What’s that got to do with Bay Town? Or Bay St. Louis? I’ve shared so much about Bay Town that I wanted to take a detour. And who doesn’t love islands, right? Read on.
If you’ve spent time on my FB Reader’s Group, you’ll know that my Bay Town Series is set in a fictional town inspired by Bay St. Louis. I can’t tell you why it made such an impression on me, except that in the short time I lived there, I have such vivid memories as a young girl living in the south. I was the only Asian American, along with my mother and sisters, in that little town. I remember boarding the school bus for the first time. The looks and comments were varied. Mostly shock and awe. The local kids didn’t know what to make of us, but eventually, we made friends.
Our family traveled and lived worldwide, and Mama always found friends who spoke her native tongue, except there. Maybe that might have contributed to my little sister not attending kindergarten, so Mama had someone to spend time with her. Little sis was no worse for the wear and learned much by being home with Mama. Sometimes kindergarten is overrated.
When I think of Bay St. Louis, my mind comes alive with the terrain. Wild blackberry bushes growing along train tracks. Deep woods in our backyard and across the street that I never, ever ventured into. Beach Road ran along the gulf, and the private piers stretched out across the water. What I didn’t know was that there is a string of islands off the coast. My travel bug is peaked, so I’ll take you to one island each day, but click the link below to find out more…you just may plan an island vacation other than Hawaii. I will … in an agreeable season, of course.
Six barrier islands are approximately ten to fourteen miles off the Mississippi Coast. But they run from the Bay of St. Louis, seventy miles parallel to the land, to Mobile Bay. I’m not a geography student, but the subject fascinates me, so I had to look up barrier islands. It’s a long narrow island lying parallel and close to the mainland, protecting the continent from erosion and storms. So there you have it. But you knew that, right?
We’ll be navigating the six islands Cat Island, Ship Island, Deer Island, Horn Island, Round Island, and Petit Bois Island. While each island is accessible by private boat, only Ship Island offers a ferry service. Today, let’s visit Cat Island.
This island is named so by error. When French explorers landed, the island was populated by raccoons. I guess these sailors never saw raccoons and thought they were cats.
Besides beautiful beaches, there are bayous and marshes as well. You can only get there by private or charter boats, and you can camp, but it’s primitive. Still, to visit a secluded island? I did that when I lived in Singapore, where the boat driver dropped us off, and my mind explored thoughts of his never returning. But that’s another story.
There are a few homes on the island, and a charter boat company offers fishing packages that include a stay at The Cat House, a beautiful, spacious home great for 10-12 guests. “Coming from Mississippi, you can’t believe how pretty and scenic it is. There are tons of live oak trees, pine trees, and swamps in the interior. It is beautiful — absolutely beautiful.” ~ said one pleased guest.
Apparently, the island is so stunning that John Cuevas wrote a book, “Discovering Cat Island: Photographs and History. I’d love to get my hands on a copy.
Pristine, empty beaches call my name. But I’m a little leery of the alligators.
Besides gorgeous terrain, the island has a rich history, perhaps because of its obscurity. Think pirates, of course. But also in the 20s, Al Capone used Cat Island for bootlegging. Sadly it was an encampment for Seminole Indians during the trail of tears, and in WWII, it was used as a secret military animal training site. The last is seriously troublesome. I’m glad that era is over, and the island is there for all to enjoy. Here’s the link to those stories.
A bevy of exciting author plot ideas.
Departing for Ship Island tomorrow.
Tomorrow we’ll visit Ship Island. What does my book Restored Grace or Bay Town have to do with these islands? Well, nothing yet…but I’m contracted for five more books. Hmm?
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That’s where the giveaway is taking place. One winner will receive a special Book Box giveaway packed with fun treasures. Thanks for joining me!