Mobile Bay Magazine - August 2021

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THE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR MOBILE AND BALDWIN COUNTIES

August 2021

WONDER

KIDS

DREAM

BIG TWELVE LOCAL TEENS WHO INSPIRE WITH THEIR ATTITUDES, ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERSONAL GOALS

THE PERFECT YEAST ROLL STAY-AT-HOME DADS SHARE THEIR WISDOM THE WINTERS’ 1868 COTTAGE

MADDUX BRUNS First-Round Draft Pick

THE ANNUAL FAMILY ISSUE


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CONTENTS | VOLUME XXXVII / ISSUE 8

AUGUST 2021 46

Wonder Kids Meet the local students making a name for themselves in academics, athletics and the arts

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AUDREY WINTER AND BROTHER SAM JR. ENJOY THE PORCH OF THEIR FAMILY’S MIDTOWN HOME. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

Gulf Coast Cottage Living A new generation falls in love with the Dorgan-Winter home on Lafayette Street

 Visit us on Instagram @mobilebaymagazine to get a peek behind the scenes of the Wonder Kids photo shoots.

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CONTENTS | VOLUME XXXVII / ISSUE 8

AUGUST 2021 38

42

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ON OUR COVER Mobile’s Maddux Bruns, a 2021 graduate of UMSWright, throws a pitch before the MLB Draft. PHOTO BY MATTHEW COUGHLIN

HOMEGROWN TEA LEAVES IN THE HEART OF MOBILE UNBEATABLE YEAST ROLLS WITH CENTENARIAN MARIE POIROUX WILSON WHITE PULLED PORK GOUDA MELT AT PIRATES PIT BBQ / PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

9 EDITOR’S NOTE 10 REACTION 12 ODDS & ENDS 15 THE DISH 16 CIVIL WAR Soak up this aerial view of historic Fort Gaines 18 AWARENESS What happens to all of those boats displaced after a hurricane? 20 TASTINGS Drive up to Fairhope’s newest barbecue joint, Pirates Pit

22 BAY TABLES Four local full-time dads share their go-to recipes for a happy, healthy brood

42 SPOTLIGHT Pinkies up for a hidden tea garden in Mobile

30 GOOD STUFF Let these four classic children’s books be your muse for local gift giving

84 AUGUST CALENDAR 88 ARCHIVES Crack open an 1892 Spring Hill College exam book

38 TRADITIONS A century of memories and yeast rolls with Marie Poiroux Wilson White

90 FICTION J. William Lewis talks his debut novel, “The Essence of Nathan Biddle”

94 LITERATURE Writer Audrey McDonald Atkins on the only way to eat pickled okra 96 ASK MCGEHEE What’s the history of the lost waterfront resort known as Frascati? 98 BACK STORY Pick apart a 1920s-era photograph of a gang of local youths outside a corner grocery store

 Hurricane Sally damaged or destroyed roughly 800 boats in Orange Beach. On page 18, read about the tedious cleanup process — and the boats that never got claimed.

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Mobile Bay VOLUME XXXVII

No8

AUG 2021

PUBLISHER T. J. Potts Stephen Potts Judy Culbreth EXECUTIVE EDITOR Maggie Lacey MANAGING EDITOR/WEB Abby Parrott EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Amanda Hartin ART DIRECTOR Laurie Kilpatrick EDITORIAL INTERN Anna Thornton

ASSISTANT PUBLISHER

EDITORIAL CONSULTANT

ADVERTISING S R. ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Joseph A. Hyland Jennifer Ray ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Joe Tetro SALES AND MARKETING Carolina Groom ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

ADMINISTRATION CIRCULATION Anita Miller ACCOUNTING Keith Crabtree

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Audrey McDonald Atkins, Emmett Burnett, Gentry Lankewicz Holbert, Tom McGehee, Breck Pappas, Christy Reid CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS

Summer Ennis Ansley, Matthew Coughlin, Elizabeth Gelineau, Meggan Haller, Todd Sims ADVERTISING AND EDITORIAL OFFICES

3729 Cottage Hill Road, Suite H Mobile, AL 36609-6500 251-473-6269 Subscription inquiries and all remittances should be sent to: Mobile Bay P.O. Box 43 Congers, NY 10920-9922 1-833-454-5060 MOVING? Please note: U.S. Postal Service will not forward magazines mailed through their bulk mail unit. Please send old label along with your new address four to six weeks prior to moving. Mobile Bay is published 12 times per year for the Gulf Coast area. All contents © 2021 by PMT Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents without written permission is prohibited. Comments written in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the ownership or the management of Mobile Bay. This magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photography or artwork. All submissions will be edited for length, clarity and style. PUBLISHED BY PMT PUBLISHING INC .

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EXTRAS | EDITOR’S NOTE

Page Turner

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love a good bedtime story. Sometimes when I’m reading to my kids at night, I realize I’m enjoying the stories even more than they are. Of course, that may have something to do with my habit of avoiding certain titles I don’t particularly enjoy, like anything with “princess fairy Barbie” in the name — those far-from-classics that somehow wind up on the highest shelf of our playroom, out of reach of little hands. Bring me Paddington, Ferdinand or Pippi Longstocking, however, and I am game every time. Right now, I am rediscovering all the chapter books I loved as a child through reading them with my daughter. So far, we have travelled the Midwest with “Little House on the Prairie,” laughed with barnyard animals in “Charlotte’s Web” and found fantastical adventures through the “The Chronicles of Narnia.” It’s magical to watch a young person realize the adventures waiting in the dusty pages of a good book. I know plenty more titles will soon be on our summer reading list and will require book reports, but for now we are enjoying slipping into the world of “The Boxcar Children” just for the pure fun of it. This annual Family Issue not only revisits some of our favorite children’s classics, along with fun gifts and attire that feel ripped from their pages, we also revisit a recurring favorite, Wonder Kids. This feature story of amazingly accomplished young teens was once an occasional read in our pages but now has become an annual event. There are just too many exceptional teens on the Alabama Gulf Coast to make you wait a year or more to read all about them. Baseball players, entrepreneurs and dancers, oh my! Yes, Dorothy, we even have the Tin Man. And these kids don’t need any great wizard behind the curtain to build up their abilities or leave us in awe. We know you will be amazed by the great and powerful Wonder Kids, just like we are. As many of us gear up to go back to school, I can’t help but reflect on the emotions we felt at this time last year, with kids studying hard while distance learning or heading boldly into the classroom with their new masks. I am so thankful for the hope of a normal year and the chance to read more good books together. Time to sharpen your pencils, kids. The bell’s about to ring.

Maggie Lacey

READ THE TEA LEAVES AS A TEA DRINKER, I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAD NO IDEA WHAT TEA LEAVES LOOK LIKE, HOW THEY GROW OR THAT THEY THRIVE RIGHT HERE IN SOUTH ALABAMA! PAGE 42

LOVE THIS ISSUE PLEASE LOOK AFTER THIS BEAR I LOVE THAT MY SON NOW SLEEPS WITH MY SHABBY OLD PADDINGTON BEAR, CIRCA 1982. MY BOOK, TOO, IS YELLOW-EDGED AND SIMPLY SWEET.

HOT AND BUTTERED LEARN HOW TO MAKE MOBILE’S BEST YEAST ROLLS FROM THE WOMAN HERSELF. YOU’LL WANT TO TEAR OUT THIS RECIPE. PAGE 38

SAIL AWAY HOW PRECIOUS IS THIS CLASSIC SAILOR SUIT WE FOUND AT ATTRACTIONS IN DOWNTOWN MOBILE? WHO KNEW YOU COULD ENJOY A NIGHT OUT AND SHOP FOR CLASSIC KIDSWEAR AT THE SAME TIME.

TICKLED AND PICKLED PICKLED OKRA IS A SOUTHERN STAPLE, AND WRITER AUDREY ATKINS GAVE US A BIG LAUGH IMAGINING A NORTHERNER’S FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH A JAR OF IT. PAGE 94 PORT-SIDE EVERY LITTLE KID WOULD HAVE FUN IMAGINING THE HIGHSEAS ADVENTURES AND PERILOUS BATTLES FOUGHT IN FRONT OF DAUPHIN ISLAND’S FORT GAINES. THIS TOY CANNON IS READY TO REPORT FOR DUTY, CAPTAIN. PAGE 16

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

maggie@pmtpublishing.com

 Ever thought you could be a candidate for MB’s annual 40 Under 40 Awards, but you’re waiting for your boss or friend to recommend you? Self-nominate! Submissions are being accepted on our website through September 15. mobilebaymag.com/40-under-40

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EXTRAS | REACTION

Tell us how you really feel ... THEY DUG IT (AND SO DID YOU)

NOT JUST HORSIN’ AROUND

SEE YOU LATER, ALLIGATOR

On June’s feature, “If You Dig It, They Will Ski,” about the father-son duo who carved out a water ski lake in Creola

On MB’s web story, “Unbridling Potential at Buckaroo Barn,” about the hippotherapy available in Bay Minette

On June’s feature, “Noble Creatures,” an interview with Alligator Alley owner and gator rescuer Wes Moore

My son, Chase Johnson, is named after this lake. Keith and J.R. taught me how to jump. I held the Alabama record at 78 feet for a while in the ’90s.

The tears were flowing reading this article. Lawson has come such a long way, and we are beyond grateful for Buckaroo Barn.

Beautifully written. He told his story with genuine affection for his gators.

- Alexis Troutman Johnson

- Amanda Bauer Haddock

- Trixie Daniel I hope Alligator Alley goes on forever. Keep up the good work, Wes.

Awesome! It was almost like going back in time and looking into the future.

Wonderful article about the amazing patients, staff and parents of Buckaroo Barn. Thank you, Mobile Bay Magazine.

- Lawrence Geppetto Carterpen

- Alison Lauer Hill

I loved visiting this place during my time in Alabama. I took all of my German visitors there.

IF IT’S LOVE, BET IT ALL

- Marion Van Bracht

I had no idea it existed. - Wayne Dykes

- Bob Luce

On May’s End Piece, a photo from the 1950s of once-quiet Gulf Shores

OH, SO GOOD On June’s Tastings of OSO at Bear Point Amazing owner, food and staff. If you are in Orange Beach, go see them. - John M. McInnis III I live next door and eat there about three times a week. - Willy Grey Great food, music, atmosphere and view. OSO has it all.

I enjoyed your article. I met my husband, Bob Ross, in March 1954 at the Little Casino in Gulf Shores. He was the lifeguard on the beach — we have been married for 66 years! The casino was at the very end of 59 and was owned and managed by Floddie and James Goleman. This was a popular place, and many, many teenagers enjoyed time there eating hamburgers and jitterbugging the night away. Wonderful memories of the Gulf. - Paula McCool Ross

HI, MOM! On June’s End Piece, a photo of beauty queens and surfers on Dauphin Island in the 1950s, shown below My beautiful mother, Sondra Boykin Kahalley, is featured in this vintage photo, second from the left. I recognize my two daughters in her face. When I asked Mom about the picture, she said, “Those were the days!” - Diana Kahalley Nichols

Great tuna poke at a fun place. - Cindy Lacey The music is some of the best the area has to offer. Food is good, people are great! - Dianne Trudeau

GO FIG-URE On June’s Bite-Sized article about figs and ways in which they can be enjoyed Slice them in half. Stuff with a dab of Gorgonzola, wrap with bacon and grill. Conecuh is good with figs as well. - Tracy Hartley

 Want to share your thoughts and reactions to this issue? Email maggie@pmtpublishing.com. 10 mobilebaymag.com | august 2021

PHOTO COURTESY MOBILE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DAUPHIN ISLAND COLLECTION, THE DOY LEALE MCCALL RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA

- Ashley Roberts


EXTRAS | ON THE WEB

More Ways to Connect We’re not just in print. Find us online, on social media and in your inbox. text by ABBY PARROTT

mobilebaymag.com

7 QUICK + EASY DINNERS With the kids heading back to school, busy weeknights call for easy dinners with minimal cleanup. We’re sharing some of our favorite one-pan and one-pot recipes, including Sheet Pan Fajitas, BBQ Salmon, Roasted Veggies with Turkey Sausage and Shrimp, Asparagus Tarte, Santa Fe Soup, Chicken Pesto Pizza and more.

QUIZ: MOBILE TRIVIA Put your knowledge of Mobile to the ultimate test with this quiz of little-known facts about the Port City. JUST ENGAGED? Share your proposal story with us, and we’ll feature your engagement announcement online and on social media.

40 UNDER 40 We are now accepting nominations for the 2021 class of 40 Under 40! This program recognizes the top young leaders making a difference in our community. Do you know someone worthy of this honor? Go online today to submit a nomination. The deadline for submissions is September 15.

COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH Bright and bubbly with the cool scent of cucumber, this gin and tonic is a refreshing way to beat the summer heat. Find this recipe and more online. SHEET PAN VEGGIES & SHRIMP / PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU AUDRA HARPER, CLASS OF 2020 / PHOTO BY MATTHEW COUGHLIN CUCUMBER GIN AND TONIC / PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

GO BEHIND THE SCENES

JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST

How did we get the incredible shots of the impressive Wonder Kids featured on page 46? Follow us on Instagram for behind-the-scenes videos from this year’s shoot with photographer Matthew Coughlin.

Finally, an email you’ll actually love to read. Get the latest in food, art, homes, local history and events delivered right to your inbox. You’ll also be the first to know about new contests and exclusive offers. Sign up online today!

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EXTRAS | ODDS & ENDS

Stay Sharp! text by MB EDITORIAL STAFF

PENCILS UP Pencil makers manufacture No. 1, 2, 2.5, 3 and 4 pencils. The higher the number, the harder the graphite core and lighter the markings. No. 2 pencils are dark enough to be read by a Scantron machine, yet light enough to be erased if necessary.

17% OF STAY-AT-HOME PARENTS ARE DADS, ACCORDING TO THE PEW RESEARCH CENTER IN 2016. IN 1989, THAT NUMBER WAS 10 PERCENT.

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“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance — waiting for the bathroom.” – Bob Hope

2,000,000th HOME RUN IN MLB HISTORY WAS HIT THIS SUMMER BY FAITH ACADEMY GRADUATE JOSH DONALDSON OF THE MINNESOTA TWINS.

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Years ago this month that the Earl of Sandwich requested meat between two pieces of bread as a quick snack while gambling, and lunch boxes haven’t been the same since. The Earl of Hot Pocket could not be reached for comment.

[NOTABLE OPENING]

SOUL CAFFEINE Daphne’s popular coffee shop, Soul Caffeine, has hopped the Bay, opening a new location in Midtown at 1714 Dauphin Street.

$1.2 MILLION The cost, per kilogram, of Da-Hong Pao Tea — the most expensive in the world. Declared a national treasure by the Chinese government, the tea and its highly guarded secret recipe date back to the Ming Dynasty.

The number of torpedoes (what we think of as mines today) that the Confederates deployed in Mobile Bay and that Admiral Farragut “damned” 157 years ago this month. Turn to page 16 to get a glimpse of Fort Gaines like you’ve never seen (unless, of course, you are a seagull).

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FOOD | THE DISH

Bite of the Bay MB’s contributing food fanatics share their go-to local dishes. SMOKED MEAT AND BANANA PUDDING AT COTTON STATE BBQ “All of the meats at Cotton State are smoked to perfection over pecan and charcoal — think thinly sliced brisket, thinly sliced pork and chicken breast. Put your choice of meat in a sandwich, over nachos or even on a baked tater, and don’t forget about the daily homemade banana pudding made by the owner’s mother.”

RYAN REID, Insurance Agent & Owner, Coastal Insurance Group LLC

COTTON STATE BBQ • 101 N CONCEPTION ST. 545-4682 • FACEBOOK: COTTON STATE BBQ

TUNA POKE BOWL AT SQUID INK

AL WIGGINS, Electrical / Instrumentation Engineer, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors

CHICKEN AND RIBS AT PIRATES PIT BBQ “Like most people, I truly enjoy barbecue, especially in the summer. However, I don’t always feel like grilling. When that happens, I place a to-go order at Pirates Pit BBQ in Fairhope. My order is usually the smoked chicken breast and ribs with a side of baked beans and macaroni. The chicken breast and ribs are well-seasoned, juicy and delicious. The macaroni is unique (to me) and tasty!” PIRATES PIT BBQ • 18974 SECTION ST., FAIRHOPE 229-6229 • FACEBOOK.COM/PIRATESPITBBQ

STACEY DRISKELL, Associate Director, Mobile Opera

EGGPLANT EMILIA AT VIA EMILIA “The eggplant Emilia dish at Via Emilia is always listed at the top of their chalkboard menu and for good reason! Eggplant Parmesan is my go-to dish at an Italian restaurant, and Via Emilia serves it best. They have found the key to keeping the eggplant from getting soggy underneath the layers of cheese and tomato cream sauce, making the last bite just as delicious as the first. Shrimp tossed in that tomato cream sauce? Yes, please!”

WHITNEY BOYD, Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager, The First, A National Banking Association

TUNA POKE BOWL AT SQUID INK “After a long day of work, a friend of mine mentioned traveling across the Bay to try out Squid Ink. Since I didn’t know what to expect, my friend read off the menu to me as we were driving. Once she mentioned the tuna poke bowl, I was sold. The flavors of the diced tuna, Sriracha dressing, fresh radish, red onion and spicy mayo with rice had me hooked. You simply cannot go wrong with this bowl.”

VIA EMILIA • 5901 OLD SHELL ROAD • 342-3677

SQUID INK ECLECTIC EATS AND DRINKS • 102

VIAEMILIAMOBILE.COM

DAUPHIN ST. • 405-0031 • SQUIDINKEATS.COM

 What dishes made you drool and left you hungry for more? Share them on our Facebook page! august 2021 | mobilebaymag.com 15


HISTORY | CIVIL WAR

Above Fort Gaines An aerial shot of the early 19th-century fort on Dauphin Island is rich with detail, color and history.

text by BRECK PAPPAS and ANNA THORNTON photo by TODD SIMS — MODERN OBSCUR A

N

amed for Edmund Pendleton Gaines, a brigadier general in the War of 1812 and the Indian Wars, Fort Gaines presides over the eastern end of Dauphin Island, mere feet from the lapping waters that mark the mouth of Mobile Bay. The U.S. Army began constructing the fort in the early 1820s, on top of pre-existing French fortifications. After secession, the Alabama militia took over the fort and garrisoned it with several hundred troops. Following the fall of New Orleans in 1862, Mobile, a port city, became vitally important to the Confederacy. Fort Gaines and its architectural twin Fort Morgan, three miles away across Mobile Bay, would be instrumental in defending the city from Union attack. Though designed to survive a six-month siege, Fort Gaines fell on August 8, 1864, just days into the Battle of Mobile Bay. One Union engineering officer concluded, “It was utterly weak and inefficient against our attack.” Due to erosion, Fort Gaines was designated one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in an annual ranking by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2011. MB

“We get beef from Mobile every other day, but the weather is so hot that it will not keep.” – Charles Malone Howard, a volunteer stationed at Fort Gaines, 1862

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1. BAKERY AND BLACKSMITH FORGE This structure housed a bakery with two ovens (one that was 16 feet long) and a blacksmith shop, run by a civilian contractor. In this role, he was responsible for manufacturing and repairing any hardware at the fort.

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2. FRONT ENTRANCE The fort’s only entrance, or sally port, is noteworthy for its intricate brickwork. Original building plans included a drawbridge, but it was never constructed.

3. FARRAGUT’S ANCHOR At the fort’s center is this artifact from the USS Hartford, the sloop-ofwar steamer from which Farragut uttered his famous phrase, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

4. QUARTERMASTER’S OFFICE This structure housed soldier supplies, such as uniforms. As it stood higher than the fort’s wall, this building suffered damage during the Battle of Mobile Bay.

5. DISAPPEARING GUN MOUNT Constructed around 1900, this gun mount allowed cannons to be lowered, and thereby concealed, during loading.


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6. EAST BASTION From this turret, one can survey the entire mouth of Mobile Bay. Fort Morgan is visible across the Bay.

7. OFFICER’S QUARTERS Originally three stories tall, this structure’s upper floors were destroyed during the battle.

8. GUN MOUNTS Well-preserved granite track supports illustrate how guns were revolved to adjust their field of fire.

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GUMBO | AWARENESS

Orange Beached Tons of boats ended up in unlikely places during Hurricane Sally. Eyewitnesses tell the tales. text by EMMETT BURNETT

B

orn over the Bahamas as a tropical disturbance on September 10, 2020, Hurricane Sally defied its forecast almost every step of the way. Tony Williamson monitored the storm from Walt Disney World, believing, like everyone else, it would hit coastal Louisiana. The Saraland resident and owner of a 48-foot yacht docked near Orange Beach was cautiously optimistic — but not for long. The storm started tracking east. It was time to go home. On September 15, arriving at Perdido

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Key, Williamson decided to ride out the storm where his boat was moored, and why not? Even now, Sally was expected to hit Biloxi. Also, the Gulf was choppy, making it unsafe to maneuver a large yacht into more favorable waters. In the pre-dawn hours of September 16, crouched in chest-deep water on an underwater pier, Williamson bear-hugged a piling and held on for life. Winds of 110 mph pelted him with torrential rain and angry waves. His yacht laid beneath the waves in four pieces.

Meanwhile, Jim Brown, from his Orange Beach home, gazed upon dark waters and a hurricane’s wrath. Something caught his eye in the turbulent horizon, small at first but growing larger. “I saw what looked like a giant light approaching,” he recalls about the beacon cutting through the tempest. The glow grew brighter and moved closer. Brown and his wife considered running to the back of their house, but it was too late. The 75-foot unmanned boat still had its lights on when it crashed into the Browns’


yard. It clipped the edge of the deck’s pilings, destroyed their stairway and halted on the driveway. The ship’s propellers became brakes, plowing the ground but stopping the boat within 5 feet of the home.

But wait. There’s more. As if following the first vessel’s lead, seven other boats, ranging from 40 to 60 feet long, crash-landed in the Browns’ yard, now an impromptu marina for wayward watercraft. “It looked like a fleet coming in,” the homeowner recalls. The 75foot boat occupied the west side of his house, and a 55-footer angled against the east side. “The rest were just stacked up in the yard, but they knocked some oak trees down,” Brown remembers. Similar scenarios played out all night across the coast. “I think we saw close to 800 boats either damaged or destroyed,” says Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon. “I don’t know how many were repaired. Once saltwater is in motors or the boat sinks, the chances of repairing are slim.” As winds died and daylight broke, the damage was assessed. Boat restoration, recovery and demolition started almost immediately and is still in progress. “I have a month’s backlog of Sally’s damaged boats,” says John “Gator” Nelson, owner of Nelson Boatyard Inc. Marina and Dry Storage in Gulf Shores. “We are seeing much more than normal boat repair work resulting from Hurricane Sally. I think it is because of two reasons,” he adds. “One: Boaters relied on the forecast, which was wrong. Two: Most hurricanes, once the path is set, move onshore and conditions gradually become better. Sally never got better. It pelted boats with high wind and driving rain for hours.” Nelson says pilings were ripped from docks and piers and became battering rams. Boats broke free of their moorings and crashed into one another. “Boat rash,” vessels rubbing against pilings for hours nonstop, also caused significant damage. Phillip West, director of the Coastal Resources Department for the City of Orange Beach, agrees about the storm’s erroneous forecast and claims it is still incorrect. “I don’t care if NOAA reclassifies

it or not,” he says about the officially proclaimed Category 2 hurricane. “When you look at the extent of damage, Sally was a Cat. 3. Boats were scattered everywhere. We have probably spent close to a million dollars just on boat removal.” Submerged boats were collected by barges with cranes. Similar equipment was used to remove land-wrecked vessels in yards, roads, buildings and even embedded among trees. Owners were identified. Anything of value was salvaged. “All fuels and fluids that could cause environmental damage were removed,” West says. The remaining wreckage was crushed and taken away. Everyone interviewed agrees that in

Opposite Anywhere from 600 to 800 watercraft were either destroyed or received significant damage from the storm. IMAGE COURTESY CITY OF ORANGE BEACH Above Jim Brown’s yard, post-hurricane. IMAGE COURTESY JIM BROWN

most situations, damaged boats, even those submerged, ultimately come down to the owners’ responsibility. But in some cases, the skipper abandons ship. “Sometimes we are stuck with it,” Kennon adds. “We try to find the owner, but that can be an arduous process. I really wish boats had mandatory insurance just like cars do.” Orange Beach had 22 mystery boats recovered and on file. “I think the biggest we picked up was a 55-foot Hatteras,” West recalls. “We got a boat out there now. Found it on sonar.”

Recovered vessels are placed in a storage yard for a set period of time. Notice is placed in local newspapers, informing the public and giving owners a chance to come forward. After the allotted time to claim a vessel has passed, time’s up. The city recently completed disposal of its unclaimed boats by crushing and removing. Orange Beach is now seeking reimbursement from owners, when they are found. “Boat retrieval is very expensive, and we [the City of Orange Beach] don’t want to be in that business,” West adds. “However, we can’t just let sunken vessels stay there. That poses navigational and environmental hazards.” Williamson, who leaped into raging salt water, grabbed a rope and pulled himself up on a dock pier as his boat was ripped to shreds, hired a private company to retrieve the remains. “Someone sent me a photo of one of the large sections,” he recalls, after the boat pieces broke the water’s surface. “I glanced at it and quickly hit delete,” he said. “I still have strong memories of that night.” Brown’s yard is now fleet-free. “It took weeks for our place to be cleared out, but I am thankful,” he notes. “The 75-foot boat missed hitting our home by 5 feet. Had it made contact, that boat would have knocked the house down.” Kennon adds, “Immediately after the storm, we met with owners, insurance companies, attorneys and others. We did not want this process to drag out. Within 60 days, a majority of the boats had been moved. I was pleased with how we worked together.” Sally was the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Coincidentally, Sally and Ivan hit on the same date and the same place, 16 years apart. Almost a year has passed since Sally’s arrival. Despite the ordeal, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach remain pretty close to being paradise. In these two beautiful coastal towns, most storm debris is gone, claims settled, and watercraft big and small have returned to their rightful place — on top of the water. MB august 2021 | mobilebaymag.com 19


FOOD | TASTINGS

Pirates Pit BBQ text by BRECK PAPPAS • photos by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

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here’s a lot for owners Harvey Mitchell, right, and Daniel Miller, left, to love about the location of Pirates Pit BBQ in Fairhope. At the corner of Section Street and Highway 44, the takeout restaurant never has a shortage of passing traffic, and downtown Fairhope is just a few minutes north. But for Mitchell, those aren’t the first answers that come to mind. “It’s home,” he says. “My mom lives right down the street, my grandmother lives right there, my alma mater Fairhope High School is just around the corner.” Mitchell and Miller, who are first cousins, both played football for the Fairhope Pirates, hence the barbecue joint’s name and color scheme. After opening in June 2020, Pirates Pit quickly found its way into the hearts of locals; following Hurricane Sally, the owners tossed their entire inventory on the smoker and were able to provide hot meals to the community and repair crews. Mitchell has worked in kitchens for more than a decade, first at Baumhower’s in Daphne, then at a handful of restaurants in Orange Beach. When the opportunity came along to become his own boss, he recruited Miller (fresh off the college football field

at Bethel University in Tennessee) to come along. Now Miller, nicknamed Dano, makes some of the most popular items on the menu. He lent his name to the loaded fries and towering bacon cheeseburger (see right). “Everything is from scratch,” Mitchell says. “And some of the recipes, like the potato salad and coleslaw, are from my grandma. Sometimes she’ll just come over and work in the kitchen,” he says, laughing. Pirates Pit is casual in the way a barbecue joint is supposed to be. Customers order at a walk-up window from a laminated menu of sliders, wings, pulled pork sandwiches, loaded quesadillas and grilled cheese BLTs. The house-made barbecue sauce is salty and sweet, Mitchell’s favorite flavor combination. But he knows which flavor is the real star. “When you go eat somewhere and they say they’ve got some smoked barbecue, you want to really taste that smoke,” he says. “I’ve had people come up here and say, ‘I’ve been in Fairhope for 50 years — this is best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had in my life.’ When we hear stuff like that from people who have been around so long, that just lets us know that we’re doing something right.” MB

 Pirates Pit BBQ • 18974 Section St., Fairhope • 229-6229 • facebook.com/PiratesPitBBQ 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. T - Th; 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. F - Sa; closed Su & M

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FOOD | TASTINGS [ON THE MENU]

PULLED PORK GOUDA MELT Picture pulled pork, bacon and Gouda stacked between two American grilled cheese sandwiches. Can you say cheese?

LOADED DANO FRIES

BBQ RIB PLATE

THE DANO BURGER

Bring friends to help with this app. Cajun curly fries are smothered with ground beef, sauteed onions and peppers, jalapeños and queso.

With tender ribs that fall right off the bone, this dish (left) is served with two sides of your choice, cornbread, house-made barbecue sauce and a drink.

A local favorite, this burger is packed with two seasoned beef patties, sauteed onions and peppers, jalapeños, bacon and American cheese.

THE DANO BURGER


FOOD | BAY TABLES

AT HOME with DAD

“IT’S HARD TO BREAK INTO A COMMUNITY WHEN YOU’RE A STAY-AT-HOME DAD.”

text by AMANDA HARTIN photos by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

According to the latest survey conducted by Pew Research Center, about 17 percent of stay-at-home parents are dads. MB reached out to four such Bay-area fathers, each of whom is redefining “normal” and shirking societal pressure. Read on as they share their struggles, hobbies, kidapproved snacks and go-to dinner recipes.

MATT MYRICK

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airhope native Matt Myrick dove into his stay-at-home dad role in 2015, soon after the birth of he and attorney wife Danielle Mashburn-Myrick’s second child, “Telly.” The lawyer-turned-fulltime-parent says he’s right where he’s supposed to be. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. “We’re in the South,” he says while wrangling a wriggly infant and an inquisitive 6-year-old whose cheek is smudged with blue paint from yesterday’s art camp. “Gender roles are somewhat ingrained.” Despite finding it difficult to break into the mom-dominated at-homeparent circuit, Matt still finds a way to connect with the community. “Music is my social outlet,” he says, noting he and his bandmates play venues like the Frog Pond and Fairhope Brewery. “Self-care is important,” Matt stresses. And so is a strong marriage. “Of all the reasons that a family dynamic like ours might work,” he sums, “for Danielle and I, it’s that we feel coequal in every way — equally valued and respected for what we contribute to each other’s lives and our children’s — and that’s the mission we’re committed to.” KID-APPROVED SNACKS: CHOCOLATE CHIP AND PEANUT BUTTER CLIFF BARS, BANANAS, ORANGES AND APPLES

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Matt with Telfair “Telly,” 6, and Virginia, 8 months (not present, Ida May, 8)

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Miles with Golden, 5, and Tafari, 8 (not pictured, Kai, 2 months)

“PARENTING IS ABOUT GIVING CHILDREN GEMS AND LETTING THEM MAKE THEIR OWN JEWELRY.”

MILES MEGACIPH

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ne comment Miles Thomas hears a lot when he’s out and about with his children is, “Oh, it must be daddy’s day with the kids.” When faced with that assumption, the mellow hip-hop artist known as Miles Megaciph says he casually replies, “Every day is daddy’s day.” He and wife Hanna Alemayehu, M.D., have three children, the youngest of which, daughter Kai, was born this past May. “The boys are entranced with her,” Miles says as middle child Golden climbs his back. He and brother Tafari, both in dashikis, play-wrestle with their daddy. “I like to write and freestyle,” Miles says as the boys retreat. “I’ll go down to my studio and put on some jazz and I’ll practice.” In addition to recording, Miles teaches hot hatha yoga and volunteers with the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama. “My mantra for my boys is mindfulness. It’s a moving meditation; it’s how we present ourselves. We practice loving-kindness, patience and always doing our best.” He watches as the boys give chase to each other. “Parenting has been the best job of my life, but it’s nonstop and constantly evolving. It has also shown me my lack of patience, which is a reminder that I need to be kind to myself and my children.” KID-APPROVED SNACKS: SLICED CARROTS, PEPPERS, HUMMUS, DRIED FRUIT, CHEESE AND CRACKERS, LUNCH MEAT, NUTS

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JEFF FRAME

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hen asked who picked out the outfits for today, Jeff Frame doesn’t hesitate to give credit to his wife, Melinda Frame, M.D., and his 7-year-old daughter. “I don’t match things well,” he laughs. “Melinda picked out their outfits. And Bailey picked out her bow.” There’s not much that seems to ruffle Jeff’s feathers as he’s about as cool and casual as they come. And he carries that trait with him when fishing with his kids, too. “I tell them, ‘When you’re fishing with dad, it’s a ‘yes’ day. You wanna “PARENTING IS A bring that toy NONJUDGMENTAL on the boat? SPORT. WE’RE ALL Absolutely.’” DOING OUR BEST.” The avid outdoorsman, who hunts ’til fishing season and fishes ’til hunting season, hugs his just-woke-from-a-nap youngest close to his hip and jokes, “It took three kids to get one to finally like me.” Caleb nuzzles into his dad’s shoulder. Turning more serious, Jeff explains his decision to step away from law enforcement and step into full-time parenting. “At the end of the day, my career path wasn’t going to allow me to be a great dad. If I was going to be the father I needed to be, one of us needed to be home.” KID-APPROVED SNACKS: APPLESAUCE, BLUEBERRIES, GOLDFISH CRACKERS, FRUIT, HAM AND CHEESE, PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY SANDWICH

Jeff with Caleb, 2, Barrett, 5, and Bailey, 7


Aaron with Rhiya, 9, and Asher, 5


“YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR HEAD ON A SWIVEL BECAUSE EACH KID IS SO DIFFERENT.”

AARON LOUPE

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f merit badges were given to parents, Aaron Loupe would have a “Preparedness” badge sewn on his vest. And one for carpentry. And engineering. And fishing. “I’m a preparer,” the computer and electrical engineer concedes. “You have to be prepared for anything. When we were potty-training, I carried that little potty with me everywhere we went.” He laughs, glad that he and wife Vyshali Reddy-Loupe, M.D., are past that stage. To combat the rigors of full-time parenting, Aaron enjoys fishing and going to sporting events. “And I like to build,” he adds. “I need to get my brain going. It decreases my stress levels.” As does receiving snuggles from a giggly Asher and Rhiya who have found the perfect spot next to their dad. “You have to be willing to get up early,” Aaron discloses of being the at-home parent. “I get up before anyone else to make school lunches, breakfasts and pack the car for the day’s activities.” And when it comes to parenting, he admits, “We’re all trying to figure it out, basically comparing ourselves to what everyone else is doing.” KID-APPROVED SNACKS: VEGGIE STRAWS WITH HUMMUS, CHEESE STICKS, YOGURT august 2021 | mobilebaymag.com 27


FRENCH LENTILS & TOMATO-CUCUMBER SALAD “You can dress lentils differently depending on who’s eating them,” Matt explains of this dish, which can be served as an entree or side. “For my kids, I serve this with a scoop of sour cream instead of the tomato-cucumber salad.”

TOMATO-CUCUMBER SALAD 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into wedges 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped 2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

FRENCH LENTILS 1 pound (2 1/4 cups) French lentils 6 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 4 garlic cloves, chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon dried herbs, such as thyme or sage 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Rinse lentils before cooking. Add the lentils and broth to a saucepan. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. 2. As lentils cook, use a large saute pan or skillet to heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, dried herbs and garlic powder and cook another 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Add onions, garlic and herb mixture to the pot of lentils. Top with tomatocucumber salad, if desired. Tip: If cooking more lentils than suggested above, use a 3:1 ratio of liquid to lentils. Matt often cooks lentils in bulk to include in salads or other dishes throughout the week. 28 mobilebaymag.com | august 2021

SWEET POTATO FLATBREAD “You can top the flatbread with your choice of salad,” Miles says of this easy, three-ingredient recipe. “My kids like to dip it in hummus, too. And it can be used as pizza crust.” Or sandwich wraps or tortillas, if rolled thin. 3 medium sweet potatoes 2 cups wheat flour, plus more, as needed pinch of salt parsley or other spices, optional, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using your preferred steaming method, steam the whole, skin-on sweet potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork. Carefully remove potatoes from steamer and briefly cool. 2. While potatoes are still hot but manageable enough to handle without burning yourself, use your fingers to skin the potatoes. 3. In a large bowl, mash the peeled potatoes. Add wheat flour, salt and other spices, if desired, to the bowl.

4. Using a fork, mix ingredients until a dough ball forms. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, a little at a time. 5. Flatten dough into one large round or several smaller ones. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. 6. If making pizza using the flatbread as a crust, decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees. Top the flatbread with your favorite fixings and bake for 10 minutes.


CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP “My mom is a fantastic soup maker. I make a modified version of her chicken noodle soup. The sausage is unconventional, but I have a kid who will eat the sausage and noodles and two others that will eat the chicken and noodles. They all get something from the broth and added veggies.” 2 cups carrots, chopped 2 cups celery, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 pound sausage 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning 8 cups unsalted chicken stock 4 cups unsalted chicken broth 2 (14.5-ounce) cans green beans or peas 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded 1 (12-ounce) bag egg noodles, uncooked 2 tablespoons parsley salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot, add lightly salted carrots, celery and onion, allowing them to sweat over medium heat. When they appear to glisten and soften around the edges, add the sausage to the pot, cooking through. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over the mixture. 2. Add stock and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, then add green beans (or peas) and chicken. Return to a boil, 8 to 10 minutes. 3. Remove from heat. Add noodles to the pot (the warm broth will cook them). Sprinkle with parsley. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Let rest for an hour or serve immediately.

MAHI-MAHI SCAMPI “We eat this all the time,” Aaron says of this quick and easy family favorite. An avid fisherman, Aaron usually has some sort of fresh seafood on hand. He adds of the recipe, “Sometimes we use shrimp instead of mahi.” 1 bunch fresh green beans 1 to 2 teaspoons avocado oil salt and pepper, to taste pinch of onion powder 8 ounces pasta noodles, uncooked 4 mahi-mahi fillets Paul Prudhomme Blackened Redfish Magic seasoning blend 1/2 stick butter, plus more for greasing saute pan 1/4 cup olive oil 1 packet McCormick Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi seasoning 1 tablespoon lemon juice Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, toss green beans in avocado oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and onion powder, to taste. Place seasoned green beans in an air fryer heated to 360 degrees and cook 10 to 20 minutes, depending on preferred level of crispiness.

2. When the water reaches a boil, put noodles in the pot and cook until done. 3. While noodles cook, rinse and pat dry the fish. Season both sides of the fillets with Redfish Magic and salt. Place fish in a heated, buttered saute pan over medium-high heat and cook until done, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on size of fillets. Remove fish and set aside to rest. 4. In the same saute pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick butter. Add olive oil and sprinkle in scampi seasoning packet. Heat 3 to 4 minutes then add lemon juice. 5. Drain pasta. Pour butter sauce over pasta and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Plate pasta, fish and beans. Serve immediately. august 2021 | mobilebaymag.com 29


MB perused the pages of four classic children’s books and the aisles of local stores in search of a little gift-giving inspiration.

DIG IN TO A GOOD BOOK text by ANNA THORNTON photos by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

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GOOD STUFF | STORY TIME Dig In gardening gloves, $15, Old Tyme Feed

A wide variety of flowers are mentioned in “The Secret Garden.” Bellflower, crocuses, daffodils, foxgloves, irises, larkspur, lilies and snowdrops, to name a few. These seed packets are a sure way to add a splash of color and whimsy to even the most desolate of flower beds. Sow Tree Seed packets, $3 each, Old Tyme Feed

Ella multi-striped bow hat, $47, Chapel Farm Collection

Like old Ben Weatherstaff, the kitchen gardener, every plantenthusiast needs a trusty spade. Hand trowel, $5, Old Tyme Feed

Stephen Joseph Butterfly Garden raincoat, $44, J-Ray Shoes

Bari Lynn girls’ floral embellished headband, $30, J-Ray Shoes

THE PATH TO PRINT

The Secret Garden

“The Secret Garden” was first published as an illustrated serial in a magazine (for grown-ups!) in 1911. This story was most likely the first of its kind to be printed in this fashion.

Join in on the fun of this heartwarming story of how a lonely orphan and her bedridden cousin discover the magic of watching things grow. Rusty old keys, woodland critters and creeping vines never fail to enchant. Countless readers have walked away from these pages inspired to nurture their own blooms. “The Secret Garden,” paperback edition, $8, Page and Palette

Lil’ Gardener Mindware Tool Set, $15, Fantasy Island Toys

Sweep away the grime from a day in the soil with this luxurious lotion. Finchberry Sweet Dreams body lotion, $18, Marcie-N-Me

Purple flower earrings, $12, J-Ray Shoes

Swig 20 oz lotus bloom water bottle, $35, Marcie-N-Me

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Duke Cannon Fresh Cut Pine Bar Soap, $9, Ace Hardware

GOOD STUFF | STORY TIME

Boys’ tarpon belt, $31, J-Ray Shoes

While Tom would have used a wooden bucket or a brass pail to bring home his dinner, this modern Yeti bucket is equipped with all the handy features an outdoorsman could wish for. Yeti Loadout 5-gallon bucket, $40, McCoy Outdoor Co.

Fishing hat with neckflap, $40, Marcie-N-Me

Alabama Pine navy dri-fit T-shirt, $40, Gigi & Jay’s

Even the littlest anglers can reel in the big one — no boat required. Catch of the Day toy, $29, Fantasy Island Toys

Knockaround Premium Sport polarized sunglasses, $25, Red Beard’s Outfitter

Boys’ LD Mallard short 2.0, Properly Tied, $42, MarcieN-Me

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer This classic American tale chronicles the mischievous escapades of a boy growing up along the Mississippi River. For nearly 150 years, Tom’s ingenious schemes and quick wit have inspired boys and girls of all ages to revel in life’s adventures.

Fairhope Rattle Popping Cork, $5, McCoy Outdoor Co.

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” paperback edition, $8, Page and Palette Birkenstock Arizona Desert Khaki Camo sandals, $100, Shoe Station

RESISTING PREJUDICE

Mark Twain’s use of racial epithets has made this work a controversial one. Before offering this title to young readers, be prepared to discuss prejudice and the lessons we can learn from a visit to Tom’s world.

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Frabill Baitwell Net, $17, McCoy Outdoor Co.

Keep your hands free and your body hydrated as you trek through the woods with this Picnic Water Bottle Carrier, $48, Anthropologie

OLD EDWARDS INN


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GOOD STUFF | STORY TIME The perfect accessory for London fog or Mobile drizzles. Me and Henry yellow rain coat, $63, Gigi & Jay’s

Jon Hart tan coated canvas coachman bag, $299, Marcie-N-Me

Brighten up rainy days with a robust brew of Earl Grey in this cheerful red teacup. Wedgewood Paeonia Blush teacup and saucer set, $60, Zundel’s Jewelry

See Kai Run — Stevie II children’s shoe, $57, J-Ray Shoes

FUN FACT:

A Paddington Bear plush was chosen by British tunnelers as the first item to pass through to their French counterparts when the two sides of the Channel Tunnel were linked in 1994.

The Kitchen Shelf half-pint jar of orange marmalade, $28, Punta Clara Kitchen

Paddington

Classic Paddington Bear stuffed animal, $75, Amazon

Bring to life the tale of a lovable bear from Darkest Peru who is found at Paddington Station wearing a floppy hat and carrying a suitcase full of orange marmalade. His sweet temperament and charming mishaps have touched the hearts of adults and children alike since 1958. Hunter yellow rain boots, $57, J-Ray Shoes

“Paddington,” paperback edition, $11, Page and Palette

SMALL BEAR, BIG IMPACT

London Bus canvas bag, $27, Etsy

Paddington books have been translated into 30 languages across 70 titles and have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

BG kids’ clear umbrella with yellow trim, $17, Amazon

Mudpie infant sunhat with sunglass set, $29, MarcieN-Me

Red British Phone Booth key chain, $8, Amazon

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GOOD STUFF | STORY TIME UNKNOWN TALENT

A waiter-turnedcartoonist, Ludwig Bemelmans wrote and hand-illustrated the Madeline series. The Austrian-born artist came to New York in 1914, and children’s literature has never been the same.

Wide brim boater hat, $52, Chapel Farm Collection

Croissants, $4, Warehouse Bakery and Donuts

“Pocket Coco Chanel Wisdom,” $8, The Holiday

Marvis jasmin mint toothpaste, $11, Amazon

Petit Ami baby girls’ sailor dress, $37, Attractions Children’s Apparel

Ceramic Eiffle Tower handmade in Hungary, $395, Zundel’s Jewelry

Mama High Five All Causes bamboo toothbrushes, $27 for 5, mamap.life

Madeline

Lamour velcro T-strap navy shoe, $50, J-Ray Shoes

“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.” Daunted by nothing, the red-headed Madeline tackles mice, ice and tigers. And when her appendix must suddenly be removed in the middle of the night, she smiles and proudly shows off the scar.

Pop these darling gel packs into the freezer for instant relief on your little one’s scraped knees. Pink bandage Ouch Pouch, $9, Marcie-N-Me

“Madeline,” paperback edition, $12, Page and Palette

Reminiscent of the beds in which the girls at Miss Clavel’s school slept, this updated version is sure to add classic charm to any bedroom. Tilden standard metal, spring, green twin bed, $299, Target

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Voluspa Pink Rose Macaron Trio, $39, The Holiday

Small Paris art print, $24, Pottery Barn


RESOURCES Attractions Children’s Apparel 207 Dauphin St. • 438-1758 Chapel Farm Collection 19130 Scenic Hwy 98, Fairhope • 929-1630 chapelfarm.com Fantasy Island Toys 335 Fairhope Ave., Fairhope • 928-1720 fantasyislandtoys.com Gigi & Jay’s 400 Fairhope Ave., Fairhope • 928-2011 gigiandjays.com J-Ray Shoes 121 S. University Blvd. • 342-6322 jrayshoes.com Marcie-N-Me 8150 Cottage Hill Road • 634-4844 shopmarcienme.com McCoy Outdoor Co. 3498 SpringHill Ave. • 473-1080 mccoyoutdoorco.com Red Beard’s Outfitter 4354 Old Shell Road • 217-7466 redbeardsoutfitter.com Page and Palette 32 S. Section St., Fairhope • 928-5295 pageandpalette.com Punta Clara Kitchen 17111 Scenic Hwy 98, Fairhope 800-437-7868 • puntaclara.com Old Tyme Feed and Garden Supply 19580 S. Greeno Road, Fairhope 928-1156 • oldtymefeed.com The Holiday 4513 Old Shell Road • 342-4911 shoptheholiday.com. Warehouse Bakery & Donuts 759 Nichols Ave., Fairhope • 928-7223 warehousebakeryanddonuts.com Zundel’s Jewelry 3670 Dauphin St. • 241-5439 zundelsjewelry.com

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GUMBO | TRADITIONS

The Yeast Roll Lady For more than 90 years, centenarian Marie Poiroux Wilson White has made her prize-winning dough, leaving a trail of flour and memories along the way. text by AMANDA HARTIN • photos by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

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omething big was going on in Theodore that March day. Cars single-filed into a large field off McDonald Road, adjacent the home it’d girded for more than half a century. Hugs and hellos and casserole dishes were given this way and that amidst a hubbub of how dos. Around the gnarled oak out back, a large circle of people formed, some holding signs, some gripping tufts of balloons, threatened to be carried away by an early spring breeze. The weather was perfect for a parade, everyone agreed. Oldies from a nearby boom box plus the sun’s afternoon emergence allowed for shaking off any lingering winter doldrums. “She loves to dance,” Christine Whiteley said, inching closer to the cordon and looking over her left shoulder toward her mama’s house. “The doctor says she can easily go another 20 years.” If that’s the case, her mama would live to be 120. From around the house came the lone float for which 80 or so revelers had been waiting. The guest of honor perched in her favorite recliner, wearing a birthday sash and sparkling tiara befitting a centenarian. She alternated her shawl-draped arms to wave to the crowd, her thin grin a constant accessory. Each lap around the yard was perhaps more jubilant than the last, but as all good things must, the parade ended, sending everyone shuffling to backyard tables in anticipation of lunch and birthday cake, of course. “That oak is probably older than her,” Janie Huber said, catching up to her aunt Christine and nodding toward the ancient hardwood. “When I think of Granny, I always think of that tree. And her yeast rolls.”

“Sprinkle a little flour on the table.” The ninth of 12 children, Marie Poiroux Wilson White was born March 20, 1921, to August and Jeanne Diacre Poiroux. “Mama and Daddy were both from France,” Marie says, now seated at the table in daughter Christine’s kitchen, the ceiling fan shooing the summer heat. As young adults, the Poirouxs (pronounced “Perus”) immigrated to Manitoba, Canada, and then to the United States, eventually settling in Irvington, when Marie was an infant. As far as anyone can tell, they, all 670 descendants of Marie’s parents, are the only Poirouxs in this country. Christine preheats the oven and then sets a dough bowl and a bag of flour on the table in front of her aproned mama. Marie takes a sip of water and continues. “We were all French-speaking people. If you spoke French, you could join our community.” Her older siblings learned English at St. Elmo School. It was they who taught Marie. She attended school through the seventh grade, but her lessons far exceeded the bounds of any classroom. As a child, Marie woke before sunrise to tend livestock, gather eggs and pick vegetables. “Daddy was a sharecropper, and I was Mama’s handy girl. From the time I was 10 years old, I was cooking, washing dishes and being the housekeeper. And I could milk a cow just as good as any of the boys.” But it wasn’t all work; the Poirouxs had their share of fun, too. “On Sunday afternoons, the neighbors would all come to our house,” Marie says, dusting the table with flour before letting a wad of dough fall with a heavy smack. “We had the most kids. There was always a big ball game. We had an old phono-

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graph, and all the girls played records and danced.” Christine grins, knowing her mom hasn’t lost her penchant for music.

“Sometimes you have to punch the air out.” Marie kneads, pinches and pats the growing dough mindlessly before plopping it into the dusted bowl. “I’ve been making these for over 90 years,” she says of the yeast rolls her mama taught her to make. “If I had a nickel for every roll I’ve made, I’d be rich!” Her mottled hands move nimbly, belying their strength. At 14, Marie married a neighbor boy, Woodrow Wilson, with whom she would go on to rear 12 children. She busied herself making dresses from feed sacks, cooking meals like stew or beans or chicken and dumplings on the wood-burning stove, using a scrub board to launder clothes and bartering for muchneeded items or services. “This old man gave us free rent if I cooked meals for him,” she says, proudly. “So, I did that. He also had a lot of acreage, and he told me he was going to have all the trees cut down. I asked him if we could have those trees, thinking we could build a house.” He obliged. “I had a yard full of nothing but lumber. We stacked them up and crossed them; whatever we had to do. Every Saturday, when the kids were not in school, we’d go out there and turn the wood.” The Wilsons built that house. It wasn’t the first time Marie orchestrated the family’s home construction — the first was built with wood from an old railroad depot they won at an auction. A lifetime of jobs becomes a blur, the highlights of which include Marie running a successful grocery store, Wilson’s Grocery, that once stood where the caution light flashes at the intersection of Highway 90 and Irvington-Bayou La Batre Highway. She also cut lace at Vanity Fair Mills for nearly a decade. And, not the least of which, she raised a dozen children, all of whom attended Catholic school, the tuition offset by their working in the cafeteria and cleaning classrooms. Marie straightens herself in the kitchen chair and removes the towel from atop the dough bowl. “If it’s risen too much, just punch it back down,” she says, giving the mound a wallop. Sometimes life has a way of knocking the air out of us, too, something Marie knows full well. In addition to losing three children, she buried both of her husbands: Woodrow, with whom she was married 40 years, and Ernest White. She and “Ernie” had recently celebrated 42 years.

“Give it time to rest and rise.” “Mama used to welcome all the children to her house on Mondays,” Christine says, peeking into the oven. “She would be cooking yeast rolls and fixing lunch. All you had to do was show up. Her neighbors caught on, and they would often show up to get a roll or two.” One of Christine’s sisters, Theresa Orrell, now sits at the table with her mama, having come by for a few fresh rolls herself. “Mama taught us how to make yeast rolls many years ago,” 40 mobilebaymag.com | august 2021

Theresa admits, “but when you’re young, you don’t remember. After all my kids were grown and gone, I recorded Mama making them. It was early one morning; she still had rollers in her hair.” The sisters share a smile from across the room. “The Yeast Roll Lady” is just one moniker Marie has worn through the years. “The Hat Lady” is another, a name she earned for being the only person who still wears a hat to Mass at her beloved St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Tillman’s Corner. She’s also known as a prayer warrior, having taught her children that prayer is an essential part of life. Though diminutive, standing at just 4 feet, 11 inches, Marie’s spirit mirrors the mighty oak round which her family gathered in March and whose girth shades the house she helped build. Her daughters watch their mama spread butter and jam on a hot yeast roll, one from the corner because those are her favorite. Her mind, now a complicated mix of haziness and clarity, plucks a memory from childhood. “I was raised on goat milk,” Marie begins, between bites. “Daddy used to say, ‘You’ll live a long life because you were raised on goat milk.’” Perhaps there’s truth in that. Perhaps it’s more. She reaches for a second roll. “Always put God first and everything else will follow. I think I have accomplished what God had planned for me.” MB


MARIE’S FAMOUS YEAST ROLLS Marie Poiroux Wilson White has been making this prize-winning recipe for 90 years. Serve with butter, jam or jelly, toasted or stuffed with barbecue. Prefer tall rolls? Put them close together in the pan. Rolls can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. 2 packages Fleischmann’s dry yeast 3 cups very warm water, divided 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon salt 6 - 7 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting* 2 tablespoons oil *Marie prefers King Arthur or Martha White flour

1. In a small bowl, combine yeast with 1 cup warm water. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups warm water, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside. 2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Make a hole, or well, in the center of the flour and pour both liquids into the well. Add oil. Gradually incorporate the flour, little by little, until all liquids are absorbed. (All of the flour may not be needed.) Work dough until firm. 3. Grease separate large bowl and put dough into it. Cover bowl with a towel and place in a warm area until the dough rises to twice its size, about 1 1/2 hours. 4. Remove towel. Sprinkle tabletop or large work surface with flour and place dough onto it. Let dough stand for 5 minutes. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, punching out all air. 5. Grease desired baking pan. Divide dough, making two loaves or smaller individual dinner rolls. Place the loaves or rolls into the greased pan. Cover pan with towel and let loaves rise once more, until doubled in size. 6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove towel and place the pan with dough into the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is browned.

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PEOPLE | SPOTLIGHT

The Tea Garden In the heart of Mobile lies an unexpected oasis.

text by AMANDA HARTIN • photos by MEGGAN HALLER/KEYHOLE PHOTO

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I

f you pointed your finger smack dab in the middle of a Mobile city map, chances are high you’d land in the heart of Dauphin Acres, right in the dried-up bed of Wragg Swamp. It’s also likely that on these neighborhood streets you’d see Hunter the tomcat roving the roads. But not today. Today he’s mazing through bamboo and patting over pine straw in Betty and Robert McArthur’s yard. And it’s here, along a quiet little stretch of Primrose Avenue, that an unexpected garden awaits. From the front, Robert follows a footpath past the deck, under sunshades and over wooden bridges before pausing round back. The feline skitters to the carport to tangle around Betty’s ankles. Robert smiles, then turns his gaze to the roughly 1,500 Camellia sinensis plants surrounding the home, a surprising sight anywhere, let alone in the midriff of Mobile. Known as the tea plant, the evergreen Camellia sinensis sprouts leaves from which white, oolong, green and black teas can be produced. Although he does so now, making tea was not Robert’s original plan. He just wanted the plants. And plant the plants he did. “You could drop a seed on the ground, and it would grow,” he says of the fertile soil. The lush sea of neatly ordered shrubs avers that fact. “Any spot where there’s sun is where they’re growing. Believe it or not, when we moved here, there was only the house and grass.” With such success, coupled with the fact that both Robert and Betty enjoyed tea daily, it wasn’t long before they decided to try their hand at harvesting. It was a learning process, Robert admits. “Sometimes it was two steps forward, Opposite The top two leaves and bud of the Camellia sinensis plant are what ’s plucked when harvesting tea. Right Robert McArthur stands among his sea of tea plants.

one step back.” Steadfast, he became sort of a soil scientist over the span of about 15 years, drilling down the tea plants’ favored balance of soil nutrients and harvesting conditions. Now, with over a thousand thriving plants to show for their efforts, the McArthurs stay busy, especially during harvest season, mid-April through October. The plants produce new leaves about every three weeks, and each harvest requires around three hours of work. But no one’s complaining. “It’s decompressing, coming out here and listening to the wind and the birds,” Robert says, readying for today’s pickfest, a stainless-steel bowl at his side to catch leaves. As he works, he explains that tea connoisseurs aren’t the only ones sowing these hearty shrubs. The Camellia sinensis makes a great ornamental plant, flaunting white flowers in the winter, and is an excellent pollinator-

BOTH GREEN AND BLACK TEAS ARE MADE FROM THE SAME LEAVES. HOW THE LEAVES ARE PROCESSED AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN HARVESTED IS WHAT DETERMINES THE TYPE OF TEA.

Tips for Growing Mobile’s weather (thanks, humidity) and acidic soil (azaleas love this, too) are two of the Camellia sinensis’ favorite things. Microconditions, such as elements in the soil and availability of sunlight, are also imperative for tea plants’ growth. But exactly how many plants should you place in your garden? According to seasoned tea grower, Robert McArthur, a dozen plants would be plenty for two teadrinkers. Sound like too many? It’s not. For every 4 pounds of harvested raw tea, a little less than 1 pound is yielded.

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friendly option. Honeybees “go nuts” over them, Robert snickers. “They make perfectly good hedges, too,” Betty adds, busily preparing for her role in the harvest process. She places a bamboo basket filled with justplucked leaves atop a pot of boiling water and watches steam percolate through the crevices, filling the carport with an earthy bouquet. “I never imagined we’d have so many plants. I’m pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is. Our goal was to be able to produce enough for ourselves so that we wouldn’t have to buy any at the store.” They succeeded. The couple hopes to one day sell their tea in limited quantities at farmers markets. For now, their focus is on perfecting the process. “It’s fun, but it’s still laborious,” Robert says, seated and rolling a ball of leaves around an oversized bowl. The work is worth it, though. “There is a world of difference between loose leaf and bag tea. It’s like instant coffee versus French press.” Betty agrees. She pours two cups of freshly steeped tea, one green, one black, for sampling. Robert’s right. The smooth taste of each is something that can’t be bought. And neither can the feeling it gives the McArthurs. As Betty puts it, “There is nothing more romantic than picking tea in the morning, processing it and then having a cup at night.” MB

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How to Harvest Tea Step 1 — Pick the newly grown, topmost two leaves and bud. New growth feels soft and pliable; older leaves are waxy. Step 2 — For green tea, skip to Step 4. For black tea, spread the leaves out on a flat surface and allow them to wither to about 70 percent of their original moisture level (or weight), anywhere from 10 - 20 hours, depending on conditions. Step 3 — Gather enough leaves to form a manageable-sized ball. In a large bowl, using gentle pressure, roll the ball of leaves around the sides of the bowl to break down the leaves’ cell walls, about 30 minutes. When finished, the leaves will still be green. Spread the leaves out on a flat surface again and leave them loosely covered overnight (or about 9 hours) in a humid location (80 to 90 percent humidity is ideal). This process allows for oxidation, which gives the leaves and resulting tea a rust-like hue. Skip to Step 7.

Opposite Betty McArthur takes a break from steaming leaves. Above The McArthurs use a camping stove, boiler and bamboo baskets to steam leaves for green tea production. For the withering process, Betty places the leaves on a drying rack that Robert crafted. Robert makes a ball of leaves and rolls it around a bowl for a minimum of 10 minutes. Smoothtasting green and black teas produced by the McArthurs.

Step 4 — For green tea, spread leaves out on a flat surface and allow a brief 1- to 2-hour withering period. Then, working with small batches, steam each batch for 3 minutes apiece using a bamboo steamer or your preferred method for steaming vegetables. Steaming stops the oxidation process, preserving the green color of the leaves.

Step 5 — Remove leaves from steamer and put them in a salad spinner. Use the spinner to remove excess moisture from the leaves. Take the spun leaves out and spread them on a flat surface to air dry, about 30 minutes. Step 6 — Gather enough leaves to form a manageable-sized ball. In a large bowl, using gentle pressure, roll the ball of leaves around the sides of the bowl to break down the leaves’ cell walls, about 10 minutes. Because the oxidation process was halted by steaming, the leaves will remain green. Step 7 — For both green and black teas, work in small batches, placing the rolled leaves on the shelves of a dehydrator heated to 185 to 210 degrees. Begin checking leaves after 30 minutes to ensure they are not burning. Continue dehydrating the leaves for 30 minutes, checking regularly. Leaves should be fully dry, not burnt. (You can also use an oven, heated to the same temperature, with the leaves placed on baking sheets.) Step 8 — Remove leaves from the dehydrator (or oven) and place them in a bowl, uncovered, for a minimum of 2 hours. It is imperative the leaves be completely dry — no one wants a container of moldy leaves! Afterwards, put the dried leaves into an airtight container and store in a dark place.

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WONDER

KIDS From the classroom to the swimming pool and everywhere in between, Bay-area teens continue to shine. Here, meet 12 such youngsters setting out to make their mark on the world.

REGINALD TURNER JR. Recent graduate W.P. Davidson High School Dancer

F WHY HE ROCKS Reggie has come a long way from dancing in his aunt’s lap as a baby; he has performed for Mobile Ballet, Sheffield’s School of Dance and Davidson High School’s “Kinetics Dance Company.” He was also named the Teen and Senior Male National Champion at the West Coast Dance Explosion competition. Reggie is preparing to enroll at the Juilliard School for dance, one of the most prestigious dance schools in the world. “I enjoy the constantly evolving and innovative environment that dance provides,” he says. F OFF THE STAGE During his much-needed downtime, Reggie enjoys thrifting clothes, checking out local nature trails and driving around Mobile while listening to music. F FUTURE PLANS Reggie’s dream is to tour or choreograph with a ballet / contemporary dance company while exploring the world and to someday perform on Broadway. F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My parents work so hard to support me with everything I need,” Reggie says, “and they are the most loving, supportive people. Their love for me and God is an amazing influence to be around.”

text by BRECK PAPPAS • photos by MATTHEW COUGHLIN

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ISABELLA MCCORMICK Recent graduate Bayside Academy Literary Mascot

F WHY SHE ROCKS As the mascot for her Bayside Admirals, Isabella clearly has no hesitation about being in the spotlight. That’s a good thing because she has proven herself to be well-worth the attention; as a performer with the Eastern Shore Repertory Theater, she has played such roles as the Wicked Witch from “The Wizard of Oz,” Scar from “The Lion King” and a lead role for the Junior Theatre Festival’s New Works Showcase in California (before a crowd of 6,000). F OFF THE STAGE With a passion for writing, Isabella served as editor-inchief of Bayside’s journalism club, co-editor-in-chief of the literary magazine and has taken a summer writing class at Rhodes College. F FUTURE PLANS Isabella is preparing to enroll at Davidson College in North Carolina. Ever curious, she’s excited to begin taking classes across every discipline. F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My biggest influence would be all of the people who have served as my leaders over the years,” Isabella says. “Whether that’s my theater director, my parents or my teachers, they have molded me into a better person who is now capable of replicating their leadership.”

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IYANA JOHNSON 12th Grade W.P. Davidson High School Track Star

F WHY SHE ROCKS Asked if she’s naturally competitive, Iyana doesn’t hesitate: “Yes. It’s who I am.” That competitive drive is what carried her to a 7A state championship in the triple jump, a runner-up spot in the shot put and the honor of being named the Mobile Optimist Club’s 7A track and field athlete of the year. “It’s a mindset,” Iyana explains of her determination to succeed. “I just like to see myself progress.” F OFF THE TRACK The track star can also be found on the basketball court as a power forward for the Warriors. When not competing, Iyana says she just likes spending time with her friends and family. F FUTURE PLANS Iyana hopes to continue her track and field career in college, where she plans to pursue her interest in radiology. “I’m fascinated by the idea of interpreting X-rays of the human body,” she says. When asked about the most influential educators in her life, Iyana explains, “I can’t really name one teacher because I know they all believe in me and want me to succeed.” F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My mom is the biggest influence in my life right now,” Iyana says, “because she wants what’s best for me and keeps pushing me hard.”

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GRACE GREENWOOD 12th Grade McGill-Toolen High School Classical Singer

F WHY SHE ROCKS At the age of 5, it became clear that Grace had music in her soul when, during dance lessons, she was more enthusiastic about belting out the tune of the music than hitting all the moves. Now, Grace is president of McGill’s Chamber Singers and serves as a cantor at St. Dominic and St. Matthew’s parishes. “When I say singing is my life, I really do mean it,” she says. F OFF THE STAGE Grace will not only serve as senior class president; she was recently named the Distinguished Young Woman of Mobile County and will represent Mobile in January for the statewide competition. F FUTURE PLANS Grace hopes to study music education at either Belmont University or the University of Southern Miss. “I have a teacher’s heart,” she says, “and that’s been pretty clear to me from a young age.” F BIGGEST INFLUENCE The biggest influence in her life, Grace says, has been her parents and her parish, Saint Dominic Catholic Church. “I know I always have a home at St. Dominic.”

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MADDUX BRUNS Recent graduate UMS-Wright Preparatory School Top-ranked Pitcher

F WHY HE ROCKS Maddux, the state of Alabama’s reigning Mr. Baseball, says he doesn’t get nervous on the mound anymore. “I’ve been doing it for so long,” he explains. The lefty started playing baseball at age 5 and has attracted national attention for his efficiency on the mound. With the help of a 99-mph fastball, Maddux was named the 5A Pitcher of the Year, 5A Player of the Year and the Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year. F OFF THE MOUND When taking his mind off baseball, Maddux likes to hunt, play golf and take it easy at the beach. F FUTURE PLANS In July, Maddux was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers as the 29th pick of the 2021 MLB draft. He is only the second player from Mobile or Baldwin County to be drafted in the first round right out of high school. F BIGGEST INFLUENCE Maddux says he is thankful for his parents, who have always been supportive in all things life and baseball. “My dad has always coached me and showed me how to play the game the right way.”


JOE SOLOMON 11th Grade Fairhope High School Drama King

F WHY HE ROCKS Joe found the theater early in life, taking on the role of the dog catcher in “Annie Jr.” at the Eastern Shore Repertory Theater at the age of 7. Since then, he has played such iconic roles as Mufasa in “The Lion King,” Bert in “Mary Poppins” and, most recently, the Tinman in “The Wizard of Oz.” Joe also participated in Junior Theater Academy, Europe, an elite group of actors chosen to perform overseas, and was also a part of the first ever Zoomsical (a musical over Zoom). F OFF THE STAGE The National Honor Society member is also involved in student government and works at the Fairhope Inn. Ever the creative, Joe unwinds from the stage by sketching, playing piano and reading. F FUTURE PLANS Though college is a couple years away, Joe hopes to study musical theater at either NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Carnegie-Mellon or the University of Michigan. F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My mom is my best friend and has always encouraged me to be myself,” Joe says. “She encourages me to chase my dreams and loves me unconditionally.”

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NYLA M. REISS 12th Grade LeFlore High School Entrepreneur at Law

F WHY SHE ROCKS Nyla has been an entrepreneur since elementary school, where she sold homemade jewelry to classmates. At 16, she started her own hair product and styling business, L.Michelle Virgin Hair. “I love anything related to hair,” she says, “especially weave!” Nyla is also a star in the classroom, having held a top-10 class ranking since freshman year. This summer, she is an intern with the Mobile County DA’s office, which she describes as “one of the best experiences.” F OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM As a varsity cheerleader, Nyla is also able to pursue her love of dance. The SGA and National Honor Society member doesn’t take herself too seriously: “If I’m not doing hair, I’m somewhere in my house dancing and blasting music.” F FUTURE PLANS Nyla hopes to pursue a law degree and would love to someday open her own practice. F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My biggest influence would be my parents,” Nyla says. “My father has been an entrepreneur since I was born, so he encourages me with business. My mother has always influenced me academically.”

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KATELYN FOSTER 10th Grade Baker High School Golf Whiz

F WHY SHE ROCKS F Although she’s only beginning her sophomore year, Katelyn is ranked 15th overall in the state and has made the girls 1A – 7A All County Golf Team three years in a row. This past year, she won the MCPSS County Championship and reached the top ranking for the class of 2024. Did we mention she’s also ranked 2nd academically in her class of 741? F OFF THE COURSE When the spikes are off, Katelyn likes reading, going to the beach and bingeing a good Netflix series. F FUTURE PLANS “In the future, I hope to play golf in college,” Katelyn says. “That’d be a great reward after all the hard work I have, and will, put into the sport.” F BIGGEST INFLUENCE Katelyn says her parents are her biggest influences — dad for introducing her to golf and mom for her fighting spirit. “When I was in 7th grade, she was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Katelyn says. “She was so strong during all of her treatments and surgeries, and now she is cancer-free.” Katelyn uses a breast cancer awareness ball marker every round in honor of her mother.

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BENNETT KATZ 12th Grade McGill-Toolen High School Sports Broadcaster

F WHY HE ROCKS As a member of the sports broadcasting class at McGill, Bennett can be heard passionately calling games for the yellowjackets on McT Live. The SGA president says the key to successful broadcasting, and leadership, is preparation: “You’ve got to study the rosters and know information about each team that the average fan might not know.” The Nappienominated broadcaster (alongside the likes of Eli Gold and Lee Shirvanian) isn’t confined to the microphone; Bennett was an all-county cross country runner in 2020. F OUTSIDE THE BOOTH A St. Thomas Aquinas Scholar, Bennett also plays the piano and enjoys boating trips with his family to Dauphin Island. F FUTURE PLANS Though college is still a year away, Bennett says he might be interested in pursuing the STEM pathway to the MBA at Alabama. This summer, he’s learning the finer points of construction under his grandfather, Robert Dueitt. F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My grandmother, Ann Dueitt, is one of the hardest working people I know,” Bennett says. “She is also a great storyteller and could be a reason why I found interest in broadcasting.”

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DAVID BROWN Recent graduate St. Paul’s Episcopal School Scout Mathematician

F WHY HE ROCKS David entered the scouting program in the first grade. Along the way, he’s hiked across the country, honed his skills in leadership and completed a two-year Eagle Scout project; David developed a smartphonebased tour system for the historic Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island. The National Merit Commended Scholar was also heavily involved in the theater and served as president of the robotics club. F OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM In his spare time, David enjoys scuba diving and working with computers. Math is a driving interest, inside and outside of the classroom: “Math has a level of elegance and beauty that is near impossible to find in other subjects.” F FUTURE PLANS David will soon enroll at Harvard College, where he plans to study applied mathematics. His dream is to work for NASA, specifically on the team developing Mars exploration systems. F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My sister Leah has been the biggest influence throughout my life,” David says. “She’s someone I’ve always strived to be like. I can always count on her, and I am so grateful to have her as a sister.”

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ANDREW FOUTY Recent graduate St. Michael Catholic High School Swim Smarts

F WHY HE ROCKS Andrew is a swimming star in the state of Alabama, having claimed a championship in the 100 Fly, 100 Back and 200 IM events in the 1A – 5A division. He estimates he spends about 16 hours per week in the pool. “Most people don’t realize how much time swimming takes,” Andrew says. “But I like it because it forces me to concentrate and clear my mind.” F OUTSIDE THE POOL Did we mention Andrew scored a perfect 36 on the ACT? The National Merit Finalist and valedictorian was also a member of the Scholar’s Bowl team and helped start his school’s environmental club. F FUTURE PLANS Andrew will enroll at Columbia University where he plans to study environmental engineering and be a walk-on for the swim team. “I would like to be involved in helping solve important environmental issues, through scientific research and by affecting public policy.” F BIGGEST INFLUENCE “My parents always show tremendous support for me,” Andrew says, “especially in swimming. They come to my meets, know my times and keep me from being too hard on myself when I’m disappointed in a meet.”

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PAIGE HUCKABEE 12th Grade Citronelle High School JROTC Commander

F WHY SHE ROCKS As battalion commander, Paige is the leader of the JROTC program at Citronelle, where she maintains a 4.2 GPA while taking honors and AP courses. “Most people see JROTC as just a military class,” says the National Honor Society member, “not the fun and adventurous class that I participate in every day.” One of her favorite teachers, First Sergeant John Middleton, describes Paige as “one of the best cadets to come out of Citronelle.” As a former cheerleader, Paige also credits her cheer coach Mrs. Jordan for “showing me that I had the courage to do what I loved.” F AT EASE Paige enjoys reading the histories of battles past and spending time with her family. This summer, she’s working as a lifeguard at Waterville USA. F FUTURE PLANS With hopes of attending the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Paige plans to study oceanography. “My family has always been near the ocean,” she says. “It’s basically my second home.” F BIGGEST INFLUENCE Paige’s biggest influence is her mom for her strength and dedication while raising Paige and her brother. “I aspire to be her.” MB

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Gulf Coast Cottage Living

porch play Griffith, Audrey and Sam Jr. enjoy playing games on the front porch of the home their parents have worked so hard to restore.

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text by CHRISTY REID • home photos by SUMMER ENNIS ANSLEY • portraits by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

Inside the doors of the Dorgan-Winter home, you will find a bustling young family and a meticulously updated and decorated interior. But it hasn’t always been this way. The restored historic home, with its beautiful furnishings and warm family atmosphere, were a longtime dream of Hartley and Sam Winter’s. For the last 10 years, they have worked to bring their 153-year-old-home up to date and back to life.

picture perfect

A portrait of Audrey by Stephanie Morris hangs above the marble mantel in the formal living room, which is believed to have been salvaged from another historic home in the 1940s. When built, each of the four original rooms had wooden mantels. The fireplace accessories are from Charles Phillips Antiques and Architecturals.

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I

n 2011, with another baby on the way, Hartley and Sam Winter were outgrowing the two bedroom, one bath home they shared with daughter Audrey. Both grew up in the Port City, and Sam’s career in real estate had taken him in all the neighborhoods and in many of the homes in our charming city. But the architecture of the historic homes, the oak-lined streets and walkability of Midtown had won over their hearts. Family friends mentioned that architect Nicholas H. Holmes Jr. (late wife Nancy) was considering selling his home on South Lafayette Street. The Holmeses had owned the home for nearly 50 years and had raised their three children, Nicholas H. Holmes III, Mary Emilie Acklen and Andrew H. Holmes, there. Sam and Hartley toured the house and knew they had found exactly what they were looking for — a place full of history with plenty of space for their growing family. Needful of renovations, the house would also give them the opportunity to revitalize while still incorporating their own style. The home was built in 1868 by the Dorgan family who developed Lafayette Street. In November 1976, the house was listed on The National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior and the Alabama Historical Commission. The State of Alabama has designated it “Live in a Landmark.” On October 20, 1991, the home was featured in a New York Times article entitled “History Preserved in Mobile, Alabama.”

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Along with the keys, the Holmes family handed over a priceless notebook full of documents, copies of the plat of the property, histories of past owners, pictures of the house from different periods and several articles from newspapers and magazines. Before moving in, Sam and Hartley refinished the wood floors and added fresh coats of paint, but then the renovation came to a halt. Sam Jr. was born in 2012, and soon after, Sam Sr. began his own real estate company. “It took us years to renovate because we had to shift our focus from the house to getting our company started,” says Sam, now owner of Sam gathering Winter and Company Real Estate. Audrey place and Sam, Jr. didn’t seem to mind, as the A prized buck shot by couple fondly recalls their children riding Sam Sr. hangs front and center surroundtricycles around the unfurnished dining ed by framed prints and living rooms. Since then, the family in the family room. The original 8-inchhas also welcomed Griffith to their crew. They finally returned to the renovation wide heart pine floors throughout the project, updating features and necessities original rooms, along while remaining true to the character with high ceilings of the home and using quality materials with heavy crown moldings, are some and period-appropriate details. The of the home’s historic house already had great bones. The features. The Geororiginal home included four large rooms gian walnut chest from England was connected by a gracious central hallway. found at Antiques The staircase was salvaged from a home at the Loop.


timeless dining

The Winters often host family and friends for holidays. The table, chairs and buffet are all from Aubergine Culinary Antiques. Sam Jr.’s portrait by Stephanie Morris hangs above the buffet. The chandelier was a family piece given to Hartley by her parents, Donata and Preston Griffith. Below, Hartley Winter in her living room.

cottage charm

The Mobile Historic Development Commission has characterized the home as “one of the finest and best preserved Gulf Coast cottages in the city.” The house is considered a Greek Revival style with Italianate details. Two pairs of full-length windows flank the front door, and the box-style porch is a classic.

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being dismantled Downtown and was brought to the home when the upstairs rooms were added . Then, in the 1950s and ’60s, the kitchen and master bedroom were added. The Winters made changes to the master bath area, and a wall was torn down to make space for a bigger kitchen, but the home’s overall layout remained the same. When construction was complete, they selected original art by local artists for their walls and filled their rooms with antiques, furniture and decor from local shops. In 2018, the home turned 150 years old. The renovations and decorating were completed just in time for the home to be featured in the 49th Annual Historic Homes Tour. In March 2018, the couple held a 150th anniversary celebration at the home. The Holmes family, along with the contractor, designer, decorator, and landscaper, as well as artists, dignitaries and friends gathered to see the finished product and celebrate. “Between renovating our home and beginning a business, we didn’t have time to take a vacation for several years,” Sam recollects. “I’m not sure what we were thinking looking back on it, but we made it, and now we get to enjoy it.” The home always looks photo-shoot ready, but Hartley assures me they really, truly live in it.

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The kitchen is now one of their favorite rooms where they gather with family and friends almost every day. “I am the oldest of five children, and I enjoy hosting all of my family here for holidays and special family events,” says Hartley, who prepares a home-cooked meal every night unless they are up at the ballpark sitting pretty late. “Then everyone gets excited about The mahogany chest from Chick-fil-A,” she laughs. The family also spends time together at Antiques at the Loop is one of home watching movies or playing games in Hartley’s favorite the family room. Outside you may find the pieces in the kids having fun in their big backyard or home. Dear friend and artist the family gathered on the porch swinging, Brad Robertson playing and sipping beverages. The prime created the location allows them to take family bike painting above rides to favorite spots around Midtown the chest, bringing a bright and Downtown. pop of blue to “One thing I hope our kids will natural tones remember about growing up in this home in the formal living room. is that you have to preserve and maintain an historic home so the next generation can enjoy it like we have,” Sam says. “These beautiful historic homes aren’t being built anymore, so they must be taken care of.” MB


around the table When the couple purchased the home, there was a small den next to the kitchen. They took down the wall to enlarge the kitchen and allow space for this fruitwood farm table, circa 1830s France, that the couple purchased from Plantation Antique Galleries. The oak chairs, circa 1920s England, were also found there. “It was the best decision I could have made,” Hartley says about removing the wall to allow for an eat-in kitchen. “I am the oldest of five. I know families gather in the kitchen, and I wanted plenty of room.” The painting is by Sharon Heggeman.

bright and clean

Plenty of natural light streams in the double windows above the farmhouse sink in the kitchen. Floral shades bring pattern to the all white kitchen. The large center island welcomes family conversation.

layers of history

The home was originally built as a one-story, with the attic space finished out in the 1940s. The staircase was salvaged from a home being dismantled Downtown and was reconstructed in the center hall.

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bedroom blues Hues of blue mix with a floral print to create a blend of feminine and masculine styles. The former owners enclosed a back porch that once adjoined the bedroom, adding a fireplace and windows with old glass panes to keep the historic look and feel. Below, Sam and Griffith (age 4) play cards in the den.

all-american dreaming

pretty in pink

Hartley’s childhood bed anchors Griffith’s bedroom, decorated in red, white and blue. “I love red in a little boy’s room,” she says. Her boys love American flags, and she searched for an American flag pillow to tie in the red lamps. The score from Pottery Barn was a big hit with Griffith.

Hartley wanted to create a room that would grow with Audrey. A mix of florals and pink and white stripes makes a statement but also creates a classic style for a girl’s room. “Audrey” by Sarah Otts hangs above her bookshelves. The Copley queen bed is from Atchison Home.

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How has your practice grown?

For more than 30 years, our team of fellowship-trained, board-certified surgeons and experienced clinical staff have been committed to providing each patient with leading-edge orthopaedic care in an environment where each individual and their family members are given time to ask questions and discuss their concerns. Our physicians specialize in the treatment and care of issues of the neck and spine; shoulder; hand and upper extremity; foot and ankle; knee and hip; work and sports medicine injuries. With patient-centered care and convenience in mind, we offer on-site MRI and digital X-ray service, physical therapy services, urgent orthopaedic care, as well as telehealth appointments.

Our practice was founded in 1989. Our current medical team includes 10 orthopaedic physicians, seven nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and three full time physical therapists. We have grown with specialized clinics including The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint, The Center for Sports Medicine, The Shoulder Center at Baldwin Bone & Joint and The Osteo Health Clinic at Baldwin Bone & Joint. Our vision for the future is to continue to build our practice with a team of sub-specialty trained surgeons who provide multi-specialty orthopaedic services covering all facets of orthopaedic care, residents of the Eastern Shore, Baldwin County and Mobile County to receive quality care near home.

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Welcome, Allison Hunter, M.D. Fellowship-Trained in Hand and Upper Extremity Issues

Baldwin Bone & Joint is pleased to introduce orthopaedic surgeon Allison Hunter, M.D. Dr. Hunter’s goal is to provide excellent patient care by understanding the problem, reaching the correct diagnosis, and engaging each patient in the treatment approach that is right for that individual. She describes the process as being a dialogue, working together to achieve the same goal: getting the patient back to the activities they enjoy.

“I TRULY VALUE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP PERSONAL CONNECTIONS WITH PATIENTS AND TO HELP IMPROVE THEIR LIVES. I’M INTERESTED IN EVERY PATIENT’S STORY AND LEARNING ABOUT THEIR SPECIFIC NEEDS AND GOALS.” — Allison Hunter, M.D.

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Cardiology Associates Cardiac Electrophysiologists — Dr. Robbie Robichaux, Dr. Jordan Chaisson, Dr. Chance Witt, Dr. Matthew Quin and Dr. Scott Kirby ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY (EP) IS A CARDIAC SUB-SPECIALTY FOCUSING ON THE TIMING OR ELECTRICAL SYSTEM OF THE HEART, AND IN THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF IRREGULAR HEARTBEATS OR ARRHYTHMIAS.

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ince 1985, the physicians of Cardiology Associates have provided comprehensive heart care for residents along the Gulf Coast. Our team of 30 fellowship-trained cardiologists includes five board certified cardiac electrophysiologists expertly trained to navigate the complexities of irregular heartbeats and heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation or Afib. These cardiologists provide unmatched experience and access to the latest diagnostic and therapeutic technologies available, including advanced imaging using cardiac computed tomography, to deliver the highest quality patient care in the area. Beginning with a thorough patient evaluation and diagnosis, patients have access to treatments that may include advanced medical therapies, minimally invasive ablation procedures with cutting edge 3-D computerized mapping, or implantation of rhythm modification devices, such as pacemakers or defibrillators. Our electrophysiology team is supported by a highly trained and caring staff and fully equipped state-of-the-art cath labs at hospitals in Mobile, Fairhope, and Foley. The expertise offered by the combination of physicians, staff and latest technologies provides patients along the Gulf Coast the ability to remain close to home while receiving the most advanced heart rhythm treatment in the nation.

CARDIOLOGY ASSOCIATES Mobile — Fairhope — Foley Atmore, Jackson, Chatom, AL Lucedale, MS 251-607-9797 cardassoc.com/arrhythmia-center

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LEFT TO RIGHT: DR. ROBBIE ROBICHAUX, DR. JORDAN CHAISSON, DR. CHANCE WITT, DR. MATTHEW QUIN AND DR. SCOTT KIRBY


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

ADHD Medical Clinic DR. ALMAND WESTBROOK AND DR. KIMBERLY WESTBROOK ARE DEDICATED TO PROVIDING QUALITY CARE TO ADULTS AND ADOLESCENTS WITH ADHD IN MOBILE AND BALDWIN COUNTIES.

What is your mission? Our goal is to help our patients achieve success by providing individualized care in a relaxed yet professional environment. What sets your practice apart? Due to the nature of ADHD, our patients require time and attention that is often difficult to provide in a primary care practice. By spending time getting to know our patients’ unique lifestyles we can determine the best treatment plan for each individual person. How do you make sure your patients get the best care? We combine state of the art testing and clinical interviews to obtain an accurate diagnosis. ADHD symptoms can vary greatly between individuals and can change throughout the lifespan. By customizing treatment plans and taking the time to listen to our patients concerns we are able to minimize the effects that their symptoms have on their everyday lives. What contributes to your success? When diagnosing and treating our patients, we learn about them as people, not just as patients. We want each patient to feel understood, and we take pride in helping them achieve success in their careers and/or education.

ADHD MEDICAL CLINIC Mobile: 2651 Old Shell Road 251-243-7058 Fairhope: 101 Lottie Lane, Unit 6 251-990-1980 ADHD-Medical.com

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Dr. Kimberly Westbrook

ADHD Medical Clinic in Fairhope

Dr. Almand Westbrook

ADHD Medical Clinic in Mobile


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Alabama Medical Group, P.C. Brandon W. Nichols, M.D., Radiologist

ALABAMA MEDICAL GROUP, P.C., HAS PROVIDED STATE-OF-THE-ART HEALTH CARE TO PATIENTS SINCE 1946 AND IS THE LARGEST INDEPENDENTLY-OWNED, MULTI-SPECIALTY PHYSICIAN CLINIC IN MOBILE.

What is your mission? My mission and the top priority of our group at Alabama Medical Group, P.C., (AMG) is to care for our patients as we would care for our own family members. How do you ensure you deliver the best care for every patient, every time? The multidisciplinary approach to patient care demonstrated at AMG allows the best care possible for each patient. The addition of advanced imaging to this team furthers that approach by allowing us to provide the most quality service to our patients more quickly and at a lower out-ofpocket cost than we previously could. What do you envision for the future of your industry? Radiology has always been one of the most obvious areas where technology merges with health care. I envision the future of radiology will include more technological advances, allowing more non-invasive or minimally invasive ways to diagnose and treat patients.

ALABAMA MEDICAL GROUP, P.C. 101 Memorial Hospital Drive, Suite 200 251-414-5900 alabamamedicalgroup.org

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

AltaPointe Health / Accordia Health Julie Burke Bellcase, MBA, Vice President of Operations

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ulie Burke Bellcase, vice president of operations at AltaPointe Health, received her bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of South Alabama. Throughout her long career with AltaPointe Health, she has served in various leadership roles, including chief operating officer, prior to her current assignment. AltaPointe Health is a large healthcare system, providing primary and behavioral health care. Each year it renders more than 1 million services to 45,000 patients across Alabama. A national leader in behavioral health for more than 60 years, AltaPointe Health expanded its service array in 2018 to include primary care. Now focusing on the whole health of the patient, AltaPointe Health operates Accordia Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center with four clinic sites. Rounding out the healthcare continuum, AltaPointe Health operates two psychiatric hospitals serving children and adults, 20 outpatient behavioral healthcare clinics and BayView Professional Associates, its private practice arm serving southwest Alabama. Its team of 28 physicians and 16 physician extenders renders the medical care services throughout the organization and serves as the administration and faculty for the University of South Alabama, College of Medicine - Department of Psychiatry.

ALTAPOINTE HEALTH / ACCORDIA HEALTH 5750-A Southland Drive 251-450-2211 altapointe.org

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates Peter “Trey” Pluscht III, M.D. “THE CONFIDENCE AND EMPATHY THAT HE EXUDES MAKES YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FEEL AT EASE. DR. PLUSCHT IS A GIFT TO OUR COMMUNITY, TRULY.” — Michelle Ramsey, patient

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eter “Trey” Pluscht III, M.D., is a compassionate and dedicated cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon. A native of Elberta, Ala., Dr. Pluscht has served patients in the Gulf Coast region for 26 years. In addition to being the area leader for open heart surgery in Baldwin County, he is classified as one of the busiest cardiovascular surgeons in America. Dr. Pluscht is board-certified in general, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery and is a senior partner with Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates the leaders for cardio-vascular surgery. Founded in 1971, Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates is comprised of 10 of the area’s finest board-certified physicians and cares for patients in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

CARDIO-THORACIC AND VASCULAR SURGICAL ASSOCIATES Mobile: 1855 Springhill Avenue Fairhope: 188 Hospital Drive Foley: 1770 North Alston 251-471-3544 ctvsa.org

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Gulf Orthopaedics

DR. RUSSELL D. GOODE, DR. CLAYTON G. LANE, DR. GRANT ZARZOUR, DR. GRANT M. SHELL, DR. MICHAEL GRANBERRY PHOTO BY TONI RIALES

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ulf Orthopaedics, the area’s newest orthopaedic clinic, is a collaboration with the area’s leading orthopaedic specialists and Infirmary Health, Alabama’s largest not-for-profit, non-governmental health system. Together, Gulf Orthopaedics’ experienced and trusted physicians provide the latest, most cutting-edge surgical and non-surgical treatment methods, specializing in trauma and sports medicine, shoulder replacement, hip replacement, knee replacement and foot-ankle treatment. With more than 90 years of combined experience in orthopaedics, this new partnership affirms Infirmary Health’s position as the FIRST CHOICE for health care in the Gulf Coast region.

GULF ORTHOPAEDICS Mobile: 1700 Springhill Avenue, 3rd floor Mobile: 831-C Hillcrest Road Saraland: 95 Shell Street 251-435-BONE (2663) • gulfortho.com

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“WE ARE EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THIS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH SOME OF THE BEST ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEONS ALONG THE GULF COAST. INFIRMARY HEALTH’S VISION IS TO BE THE FIRST CHOICE FOR HEALTH CARE IN THE GULF COAST REGION, AND PARTNERSHIPS LIKE THIS HELP US ACHIEVE THAT VISION.”

— Mark Nix, President & CEO, Infirmary Health


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Pulmonary Associates of Mobile Scott Saucier, M.D.

“DR. SAUCIER LEADS ONE OF THE LARGEST PULMONARY GROUPS IN THE COUNTRY. HE HAS EACH PATIENT’S INTEREST AT THE HEART OF EVERY DECISION HE MAKES.” — Joseph Zurfluh, CEO Pulmonary Associates of Mobile

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cott Saucier, M.D., was one of the original three physicians that comprised the newly founded Pulmonary Associates in 1980. He is the longest-serving of the group’s physicians and has been the president of Pulmonary Associates for over 20 years. Pulmonary Associates has grown to be one of the largest pulmonary groups in the country and remains independent of hospital control. Many groups are owned by hospitals, which may influence the decisions that a physician can make for a patient. Pulmonary Associates physicians remain free to act in the best interest of their patients. Dr. Saucier, as well as the rest of the group, consistently provide increased access to chronically ill patients to keep them well and provide a high quality of life. He and his partners have also brought the latest technology to Mobile for the diagnosis of lung disease.

PULMONARY ASSOCIATES OF MOBILE lungmds.com

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Saad Healthcare Phillip Fulgham, Vice President of Hospice

Why did you choose to work in the healthcare sector? I chose the healthcare sector because the work is meaningful, both in making an impact in our community and within our team. Our family has served this area through health care for over 50 years, and I find tremendous purpose in knowing we have the opportunity to serve as a family business for another 50 years. What do you envision for the future of your industry? Our industry continues to become consolidated by larger and larger entities. This trend is concerning as things become less localized and more centralized and corporatized. However, that produces the opportunity for a company like ours to present a vision that puts the experience of the patient and family at the forefront. It is my hope that over time that vision, if executed well, will prove the one that endures. What sets your business apart? First, we make our faith in God and its significance to the way we operate our business primary. Second, we embrace our family business ethos and feel in a way it’s counterculture to so much of the way business has evolved. In short, I think the fact we are family- and locally-owned means we can hear the needs of our community and respond to those needs quickly and effectively.

SAAD HEALTHCARE 1515 South University Boulevard 251-380-3810 SaadHealthcare.com

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Southern Cancer Center Brittany Case, M.D.

SOUTHERN CANCER CENTER IS EXCITED TO WELCOME DR. BRITTANY CASE, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST, TO OUR PRACTICE, NOW ACCEPTING PATIENTS IN MOBILE AND BALDWIN COUNTIES.

Why did you choose to work in the healthcare sector? I’ve known I wanted to be a physician since high school, but in my second year of residency, I fell in love with oncology. The science and pathophysiology of cancer and its treatment are so interesting and unique; with more targeted therapies continually being discovered. However, the patients are truly what drew me in, building relationships with them and their families during a vulnerable time. What are you most proud of as a leader and why? Being a great leader means showing humility and respect. Growing up, respect for others was something always instilled in me. As a leader in health care, one of the most important things you can do is show respect for everyone on the treatment team. The input of the patient and their family, the nurses, pharmacists and support staff are all invaluable. What is your mission? I hate cancer. It knows no boundaries and doesn’t care about the plans you have for your life. It’s not lost on me how much trust a person puts in their oncology team. It’s personal. I want to be the one people turn to for help in their fight.

SOUTHERN CANCER CENTER 6 Locations in Mobile and Baldwin Counties 251-625-6896 SouthernCancerCenter.com

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Springhill Medical Center Women’s Diagnostic Center Team

THE WOMEN’S DIAGNOSTIC CENTER TEAM RENDERS THE BEST CARE POSSIBLE FOR PATIENTS, PROVIDING THE HIGHEST QUALITY IMAGING TECHNOLOGY WITH COMFORTABLE SPA-LIKE SURROUNDINGS.

What do you envision for the future?

What sets your business apart?

As mammography services advance, Springhill Medical Center will continue to offer the best in screening and diagnostic technology, with the most experienced professional team in the mammography field.

Springhill leadership has always been supportive of our team’s suggestions and ideas. When we want to update technology or processes to benefit our patients, we are met with a can-do attitude at every step, from planning to completion of these projects. Our team of professionals are the best in their field. Every patient is offered the best clinical care possible with kindness and compassion.

How do you ensure your team delivers the best care for every patient, every time? The Women’s Diagnostic Center at Springhill Medical Center was the first to offer digital mammography in our area for faster, more defined images. Our patients know that Springhill prioritizes quality when offering important, life-saving exams. Springhill has always been a leader in offering the latest technology that delivers greater comfort for our patients and the best quality imaging.

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SPRINGHILL MEDICAL CENTER 3719 Dauphin Street • 251-344-9630 SpringhillMedicalCenter.com


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

University of Mobile College of Health Professions T

he University of Mobile College of Health Professions prepares graduates for the healthcare jobs of today and tomorrow with new and expanded degree programs, including the first and only Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program in a four-state region. This fully accredited 36-month program for students on a path to becoming Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists started August 2021 with its inaugural class. Applications are being accepted now for the second cohort that begins August 2022. Whether you are just beginning your career in healthcare or a seasoned professional looking to advance your career, the University of Mobile College of Health Professions has a program for you with small classes, caring professors, and a Christ-centered environment. Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees are offered in the School of Nursing, School of Nurse Anesthesia, and School of Health and Sports Science. New facilities include the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice with state-of-the-art simulators and comprehensive learning experiences. Learn more at umobile.edu/ healthcare. Apply today at umobile. edu/apply.

“OUR NEW DOCTOR OF NURSE ANESTHESIA PRACTICE PROGRAM IS THE MOST RECENT ADDITION TO OUR COLLEGE OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS AND IS THE FIRST IN A FOUR-STATE REGION.” — Lonnie A. Burnett, Ph.D., President, University of Mobile

UNIVERSITY OF MOBILE COLLEGE OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS 5735 College Parkway 251-442-2222 umobile.edu

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute W

hen it came to choosing a career path, the choice to work in healthcare was clear for Dr. Martin Heslin and Theresa McLaughlin. Both finding their niche in oncology, Dr. Heslin and Theresa have been a crucial part of revolutionizing cancer care at Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI) by implementing patient-centered cancer care, multidisciplinary treatment, same-day results and championing innovative technologies. Working in cancer care is never an easy task. However, Dr. Heslin and Theresa are dedicated to maintaining a positive attitude. Theresa recognizes that cancer care is close to the hearts of every employee at MCI, and that each person has been touched by cancer in some way. Because of this, Theresa is proud of how the team at MCI works together to create lifelong relationships with patients, and these relationships are what make the job so rewarding. Similarly, Dr. Heslin chose surgical oncology because he appreciates bringing value to operations that can cure cancer and improve the quality of life for his patients. Through the daily challenges, Dr. Heslin feels that his reward is great, and he credits this to the relationships formed through caring for patients and their families. He is proud to be part of the MCI, a place for patients and families to have easy access and world-class treatment.

“MY GOAL IS THAT IF SOMEONE IN OUR AREA HAS CANCER, THEY THINK OF THE MITCHELL CANCER INSTITUTE. WE PROVIDE THE VERY BEST CARE.” — Theresa McLaughlin

“WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT EACH PATIENT GETS TREATED THE RIGHT WAY, THE FIRST TIME.” — Dr. Marty Heslin

USA HEALTH MITCHELL CANCER INSTITUTE 1660 Spring Hill Avenue 251-410-1010 USAMCI.com

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Martin, J. Heslin, M.D., M.S.H.A.

Surgical Oncologist Director, USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute

Theresa McLaughlin

Administrative Director USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | LEADERS IN HEALTH

Westminster Village Health Services WESTMINSTER VILLAGE IS A PREMIER SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY ON THE PICTURESQUE EASTERN SHORE OF MOBILE BAY, PROVIDING AN EXTENSIVE RANGE OF LIFE-ENHANCING SERVICES

What sets your healthcare services apart?

What other features are available?

As an Acts Retirement-Life Community, Westminster Village serves residents with Loving-Kindness and conveniently provides a full range of healthcare services on one campus: short-term rehabilitation, home health, assisted living, memory care, long-term skilled care and even respite care. Residents have access to a full-time nurse practitioner with advanced clinical training and vast knowledge of senior care, plus physical, occupational and speech therapists who have specialized certifications.

OakBridge Terrace Assisted Living at Westminster Village provides newly renovated private suites and support to help residents remain as active as possible, while WillowBrooke Court, the community’s skilled care center, provides 24-hour nursing care. Both centers deliver a variety of daily activities for engagement and socialization and fitness and brain health programs. The Acts Signature Care experience also gives residents and their loved ones the freedom to participate fully in care decisions. As part of Acts Retirement-Life Communities, Westminster Village is backed by nearly 50 years of senior living experience, and as a not-for-profit, its top priority is residents’ well-being in the spirit of Loving-Kindness.

WESTMINSTER VILLAGE HEALTH SERVICES 500 Spanish Fort Boulevard, Spanish Fort 251-309-1883 • AboutActs.com/MobileBay

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EXTRAS | CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Hello, August! BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME / PHOTO BY MATTHEW COUGHLIN

SATURDAYS IN AUGUST

THROUGH AUGUST 21

THROUGH DECEMBER 31

NEW ISLAND An exhibition of work by Michelle Jones whose paintings depict predators in their natural environments.

GORDON PARKS: SEGREGATION STORY IN MOBILE, 1956 Photos document everyday activities of one Black family during segregation.

ALABAMA CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER ALABAMACONTEMPORARY.ORG

MOBILE MUSEUM OF ART MOBILEMUSEUMOFART.COM

THROUGH AUGUST 28 DISTANCES Social distance has become the new convention since 2020, but for some, social distances have been in place much longer. ALABAMA CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER ALABAMACONTEMPORARY.ORG

THROUGH SEPTEMBER 6 COSMOS 2021: ADVENTURE INTO THE UNKNOWN This experience highlights humans’ journey into the cosmos. EXPLOREUM SCIENCE CENTER EXPLOREUM.COM

SATURDAYS AT THE COOP 6 - 11 p.m. Walk the waterfront and enjoy food trucks, vendors and live music. COOPER RIVERSIDE PARK • MOBILE.ORG

AUGUST 3 RUBBER DUCKY REGATTA 10 a.m. - Noon. Thousands of “adopted” rubber duckies race to the finish line. Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House. COOPER RIVERSIDE PARK RUBBERDUCKYREGATTA.COM

AUGUST 5 SWEET SUMMER SERIES: ROMAN STREET 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Bring a chair and enjoy the guitar duo performance. CATHEDRAL SQUARE DOWNTOWNMOBILE.ORG

AUGUST 6 FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK 6 - 8 p.m. Enjoy dinner from food vendors and peruse rows of fine art. DOWNTOWN FAIRHOPE FAIRHOPEAL.GOV

THROUGH DECEMBER 31 HISTORY OF MOBILE IN 22 OBJECTS Twenty-two unexpected and compelling objects weave together over 300 years of Mobile history, from the pre-Colonial era to the 21st-century port. HISTORY MUSEUM OF MOBILE HISTORYMUSEUMOFMOBILE.COM

FRIDAYS IN AUGUST STREETS ALIVE! 6 - 10 p.m. Dauphin Street will be closed to traffic, allowing for a memorable night of outdoor dining and strolling. LODA ARTS DISTRICT DOWNTOWNMOBILE.ORG

AUGUST 6 FOUNDER’S DAY AT BELLINGRATH In honor of Mr. Bellingrath’s Birthday, admission to the Gardens is free to all Mobile and Baldwin County residents on this date! (Please be prepared to show proof of residence.) BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME BELLINGRATH.ORG

AUGUST 6 ALABAMA: 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR 7:30 p.m. The legendary country group will be joined by guest Martina McBride. THE WHARF AMPHITHEATER • ALWHARF.COM

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AUGUST 6 - 8

AUGUST 12

AUGUST 19

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST A musical fantasy brought to life that every family will want to see.

SWEET SUMMER SERIES: WATER BALLOON BATTLE OF MOBILE BAY 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. This time the battle for the Bay is held on land and fought with super-soakers and water balloons.

LADY A IN CONCERT 7 p.m. The country trio takes the stage as part of their “What a Song Can Do” tour.

PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK PLAYHOUSEINTHEPARK.ORG

AUGUST 7 LIVING HISTORY CREW DRILL 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Witness history aboard the USS Alabama and the USS Drum. USS ALABAMA BATTLESHIP MEMORIAL PARK USSALABAMA.COM

THE WHARF AMPHITHEATER ALWHARF.COM

CATHEDRAL SQUARE DOWNTOWNMOBILE.ORG

AUGUST 20

AUGUST 13 THOMAS RHETT 7:30 p.m. The GRAMMY-nominated country crooner takes the stage. THE WHARF AMPHITHEATER • ALWHARF.COM

AUGUST 7 CARIBBEAN DAY Sway to the sounds of steel drums and more at this free event. OWA • VISITOWA.COM

GRAND HOTEL GOLF RESORT AND SPA GRAND1847.COM

AUGUST 13 ROLL MOBILE 6 - 9 p.m. Dust off those roller skates and head Downtown. Free.

AUGUST 20 - 21 AZALEA CITY QUILTERS’ GUILD BIENNIAL QUILT SHOW 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admire the artistry of over 300 quilts with dazzling designs. Admission: $8.

BIENVILLE SQUARE • MOBILE.ORG

AUGUST 10 CHICKASABOGUE 2-MILER 6:30 p.m. Take a quick race through one of the area’s most picturesque parks. CHICKASABOGUE PARK PORTCITYPACERS.COM

AUGUST 12 GLOW IN THE PARK SUMMER MOVIE 8 p.m. Bring blankets and a picnic for a special night out with the family. FAIRHOPERS COMMUNITY PARK FAIRHOPEAL.GOV

BEVERAGE ACADEMY: RUM, THE PIRATE JUICE 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Explore the history of rum on this tropical expedition and create a few classic cocktails: daiquiries and mojitos. Cost: $30.

AUGUST 13

ABBA SHRINE CENTER, HITT ROAD AZALEACITYQUILTERSGUILD.ORG

LODA ART WALK 6 - 9 p.m. Local art galleries, studios and shops extend their hours.

AUGUST 21

LODA ARTS DISTRICT • MOBILEARTS.ORG

DAUPHIN ISLAND SUNSET CONCERT 5:30 - 7:45 p.m. Watch the sun set to the syncopated rhythm of reggae.

CULINARY ACADEMY: JAMS, JELLIES AND BUTTERS 10 - 11:30 a.m. Learn the lost art of preserves, marmalades, jams, jellies and a multitude of nut butters. Cost: $30.

WEST END BEACH, DAUPHIN ISLAND ESCHAMBER.COM

GRAND HOTEL GOLF RESORT AND SPA GRAND1847.COM

AUGUST 15

AUGUST 21

BEVERAGE ACADEMY: RUM, THE PIRATE JUICE

COMMUNITY SAFETY DAY Greet some of the brave professionals who keep our community safe.

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OWA • VISITOWA.COM

AUGUST 26 17TH ANNUAL ARTYS The Artys is Mobile’s only arts award program that acknowledges the priceless contributions made through all realms of our arts and cultural community. THE STEEPLE ON ST. FRANCIS MOBILEARTS.ORG


JASON ALDEAN

AUGUST 27 - 28 JASON ALDEAN IN CONCERT 7:30 p.m. The country crooner, songwriter and producer performs live. THE WHARF AMPHITHEATER • ALWHARF.COM

AUGUST 27 - 29 VINTAGE MARKET DAYS 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. F, Sa. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Su. This upscale market features original art, antiques and more. THE GROUNDS • VINTAGEMARKETDAYS.COM/ MARKET/MOBILE

AUGUST 28 DAUPHIN STREET BEER FESTIVAL Grab your friends, grab your mug, and get ready to taste a bevy of brews. DAUPHIN STREET, DOWNTOWN MOBILE SPECIALEVENTSMOBILE.ORG

AUGUST 28 GEORGE LOPEZ George Lopez’s career encompasses television, film and stand-up comedy. MOBILE SAENGER THEATRE MOBILESAENGER.COM

AUGUST 28 - 29 209TH ANNIVERSARY OF FORT MIMS 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The weekend commemorates the battle between Creek Indians and settlers. FORT MIMS • FORTMIMS.ORG

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HISTORY | ARCHIVES

A History of Mobile in 22 Objects The state’s oldest college reveals the city’s unique Catholic heritage and the development of Spring Hill to the west of Mobile.

photos courtesy HISTORY MUSEUM OF MOBILE

SPRING HILL COLLEGE EXAM BOOK, 1892 text by GENTRY LANKEWICZ HOLBERT

T

he top corner of this delightful composition book, slightly dogeared, is marked with a penciled signature, “A.L. Wag.” The first page reveals the nature of the book, “Competition. October 17th Philosophers,” followed by a second page, dated 1892. The owner is Father Albert Louis Wagner, S.J., a Jesuit who taught physics, chemistry, mathematics and French at Spring Hill College from 1870 to 1900. Father Wagner’s exam book begins with the type of descriptive, problem-based question with which students are still familiar to this day: “A river whose breadth is 3,000 feet runs with a velocity of three miles-perhour, and a man swims across it, keeping always at right angles to the current, at the rate of 10 ft-per-second,” followed by questions such as “find the velocity of the current per ft per second.” Answers are included after each question, and the book

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records the names of his students, referred to as “philosophers.” When Father Wagner administered this examination, Spring Hill College was already 62 years old. The state’s very first institution of higher education, Spring Hill College was founded in 1830 by Michael Portier, the first Catholic Bishop of Mobile. Originally from France, Portier was recruited to the United States in 1817 to complete his studies for the priesthood. In 1825, Pope Leo XII selected Portier to further Catholicism and missionary work begun by the French and Spanish. Unlike most of the South, where a Catholic church was a rare sight in the 19th century, a robust Catholic population existed between Mobile and New Orleans, due to the lingering influence of the French and Spanish Catholics  —  a demographic influence felt to this day. Desiring to build a college in the new

diocese, Portier selected the hilltop site of Spring Hill for its hygienic location and its proximity to the nearby port city of Mobile. The town of Spring Hill developed independently of Mobile. One of the highest elevations in the area, it was originally a summer retreat community, established to escape the “miasma” believed to spread malaria and yellow fever. (As it happened, avoiding the low-lying swamps that surrounded Spring Hill did, in fact, reduce exposure to disease-ridden mosquitoes.) An 1891 prospectus for the college advertises the benefits to prospective students’ health: “The College of Spring Hill is built on a rising ground, five miles distant from Mobile and elevated 150 feet above the sea level. A never-failing spring at the foot of the hill, and within the College grounds, furnishes an abundant and lasting supply of water where students may safely enjoy the beneficial exercise of swimming.”


By the time the College opened in 1830, the town of Spring Hill had only just been incorporated into Mobile. Soon after, large Greek Revival homes became the preferred summer escape for wealthy Mobilians; Stewartfield, at the end of the picturesque Avenue of Oaks, is such a home. Spring Hill College has many stories. In the late 19th century, the majority of students were from Southern states; however, 14 percent were from heavily Catholic countries outside of the United States, such as Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, and Honduras. The connections to Cuba, in particular, were long-standing. In the 1850s, for example, Spring Hill College students Nemesio and Ernesto Guilló returned to their home country of Cuba, bringing baseball to Cuba and starting the first professional league. In the tough economic times that followed the Civil War, the college had more Cuban students than Alabamians. In the 20th century, Spring Hill College became one of the first Jesuit colleges in the United States to petition Rome to admit women as full-time students. That request was denied several times but became a reality in 1932. Then, when nine African-American students enrolled in 1954, Spring Hill College became the first and only integrated college in the Deep South and retained that distinction for 10 years. In his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. praised “the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.” With the discovery of his 1892 exam book, Father Wagner has become part of the story of Spring Hill College and Mobile. He is buried in the college’s cemetery, just a stone’s throw from the library where his exam book was discovered. MB

Gentry Lankewicz Holbert is the director of Library, Archives & Special Collections at Spring Hill College. She served as a Fulbright Lecturing Scholar at the Vernadsky National Library of Kyiv, Ukraine, holds an MS from Louisiana State University and recently completed an MFA in creative writing at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Opposite This delightful composition book, with Victorian cover art of a girl on a rocking horse, was discovered among unassessed materials in 2019 at Spring Hill College’s Burke Memorial Library. Priests in the late 19th century wore birettas, like this one, while teaching class. Above This sample page of the composition book contains a word problem that would be very familiar to modern students. OBJECTS ON LOAN FROM SPRING HILL COLLEGE

“A History of Mobile in 22 Objects” by various authors. Available for purchase at the History Museum of Mobile and at shoppmtpub.com. Released in conjunction with the History Museum of Mobile exhibit, this photoheavy compendium delves into the city’s history through the analysis of 22 artifacts by Mobile’s leading researchers.

 Stay tuned each month as we continue to delve into the history of objects from this fascinating exhibit.

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THE ARTS | FICTION

The Essence of Nathan Biddle Mobile native J. William Lewis talks about his debut novel, a timeless Southern coming-of-age tale that unfolds on the Alabama coast in the 1950s. interview by ANNA THORNTON and AMANDA HARTIN

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. What have you been up to since the release of your novel? Thank you for your interest in what is usually referred to as my “debut” novel, a description that suggests more to come, which may or may not be misleading. Now that I am no longer compulsively revising “The Essence of Nathan Biddle,” I am spending a lot of time answering questions about the book, far more than I could ever have anticipated. I had fatuously assumed that I could turn to other pursuits as soon as I handed the manuscript off, but I was seriously mistaken. I have inchoate ideas for a second novel, but I have done nothing other than move words around in my head. Why did you write “The Essence of Nathan Biddle”? I needed to write, and the story needed to be written. I began writing as an escape from the practice of law and, perhaps more pertinently, to present a different take on adolescent angst as described in other coming-of-age novels. Kit is the character I know and the character I could write honestly and candidly about. Kit and I spent a lot of time together in the verbal compartment of my brain. Why did you set the novel in the ’50s? I was an adolescent in that decade, and I wanted to write from experience, authentically and not hypothetically. 90 mobilebaymag.com | august 2021

The book certainly has an incredibly authentic feel. Are there places or characters that overlap with reality? If you’ve ever tried to write a story, you know that visualization is essential. The description of the coach’s office is just a description of the coach’s office at Spring Hill College, but the coach I describe is actually based on an intermediate school coach who gave every kid a nickname. My nickname just happened to be “Straw.” The dictionary was a very important component of Nathan’s childhood. The characters’ breadth of vocabulary, or rather, yours, is impressive. Did you have a similar relationship with the dictionary as a child? First, a fictional narrative, particularly first person, always requires some suspension of disbelief. Second, I was an introvert with a fairly large vocabulary. I did, in fact, have a big fat dictionary, but I usually used my little paperback. In an interview you did with the Shelf Care podcast, you mentioned the library was a sanctum for you. What role do you think libraries will play in future generations? Even in the ’50s, the library was largely “nerdsville” except for brief periods when more serious research was required of all students. The paradigm shift is that now virtually everything is available on the student’s computer. Thus, the time spent in the library by most students has shrunk sig-

nificantly. But even now, the library continues to serve the two major functions it has always served: A sanctum for people looking for solitude (a place to think in undisturbed quiet) and a source of a large number of essentially free books. Hopefully, these functions won’t ever go away. A large part of your book explores the intense emotions of a boy in his late teens and how he deals with them. Would you say this is a book for adolescents, adults or both? For those who think the “why” of their existence is relevant and even interesting, the novel offers a front-row seat to watch a hopefully sympathetic character struggle and fail to find the answers he desperately wants. One of my nephews informed me that he does not “like to think about things like that,” a clear indication that “The Essence of Nathan Biddle” is not for him or anyone who wants to block out the imponderable. Kit’s intentional isolation provides the foundation and impetus of his search for meaning, his insular approach to understanding the behavior of the people around him, and his approach to the life he has been given. These conundrums are universal, and they are as pertinent to Millennials as to any other generation. The questions of why you are and who you are lurk in the shadows of every person’s mind, even if he or she has diversions or numbing devices that allow escape or avoidance.


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When you think back to being a teen, do any particularly fond memories come to mind? If I can indulge a bit of humor, I’m sort of like Holden Caulfield in the opening lines of “The Catcher in the Rye.” I don’t really feel like getting into “my lousy childhood . . . and all that David Copperfield kind of crap.” No discussion of The Essence of Nathan Biddle would be complete without talking about the heron. Why a heron? And when in your writing process did the heron first appear? The heron showed up one summer standing in the shadows near a beach house my older brother and I owned in the 1970s. The beach house was 10 miles down Fort Morgan Road in what was then a desolate part of Gulf Shores. I saw the heron standing alone on one leg by the beach house just at the edge of the outdoor lamppost. Of course, I saw him a decade and a half after my truck wreck left me on one leg. The symbolism to me was just too perfect. Like me, the heron was alone, wary, baffled and standing on one leg, mostly in the dark. What do you hope readers will take away from the book? The truth is that the book was written for me. The book took so long to write that it is doubtful it could ever mean as much to any reader as it has to me. The journey has certainly been significant. I fully expect and hope that many readers will also love the journey.

Excerpt from “The Essence of Nathan Biddle” On the first anniversary of Nathan’s death, we went to the sea. We may have been looking for the ungraspable image that Melville said is visible in all rivers and oceans, but I didn’t see it. Maybe I wouldn’t have recognized it if it were floating like flotsam on the surface of the water. In any case, I didn’t see the image and I didn’t find the key to it all. We spent two weeks in a little cottage my mother rented, walking on the beach in solemn silence and sitting on the deck in the evenings while the sun sank into the ocean. We talked some about Nathan but not really that much. Neither of us mentioned his death. We had exhausted ourselves in hours 92 mobilebaymag.com | august 2021


of anguished fretting over a death that in any sane world was inconceivable. The ocean didn’t provide any answers but it did envelop us in an almost mystical caressing balm. The beach house stood a couple hundred yards back from the water, built on pilings among the sea oats and bordered on the beach side by a large wooden deck. At twilight, when the sun left nothing but an orange tint on the waves, the ocean flooded the deck with a pungent fragrance and gentle gusting breezes. Even in the halflight, you could see the whitecaps cascading along the line of the beach. The hush of the evening was punctuated only by the incessant, rhythmic pounding of the surf like a gigantic heart. The last night we were there, I was sitting on the deck looking absently toward the surf when I noticed a great blue heron standing alone about twenty yards from the deck. The bird stood on one leg at the edge of the area lit by the flood lamp on the beach side of the house. The wind off the ocean moved the lamppost gently to and fro, so that the ring of light on the ground moved back and forth and the solitary fowl was alternately bathed in light and sheathed in darkness. The bird never moved while I watched him. The light came and went but he just stood there looking wary and maybe perplexed. I still think about that strange, gaunt bird standing on one leg in the pulsing light. It seems unbearably sad to be totally alone and uncomprehending: The heron had no way of knowing and no one to explain why the light came and went or why the ocean throbbed and the wind moaned along the shore. I don’t worry all that much about Nathan’s death anymore, but the bizarre monopode randomly sneaks back into my mind and roosts there like a spirit from another world. Maybe because he first showed up in the summer, the hint of warm weather always invites him to return. He seems always to be lurking in the shadows but in the summer he is a constant intruder, yawking wildly if I try to elude him or chase him away. MB Excerpted from “The Essence of Nathan Biddle” © 2021 by J. William Lewis. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Greenleaf Book Group Press. All rights reserved. august 2021 | mobilebaymag.com 93


THE ARTS | LITERATURE

The Care and Feeding of Pickled Okra Writer Audrey McDonald Atkins tells us how not to eat the Southern treat.

excerpt from the book THEY CALL ME OR ANGE JUICE by AUDREY MCDONALD ATKINS

A

few years ago, I had the pleasure of traveling to New York City where, while shopping in a bookstore, I had the following exchange with the women at the register. “So where’s your accent from?” I am asked by one of the two nice ladies. I get that question a lot when I travel. “Alabama,” I say. “Have you heard of pickled okra?” says the other lady, who was previously aloof but is now breathless and excited. “Every time I think of Alabama, I think of pickled okra. My mother got some as a gift. She put it in soup.” I must not have hidden my surprise very well — that look of Excuse me. She did what with it? — because lady number one said, “Well, what are you supposed to do with it?” What indeed. When I got home from the Big Apple, I was still troubled by the thought of putting pickled okra in soup. Raw okra, sure. Pickled? Blech! Where in the world did she get

the idea to put pickled okra in soup? So I did the only natural thing — I turned to Google. I typed in, “What to do with pickled okra” and got tons of recipes to make pickled okra, but none that included it as an ingredient in a larger dish. “Uses for pickled okra” yielded the same result. “How to eat pickled okra” got me a message board, but little else new. No wonder the poor lady was so flummoxed by her gift from an Alabama friend. So here’s the skinny for anyone who has a jar of pickled okra and doesn’t know what to do with it — eat it, y’all, just eat it! Eat it right out of the jar like a kosher dill, eat it alongside a tomato sandwich and let a little of the juice run over onto your potato chips, throw that limp old green bean away and swirl it all up in a Bloody Mary, fork some onto a salad and smiggle it through some Ranch dressing. But for the love of all that twangs and drawls, y’all, please, please, pretty please don’t put pickled okra in your soup. MB

 Born and raised in Citronelle, Atkins shares stories about growing up and living in the South in her book, “They Call Me Orange Juice,” and at her blog folkwaysnowadays.com.

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HISTORY | ASK MCGEHEE

What is the history of the lost waterfront resort known as Frascati? text by TOM MCGEHEE

In the early 19th century, the bayfront immediately south of the city of Mobile held a shell-paved road lined with summer homes. In the mid-1850s, the road was improved and extended by the Shell Road Company, a private entity that installed a toll gate at the foot of Conception Street (which at one-time ended at the Bay) to offset the costs of upkeep. The drive skirted the Bay for seven miles and became a favorite with horseback riders and carriage owners. In 1866, Henry Nabring, an owner of the Battle House Hotel, purchased a 15-acre site at the end of Conception Street and dubbed it Frascati. The name was borrowed from an ancient hillside city near Rome known for its spacious villas and fountains. Another factor in Nabring’s selection of the site was the recent southward extension of the Royal Street trolley line, making the park even more accessible. In 1870, Nabring left the hotel business and was described as “Proprietor, Frascati Garden” in that year’s city directory. The following year, he sold the property and was listed as the proprietor of a South Royal Street saloon, The Railroad House. The new owner of Frascati was Martin Horst, prosperous wholesale grocer, liquor dealer and owner of the City Exchange Saloon on Conti Street. Horst would serve as Mobile’s mayor in 1871. Horst’s success in business allowed him to build a grand mansion in Mobile and obtain a spacious bayfront summer home adjoining Frascati. It was Horst who oversaw the enlargement and improvement of Frascati and turned it

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Above An image of the toll booth that was located on Bay Shell Road, the 7-mile stretch along the Bay that was once home to Frascati. PHOTO COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

into the area’s premier entertainment park with large trees, a dance pavilion, an open-air theater, long wharf and baseball park. A popular restaurant supplied food and drinks to the crowds.

A Summer Favorite Frascati flourished in the 1880s. Theaters closed for the summers in Mobile at the time, so the open-air location was ideal for a wide array of well-known performers traveling around the U.S. As the crowd enjoyed a Bay breeze, they might watch a new Gilbert and Sullivan operetta or a more serious dramatic performance. In between were regular Sunday afternoon band concerts. On a hot June evening in 1882, Irish-born poet, playwright and author

Oscar Wilde stopped in Mobile on his American tour. With Mobile’s theaters closed for the season, Frascati was the only choice for the celebrity’s visit, and it was widely advertised. The Irishman was known for his odd attire and ideas, and he did not disappoint. His subject for the evening was “Decorative Art,” and he condemned “bad wallpapers, meaningless chandeliers and horse-hair sofas” to a puzzled audience filled with owners of all three. He left them with this advice: “Bad art is worse than no art at all.” Although some have cited Frascati as drawing a more elite clientele, there are references to horse-drawn trolleys overflowing with noisy, overheated fans headed to baseball games. But


not everyone was happy with the park’s popularity. At least one Baptist congregation condemned the idea of playing baseball at Frascati on Sundays.

The Fun Comes to a Sad End Frascati passed out of the Horst family by 1888, and the park was enjoyed until an October day in 1893 when a hurricane destroyed the property and washed away Bay Shell Road. The company that operated the road never turned much of a profit, so it was never rebuilt. In February of 1894, the Mobile Register reported that the Frascati property had been sold to a Detroit developer who planned to build a hotel on the site, but none ever appeared. “Frascati Park and Baseball Grounds” was listed in Mobile’s city directories in 1894 and 1895 but disappears after that issue. Nearby Monroe Park, with all its attractions and baseball park, was too big a draw. And it was directly connected to all of Mobile by the owner’s electric trolley system. In 1898, the new Mobile, Jackson and Kansas City Railroad bought the land and built their railroad repair shops on it. The former Horst home was used as a residence but was later converted to office space. Over the years, that building was modified and modernized by subsequent owners of the line until it was termed obsolete, finally meeting wreckers in 2010. Today, this very industrial area would be unrecognizable to Wilde or any of the thousands of 19th century Mobilians who once sought a summer breeze and entertainment. MB

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END PIECE | BACKSTORY

Signs of the Time Photo courtesy Erik Overbey Collection, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama

“The boys dressed themselves, hid their accoutrements, and went off grieving that there were no outlaws any more, and wondering what modern civilization could claim to have done to compensate for their loss. They said they would rather be outlaws a year in Sherwood Forest than President of the United States forever.” – excerpt from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain

ALTHOUGH THE PHOTO BELOW IS UNDATED, it does a pretty good job of timestamping itself somewhere in the late 1920s or early 1930s. For starters, the car’s body style (seen far right) is more boxy than the aerodynamic shapes that followed in the ’30s, and the motorcycle has the iconic teardrop-shaped gas tank that Harley-Davidson introduced around 1925. (It is difficult to tell if the steel horse has front brakes, a feature the manufacturer added in 1928.) Perhaps the most telling “signs of the time” are the signs themselves. Both Baby Ruth candy bars and NuGrape soda were developed in 1921. Smith’s Bakery, opened by Gordon Smith at the turn of the 20th century, used the slogan “For Goodness Sake” through at least 1930, as evidenced by ads run in newspapers along the Gulf. Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale peaked in popularity around 1927, and its sign located along the top of the building touts, “Keep Healthy,” a nod to the drink’s ability to soothe upset stomachs. Maybe the most telling sign of all is the one for Chero. The beverage was known as “Chero-Cola” until the early 1920s when pressured by Coca-Cola to drop “cola” from its name. Chero’s sales declined, and in 1925, the company reemerged with a new drink, fruit-flavored Nehi, mentioned twice on the building.

Though nearly illegible, this appears to read “Crawford.” Could this have been the Crawford Grocery Store that was located on Randolph Street?

Cost of an ice-cold bottle of Birmingham-made Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale in 1927. Grocer Sidney Lee brewed the ginger beverage in 1901 from a tonic for upset stomachs formulated by Selma pharmacist Ashby Coleman. Lee added the carbonation, and the spicy sipper went on to be one of the few pleasures people could still enjoy during the hard times of the Great Depression.

Lace-to-toe, rubber soled high-top canvas sneakers were popular footwear options for both boys and girls in the late 1920s and cost about 80 cents.

80¢

How much money Gordon Smith had in his pocket in 1899 when he moved to Mobile from his native New Orleans to help a family friend’s grocery and bakery business. Smith’s Bakery, launched just a year later, was an early producer of sliced, wrapped loaves in the 1920s, and was one of the first to enrich bread with vitamins and minerals.

Do you recognize this store or the “street toughs” pictured? Let us know! Email ahartin@pmtpublishing.com. 98 mobilebaymag.com | august 2021



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