Cruisin’ to Ocean Springs for Leo’s Pizza

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I accepted Bubba’s Cruisin’ The Coast invitation and rode with him and his wife, Nancy, to Leo’s Wood Fired Pizza in downtown Ocean Springs on Wednesday afternoon.

Yeah. Me. The Anti-Crusier. Never thought I would be a backseat rider in a classic car at this time of the year.

Bubba is a Cruisin’ veteran who for years has invited me and every time I have declined. Until this week.

My reasons for going: Pizza was involved. I don’t have to go to work at the paper anymore. I’m retired. This gave me a chance to catch up with Bubba, my former colleague.

So I used the Gary Gilmore line and said, “Let’s do it!”

Bubba and his 1957 Chevrolet Wagon arrived at my house in Gulfport at 2 p.m. and we took Highway 90 through Gulfport and Biloxi on our way to Ocean Springs.

Bubba's 1957 Chevrolet Wagon. JOHN E. BIALAS
Bubba’s 1957 Chevrolet Wagon. JOHN E. BIALAS

The traffic flow was slow. All lanes of the beach road were crowded and onlookers filled the north side of the highway.

Bubba handled it all with ease. He was patient. He didn’t slam his right fist into the steering wheel. He didn’t yell. He didn’t curse. To borrow the words of a former sportswriter colleague, he was cool, calm and collective.

Bubba behind  the wheel of his 1957 Chevrolet Wagon. JOHN E. BIALAS
Bubba behind the wheel of his 1957 Chevrolet Wagon. JOHN E. BIALAS

Bubba told me to be friendly and wave at the people as we Cruised past them. I told Bubba that “I ain’t wavin’ at nobody,” though I did wave at somebody as we passed the people on Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs.

Leo’s is on Government Street, and it was my first trip to the restaurant, though it’s been around for a while.

I got a pepperoni pizza with double cheese and it was very, very good. A picture of the pizza is at the top of this post.

I would go back to Leo’s.

Highway 90 was also our route back home. We talked about the squatters. I was told they pay hundreds of dollars to rent lots made vacant because of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I’m glad the squatters are paying. I always assumed they were freeloaders without rights to take over the land.

Bubba had a keen observation about why the traffic heading west is backed up on 90 in Biloxi. He said it has to do with the traffic lights at 90 and Veterans Avenue. I got the feeling the red lights take forever to turn green. Has anyone thought of using traffic cops at the intersection to reduce congestion?

No matter the traffic, I enjoyed the afternoon with Bubba and Nancy because they are the Cool Cruisers.

I got home at 5 p.m. and thought, “Would I give the green light to a Cruisin’ invite in 2018?”

My answer: “Let’s do it!”

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