took over under the cover of night on Sunday.

Here are two photos of the rest of the site because I’m an unprofessional shooter with no idea how to get the best wide angle on my iPhone.

Other makeshift parking lots on empty Katrina lots in both Gulfport and Biloxi are much bigger because they are in areas with the most traffic. Think of places around  Cowan Road or DeBuys or Edgewater Mall or the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. I’m surprised the Cruisin’ yahoos aren’t homesteading at Grass Lawn and Beauvoir. Maybe that’s in the future.

My biggest fear is Cruisers will one day squat right in the middle of our neighborhood of Broadmoor, a scenario that might boost such businesses as Your Place, Hop In and Chaibi but make things miserable for those of us who enjoy living here.

I suffer at home on my laptop on a Friday afternoon thinking about all this stuff, but Cruisin’ is almost over until next year and that leads me to what I say every fall at this time.

What’s my favorite Cruisin’ day? It’s the day after the final day. I look forward to Monday.

 

 

Wonder if Chaibi will sell lottery tickets

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

Mississippi is getting a lottery and that makes me wonder if Chaibi will sell tickets after scratch-off games are approved, which could take about two years.

Chaibi is one of our back-to-back Broadmoor neighborhood convenience stores on the Kelly Avenue corridor in Gulfport, the other being Hop In, also known as the Chevron Mart.

I’m hoping for the day I can walk to Chaibi to buy scratch-offs while also getting a variety of cheap brown-bag beer, reasonably priced packs of incense and perhaps a nice ballcap.

Chaibi, formerly the Broadmoor Laundry, is looking its best after getting a new window. This is how things looked outside the shop Aug. 16 before the window was installed.

I have no idea what the heck happened to the old window. I presume no shooting or no looting, but you never know.

Maybe Skip and T.J. know because they are Chaibi regulars.

I’m just glad things are back to normal at one of my favorite places.

I hope Hop In, which faces the railroad tracks, doesn’t become a lottery-ticket seller.  I’m not a fan of the name, and though Chaibi has had problems with the Blue Lights, it seems at times that Hop In is a nightly magnet for the Blue Lights.