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April’s Old Town Artwalk celebrates Spring
By Echo Staff
Apr 11, 2014, 21:56

The Second Saturday Artwalk, one of the coast’s favorite monthly events, heralds the spring season during today’s event in Old Town Bay St. Louis.
Old Town Merchant Association President Jane Alford (Carroll House Bed & Breakfast and Bay-tique), says the warmer weather months signal prime time for visitors to Bay St. Louis.
“This is the time of year when people from across the region begin day-tripping to Bay St. Louis,” says Alford. “Old Town has developed a huge fan base across the South.”
“I’ve heard it called “Mayberry by the Sea,” and the name really fits. There just aren’t many places anywhere else in the country with this kind of history, ambiance and authentic character.”
While historic Old Town traditionally bustles all day during the event, the official Second Saturday Artwalk festivities take off from 4pm – 8pm. With gallery openings, live music, and extended shop hours, the family-oriented event has become a regional favorite over the past two decades. Second Saturday“Hot Spots” are featured each month, highlighting different Old Town merchants.
The April “Hot Spots” are 100 Men Hall, a music venue on the Mississippi Blues Trail (303 Union Street), and Blue Rose Estate Sales (442 Main Street). Both Hot Spots are a few blocks outside the main shopping district, but visitors will find each offers a unique experience.
100 Men Hall has an exciting history as a social anchor for the African-American community and as a hopping blues club on the fabled “Chitlin’ Circuit” in the mid 1900’s. Yet the building would surely have been demolished after Hurricane Katrina if not for the Herculean efforts of owners Kerrie and Jessie Loya.
The couple learned about the decrepit building’s legendary past, understood its significance to the community, and fell in love. Their passion led them to tackle a several year restoration project and reopen the venue to host top music acts.
The building is now a popular stop on the official Mississippi Blues Trail and has seen a big growth in visitors from across the country and Europe. It’s one of the few surviving historic buildings on the Trail - most of the markers are where venues used to stand.
In the past year. the Loyas and their building have caught the eye of several network producers. HGTV's "You Live in What?" featured the Loyas and the episode is scheduled to air in June.
The Hall was also the site for a pop-up restaurant (The Big Sleazy Speakeasy) and the event was filmed for Canadian Travel&Escape show, The Illegal Eater, hosted by Steven Page (Bare Naked Ladies frontman). The show has been picked up for U.S. distribution by Esquire Network and should air in the U.S. later this year.
On June 7, catch the annual 100 Men Hall fund raiser, The Blues Bash. And the Loyas say that soon two major headliners will be appearing there, hinting that “one is a famous movie and television actor who has an awesome band!”
On Second Saturday, “Homemade Jamz” blues band will be performing at the hall, starting at 8pm. Tickets are available at the door for $22. Advance tickets can be purchased online at: www.100mendbahall.org or by calling 228.342.5770.
The name of April’s other Hot Spot is also well-known across the coast. Blue Rose Estate Sales (442 Main Street), is the successor to the famous Blue Rose Antiques, which was a Pass Christian shopping icon for decades.
The new Blue Rose “in the Bay” is managed by Jul Lee Dedeaux, who opened it in partnership with her brother, Herbie Pursley and Phillip La Grange. Beginning in the 1980's, Pursley and La Grange owned Bay Emporium in Bay St. Louis and the Blue Rose in Pass Christian. Jul Lee worked with them for over a decade, falling in love with the antiques business.
Most recently a business analyst, Dedeaux “did some soul searching and decided this is where my heart is.” The team opened the new Blue Rose in 4200 square feet of space. The building is at the traditional gateway to Old Town – the intersection of Old Spanish Trail and Main Street.
The store is filled with higher end furniture and collectibles like chandeliers, china, pottery, crystal and stamps. Dedeaux says that it doesn’t matter to her if an item she sells is antique, vintage or new – as long as it’s high quality.
La Grange lives in south Florida now and purchases entire estates there which contain antiques that have been collected from across the east coast, brought south by retiring home owners. He ships these pieces back to Bay St. Louis to sell.
Dedeaux also conducts estate sales for local homeowners who need to liquidate the entire contents of a home. She’ll organize, research items and price them, then manage the two or three day sale. If quality items don’t find a home during the sale itself, Dedeaux often takes the pieces into the Blue Rose on consignment.
“I keep my standards high,” says Dedeaux. “Nothing comes here unless it’s in good condition.” She says many Blue Rose customers are homeowners returning to the coast now and seeking to furnish a primary or second home. They are looking for the craftsmanship found in antiques or vintage pieces that’s lacking in modern furniture. And since antiques offer exceptional value for quality, Deadeaux points out it’s the perfect way to furnish a house.
“Antique furniture will last forever if you treat it nicely,” she points out.
"I was born and raised in Bay St. Louis," says Dedeaux. "I am truly fulfilling a dream by having a shop here. It makes me very happy."
To contact Dedeaux about an estate sale, go to: BlueRoseEstateSales.com or call 228.342.6015. The showroom is open 11am – 5:30pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday, and on Sunday from noon to 4pm. During Second Saturday, Blue Rose Estate Sales will be offering 30% off on china and crystal. There will also be a sidewalk sale of smaller items. Refreshments will be served. For more, , go to: www.baystlouisoldtown.com


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