Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Side Trip

to Biloxi, Mississippi.

We took the coastal route to get there, on US 90.

There are some beautiful homes and huge live oak trees with Spanish moss dripping from those trees, and the beach goes on for miles.

My brother was stationed there many years ago when he was in the Air Force.  Our family visited him there and I remember how the beach looked then.  A long way to get to the water if you wanted to step around all the crabs that were there and there were no waves!!

I am seeing Biloxi with a different set of eyes.

Mississippi has only one lighthouse and it sets in the middle of a four lane busy highway.

It was built in 1848.  It survived the Civil War and more than 20 hurricanes with Katrina being the last one.

We just missed the last tour so we were unable to climb the 57 steps to the top.

The Visitors Center is just across the street from the lighthouse with plenty of parking.  It is a real beauty inside.

We walked around learning what we could from the nice displays.

There were some nice sculptures made from the dead trees and driftwood Katrina left behind.

We particularly were impressed with this horse head.

Coming in to town, we noticed these carvings in the middle of the four lane highway.

This is the Katrina Sculpture Garden.

The sculptures line the road.  They were made using a chain saw from the trunks of the trees that did not survive Katrina's wrath.

We were told this was the place to have lunch...Beau Rivage.

You will notice the flag is at half staff in memory of President Kennedy.

The place was beautifully decked out for the Christmas holidays.

And the food was absolutely delicious.

On my plate was alligator sausage (just had to try it), pulled pork, ribs, fried green tomato, yams, catfish, green beans, jambalaya, and mac n cheese.  The salad was exceptional.  Then we had dessert.  We were glad we stopped here, but we ate TOO much.

People that know us know if there is a refuge close by, we will make the effort to visit.

We met Tom and Sally who are in their 5th year there, and Melissa, volunteer coordinator. 

We wanted to see the cranes.  Sally gave us some ideas with not a lot of hope of seeing them at this time of day. I finally spotted these two way off the busy road.

I should have taken my Cannon for this shot!!!

I don't give up easily, when I yelled, "there they are!"  They were the only ones we saw...but it made me happy, happy, happy!!!

We enjoyed a short walk on the trail and were delighted to see the pitcher plants are still fresh, not too many though.

It started to sprinkle on us so we headed back to the truck.

We circled through the volunteer area where we decided this was not a place we would be interested in staying.

We drove back to our lodging through the fog of the coast, then decided we better go back on the interstate.

We had a wonderful time on our day off.

Until next time...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jewel in Jackson

Mississippi's State Capitol was built in 1901-03, on the site of the old state penitentiary at a cost of $1,093,641 with funds from a lawsuit against the Illinois Central Railroad for back taxes. It was restored in 1979-82 at a cost of $19 million.

The gold-coated copper eagle stands at the apex.  It is 8' tall and 15' across.

The central dome rises 180' from the first floor. There are 4,750 original light fixtures with 750 being in the Rotunda.

I surely would not like to be the one who changes light bulbs, and you will notice some of them are burned out.

It is amazing how light is used in this building.

The formal (grand) staircase ascends to the 4th floor (or you can take the elevator).

At the first landing, there are three huge stained glass windows. Mother Mississippi is shown in the middle with the American Indian and the Pioneer Settler on either side.

The building is rectangle in shape with semi-circles at each end.  The Senate Chambers is at one end with the House at the opposite end.

They each have a beautiful stained glass (minor) dome.

When they are in session, the Mississippi flag is raised above the dome and lowered when they adjourn.

In the House of Representatives, Tennessee pink marble is used on the walls.

We sat in the visitor's gallery and admired the grandeur. The semi circular arches, each with the coat of arms with the words "Virtute et Armis," Latin for "by valor and arms."

The dome in the Senate with the six panels depict an American Indian woman and the inscription "The people's government made for the people...made by the people...and answerable to the people." 

There are 122 members in the House and 52 members in the Senate.

The architecture is Beaux Arts style and is grand and lush.

This style has a lot of beautiful details.

I really liked this area showing the pink marble
and the stained glass window with pretty colors.

The long hallway on the 4th floor, the little black squares are glass cylinders (bottles), which allows sunlight to shine through to the 3rd floor.  There are stained glass windows above letting in plenty of natural light.

Corinthian columns are used extensively, inside and outside. Blindfolded Lady Justice reminds us all that laws are to be fair for all people.

The letter M is displayed in several places...this one is on the floor in the Old Supreme Court.

There are 242,500 square feet in this State House.

Mississippi comes from an Indian word that means "Father of Waters."

Jackson Mississippi is named in honor of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States. 

In our walk around the town, we enjoyed several sites, had a wonderful meal at Elite Restaurant, and got another stamp for our visits to State Capitols.

Again, another great big thanks to our wonderful friends, David and Marianne for introducing us to these magnificent places of history.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Youth Art Show

We assisted in the Youth Art Show last weekend here at the refuge, and my, what talent these kiddos have.

There were entries from eight years old to 14 years of age.

This little cutie took first place in her age division...8-10.  A watercolor of a wolf.

There were many to judge from, and I am glad I was not one of the judges. 

One particular teacher had many winners from her class.

Outside was where the fun began.  This little bobcat kitten stole the show walking around on a leash, playing with the skunk and circling the Gopher Tortoise.

And of course, we had to have the baby alligator out and about.

This Short-eared Owl drew some attention.

Then I just had to hold this boa constrictor!!!  What a beautiful snake.

It was on display, snaking around on a table for kids to touch.

The art show was a success with many in attendance, and of course the animals added to the day.

Here's looking at you kid.

Until next time...