Monday, March 30, 2015

Upscale Dining – Knoxville Tennessee

Every so often, Laurie and I go for a local upscale dining experience.  So, back in January with our friends Lynn and George, we decided to try a popular steak and seafood restaurant in Knoxville.  I’d checked it out on Trip Advisor and the results were very promising! 

Connors Steak and Seafood is located in the Turkey Creek Shopping Area in west Knoxville.  This restaurant opened in 2004.  There are now 2 other locations, one in Huntsville Alabama and another in Fort Myers Florida.

Connors Steak and Seafood restaurants are part of the Connor Concepts Group.  This company also operates The Chop House…with 12 locations in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio. 

This restaurant was busy!  We’ve been by it many times and it always seems to draw a crowd.  The interior is warm and welcoming…and it looks like an upscale steakhouse/seafood dining establishment should look.

Laurie ordered a dirty martini with extra olives and the waitress loaded it up with olives! ($9.50) Lynn ordered a mixed drink as well…but when she tasted it, it wasn’t right so she sent it back and ordered a glass of wine instead.

Warm bread was automatically delivered to our table.  It was OK…but nothing special.

Lynn ordered a half dozen oysters on the half shell and she said that they were pretty good… (Market Price)

Laurie and I ordered the Calamari as our appetizer. ($11.00) The portion was large and the calamari was very tender.  We gave this offering 2 thumbs up!

Laurie had a Caesar Salad as a side to her entrĂ©e. ($4.00 with dinner) It was quite good…and there was plenty of anchovy flavor to spike up the salad.

Both Lynn and I ordered the 12 oz. Ribeye Steak. ($25.00) Entrees are served with soup or a salad plus a baked potato or a choice of sides.  The menu states that the steaks are “well-marbled” and “heavily aged”. 

Neither of our medium rare steaks was very good… They were tough and loaded with gristle.  Chewy steaks just don’t do it for us.  It was quite disappointing.

Laurie and George both ordered the Applewood Smoked Duck Breast thinly sliced with dark cherry demi-glace, mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. ($22.00) What can I say…?  Neither of them liked the duck and they’ve both eaten duck many times in restaurants across the country.  The slabs of duck were tough, (overcooked?), and only the demi-glace made them somewhat eatable.  Laurie didn’t finish hers and she gave me a taste.  Yikes!

Before I wrote this posting, I went back and checked Connors reviews on Trip Advisor.  I was stunned to see that Connors Steak and Seafood is ranked as the #1 restaurant in Knoxville!  They had 286 Excellent/Very Good vs. 17 Average and only 7 Poor or Terrible Reviews… Sorry, but I will have a hard time even giving Connors an average review!  We had a very disappointing dining experience.

Connors Steak and Seafood Restaurant is located at 10915 Turkey Drive in Knoxville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-966-0933.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mississippi Folk Art and Antique Museum

As I mentioned in previous postings, I do a lot of research when we go on road trips.  I don’t miss too many attractions that interest us but every once in a while, we stumble across an unexpected surprise…

Yes…this is the former Louisville and Nashville railroad depot in Bay St. Louis Mississippi.  And, as I mentioned in a previous posting, this facility has been totally refurbished following the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina.  We were surprised to find an exhibit of Mardi Gras costumes on the first floor…but I previously showed photos of those as well. 

What I didn’t discover in my trip research, or cover in my previous posting, was the nifty little Folk Art and Antique museum on the second floor!

The full name of this museum is the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum… The reason for this museum being named after Alice Moseley will soon become apparent. 

Part of the museum is home to Alice Moseley’s son’s collection of majolica, art pottery, art glass and other collectible American ephemera.  If I were wealthy enough, I could really go nuts collecting many of the same objects plus early American earthenware, paintings and prints…

This display case is loaded with some very nice pieces of majolica…including a couple of items that are fairly rare. 

Victorian majolica is earthenware pottery made in 19th century Britain, Europe and America with molded surfaces and colorful clear lead glazes.  An earlier related version is called ‘Maiolica’.  Maiolica is Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance.  It’s decorated in bright colors on a white background and the motifs or decorations frequently depicted historical and legendary scenes.

The museum occupies about two thirds of the second floor of the old depot.  It just opened in 2013, having moved from Alice Moseley’s “Blue House” in Bay St. Louis.  Her house has since been converted into a vacation rental.
Note the big wooden ‘bowl’ on the table.  It was carved from one piece of wood and it’s quite large.  We own a large round solid wooden bowl that was made sometime in the 1800’s and we still marvel at the patience and skill that it took to make it…

This display case contains art glass and pottery vases produced by such American firms as Roseville, Weber, Weller and McCoy.  I especially like that Weller Dresden vase in the middle of the second shelf.

Weller Pottery was founded in 1872 in Fultonham Ohio and the company moved to Zanesville Ohio in 1893.  A second line of pottery was Weller-Louwelsa, which is also represented in this display case.  Weller remained in business until 1948.  Interestingly, both McCoy and Roseville Pottery were founded in Roseville Ohio but along with Weller, both of these companies also ended up being headquartered in Zanesville…

This is another display case full of beautiful majolica pottery.  How popular is majolica among collectors?  At the time I wrote this posting there were 7,023 majolica items listed for sale on EBay!  While there were plenty of more reasonably priced items, including a few that appear questionable, there were at least 13 pieces being offered that were priced at $5,000.00 or more…

It’s time to explain why this facility is called the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum… This is a photo of Alice Moseley and Herman, her rescue beagle.  It was on postcards that are available at the museum.  Alice was born in 1909 and she passed away in 2004 at the age of 95.  She was what one might call, a ‘late bloomer’.

Miss Alice, as she is referred to, was a teacher.  In the late 1960s her mother came to live with the family.  Miss Alice continued to teach while caring for her Alzheimer-afflicted mother at night.  To alleviate the depression and stress, Alice began painting.  After her mother died, at her son’s urging, Miss Alice began taking her paintings to art shows and flea markets.

In 1970, her son rented her a stall and helped her hang the first 30 paintings that she’d painted.  He went off for a little antiquing and when he returned an hour later, the stall was empty.  Miss Alice was holding a check for $1,350 and exclaimed that ‘he bought them all!’  And so, at the age of 61 her second career was launched…

The painting pictured above is entitled “Memories of Fredonia Church”.

This painting is titled “Town House on the Yocana”. 

In addition to the paintings, Miss Alice was featured in a video that was released in 2004.  It was entitled “Hello, I’m Alice Moseley”.  She had just celebrated her 94th birthday.  The video was produced to document and teach about the heritage of folk art and story-telling.  It was made available to schools and libraries as a tool for learning.  To find out about this video, just go to

Cotton is featured in several of Miss Alice’s works…

I don’t know the titles of many of these paintings but almost all of Miss Alice’s works are about everyday life and living in Mississippi…

This is Miss Alice’s tribute to Elvis Presley… It’s titled, “Elvis-From a Shotgun to a Mansion”.

Mose, Alice’s son retired and they moved into a former tenant shack that once had been at Graceland.  Vernon Presley, who was a neighbor back in Memphis, gave it to Mose, who disassembled it log by log, and reassembled it at Plum Point Mississippi.  Miss Alice enjoyed telling her interviewers how she knew Elvis Presley.  One of her favorite conversations with him was when Elvis told her he liked to go to the school for the deaf in Jackson, Mississippi and sing and play for the kids.  She said “But Elvis, they can’t hear you.”  “Oh...,” remarked Elvis. “They somehow feel the beat.  Those little feet pat out the rhythm.”

Unlike Grandma Moses’ folk art paintings, Alice Moseley’s works are relatively affordable for fans of this genre.  I found one on the Internet, a 12 inch by 16 inch painting entitled “Cabin Scene – Wash Day” with an estimated auction price of $500 - $800.

I believe that this painting is entitled “Cotton – Heaven’s Greatest Gift”.

To view a number of other works by Miss Alice, just click on the following:

This was a great stop on our drive along US 90 and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  We would heartily recommend it to both antique and art lovers.  The docent on duty was lovely and a real charmer! The museum and displays were pristine.   To learn more about the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Museum, just go to  It’s located at 1928 Depot Way in Bay St. Louis Mississippi.

Lastly, this Alice Moseley painting is aptly titled, “Labor vs. Management”! 

There is no admission charge for visiting the museum but they do accept donations.  The docent was so happy that Dawn Marie donated $20.00 that she stopped us before we left and gave us a print of this painting… It now sits in our bonus/computer room. 

As you can see below, I might be a ‘little’ partial to the ‘folk art’ painting… Folk art is generally defined as the work of artists who have no real formal training and who paint works that reflect childhood memories and/or a nostalgic vision of the past.

Both of these ‘primitives’ plus many others with related themes were painted by Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Thomson…who was my mother.  Folk art paintings were just one of the many artistic endeavors that she focused on during her lifetime…but this series of paintings are at the top of my list of favorites.  So…given this background you can probably see why I was so attracted to Miss Alice’s folk art creations.

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a museum tour!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pizza – Your Way!

We have been looking for a good pizza ever since we came to East Tennessee.  Unfortunately, although we’ve found eatable versions, our search for quality pizza has continued for more than 5 years!

So…when we heard about a new fast fired pizza restaurant in Knoxville from our friends Joel & Holly, we just had to give it a try.

This is Blaze Pizza.  This company opened 50 restaurants across the country in 2014.  In 2015, plans call for another 60 to 70 new locations.  The company’s goat was to “build something with a modern twist that would resonate with millennials."  Celebrities like LeBron James and Maria Shriver have invested in the brand, which is based in Southern California.

The chain's modern architecture was influenced by Chipotle.  As you can see, this restaurant has a modern urban industrial feel with plenty of stainless steel and reclaimed wood.  If you are looking for a warm and cozy pizza parlor or a place with a lot of character, this design or architectural ‘feel’ is not for you…
But in reality, doesn't it all comes down to the quality of the pizza?

Although Blaze Pizza offers 8 signature pizzas, the focus is on build your own ‘pie’!  Like chain ‘restaurants’ such as Chipotle or Subway, Blaze Pizza emphasizes customization by its patrons.  Customers build their pizzas by choosing from a selection of different cheeses, meats, vegetables and sauces.
Neither of us care for Chipotle or Subway so would we feel different about this concept?

Diners pass along a line of servers, selecting the ingredients for your pizza.  These pizzas are large enough for 2 to share if you’re a light eater or the perfect size if you want to indulge a bit. 

The servers on the prep line flatten out your ball of dough for the crust of your thin crust pizza.  Then they add a little oil and your selection of sauce.   Next you point out the ingredients you want.  I chose pepperoni, Italian sausage, a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, sliced jalapeno, garlic and basil.

Laurie opted for the white cream sauce then she added mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni, olives, artichokes, garlic, pesto and basil.  The servers/staff were very helpful and they’ve obviously been picked and trained to engage diners to give them a positive feeling about the restaurant.

Following the assembly of your pizzas, they go into the oven.  As soon as they are done your name is called and you pick them up at the counter. 

This is my pizza after it was fast-fired in the stone hearth oven.  The total cooking time for a pizza is approximately a minute and a half and you have your food in about 3 minutes from the time ‘construction’ is complete!

While this wasn’t the best pizza ever, it was pretty  good…as good as anything that we’ve had recently here in East Tennessee.  One issue is that because there is no additional cost, it’s tempting to go overboard with the wide variety of ingredients.  The next time I’m 'going basic', which will provide me with a better comparative evaluation.  Mixing too many ingredients hampers one’s ability to evaluate the quality of each of them individually. 

As you can see from this photo of Laurie’s finished pizza, she had it drizzled with pesto before it went into the oven.  She really liked her pizza…and it was pretty too! 

There was one key element to these pizzas that should be highlighted.  The thin crust holds up very well.  It’s crisp and it doesn’t collapse when you pick up a slice to eat it… These aren’t as good as pizzas we’ve had in Chicago, New York or Florida…but for East Tennessee, it’s pretty darn good!

What about cost?  Each of these pizzas was only $7.65!  The price was right… Blaze Pizza also serves beer, wine and soft drinks.  Laurie’s Blue Moon and my Coors Light (bottles) were $4.00 each.  Six salads are also offered ranging in cost from $3.85 to $6.85.

In Knoxville Tennessee Blaze Pizza is located in the Town and Country Commons Shopping area at 113 North Peters Road.  It is readily visible from Kingston Pike/US Hwy. 11.  Website:
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and checking out this new concept pizza restaurant!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, March 23, 2015

Old Railroad Depots – Mississippi Gulf Coast

As we worked our way back toward East Tennessee after our trip to New Orleans and vicinity, we drove along the Mississippi coastline on the Gulf of Mexico.  I’d listed some old railroad depots along the way and we searched out 3 of them as we made our way to our overnight stop in Alabama…

This beautiful depot…with Laurie by the steps…is in Bay St. Louis Mississippi.  Formerly the Louisville and Nashville Railway Depot, this structure was built in the Mission architectural style in 1928.  Both the building and grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This is the trackside view of the Bay St. Louis Depot.  Before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Amtrak served this reality, just using 2 shelters next to the tracks.  The depot wasn’t manned… The Sunset Limited used to operate between Florida’s east coast and Los Angeles.  Following the hurricane, the portion of the route between Florida and New Orleans was ‘suspended’ and it hasn’t been restarted…

This is what the Bay St. Louis Depot looked like back in 1995 before it was restored for the first time.  It had to be totally refurbished following Hurricane Katrina and after 6 years, it was reopened in 2011.  This photo was borrowed from Wikipedia...

FYI…Bay St. Louis is the third oldest city in the USA on the Gulf of Mexico.  A total of 728 buildings in town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places!  The current population of Bay St. Louis is approximately 11,000.

The lower floor of the depot is home to a display of very fancy and colorful Mardi Gras costumes. 

Note: In December of 1699 or January of 1700, a fort was constructed by French explorers on the bluff at the “Baye de Saint Louis”.  It was garrisoned with fifteen soldiers and five families under the command of a sergeant.  With this settlement, the colony at Bay Saint Louis became the third settlement on the Gulf of Mexico following Pensacola Florida and Biloxi/Ocean Springs Mississippi.

The building also houses the area’s official visitor’s center as well as the Folk Art and Antique Museum…but more on that in a few days!  This is a beautiful building, both outside and inside…

Our next station was in Gulfport Mississippi.  When we found this depot, we were on the wrong side of the tracks and we had to wait for this fast moving freight train to blow past before we could go over to the depot.

This is the former Gulfport Amtrak station in Gulfport.  Like Bay St. Louis, Amtrak service ‘was suspended’, apparently permanently when Katrina caused major damage all along the coast.  Gulfport Station is a former “union station” that served the Louisville and Nashville Railroad as well as the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad.

Note: A ‘union station’, (also known as a union terminal), is a railway station where tracks and facilities are shared by two or more separate railway companies, allowing passengers to connect conveniently between them.  The station is usually co-owned by the railroads that use the depot and it operates as a separate company.

The Gulfport and Ship Island Railroad Depot, as it was originally known, was built in 1904 and it was the first permanent station for that line.  A museum operated in the building until Hurricane Katrina destroyed it.  The building has now been restored and a number of merchants have opened retail establishments in the former depot. 

With a population of about 68,000, Gulfport is the second largest city in Mississippi…only surpassed by the state capital of Jackson.  Gulfport was incorporated in 1898.  Its founders were William H. Hardy who was president of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad that connected early inland pine woods lumber mills to the coast and Joseph T. Jones, who later took over the G and SIRR, dredged the harbor in Gulfport as well as a shipping channel, completing the project in 1902.  

This is the former Louisville and Nashville Railway Depot in Ocean Springs Mississippi.  It was built back in 1907.  This depot also served Amtrak’s Sunset Limited prior to Hurricane Katrina.

This depot is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  It currently serves as the home of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.

Hurricane Katrina certainly caused significant destruction in some areas of Ocean Springs, but the town emerged from the storm with light damage when compared to neighboring towns.  Fortunately the founders of Ocean Springs had wisely chosen relatively high ground for much of the settlement.  This allowed Ocean Springs to bounce back more quickly than many other cities and towns along the Coast.

Ocean Springs has been a tourist orientated town since 1853.  It was due to the potential of the mineral springs on Fort Bayou, not because of the Gulf shore.  In 1854, the town took the name it has today.  Six or seven hotels, cottages and boarding houses were built to handle the spa seekers.  This business died out with the Civil War but with the coming of the railroad in 1870, tourism boomed again. 

This town of about 17,500 people has a reputation as an arts community and a tourist destination.  The downtown area is historic, attractive and secluded, with streets lined by live oak trees.  There are several art galleries, shops and some ethnic restaurants with cuisine that is uncommon in nearby communities.   We ate lunch at Pleasant’s BBQ and it was very good indeed!  However we noted a couple other interesting dining destinations as well as some promising shops.  Fortunately, (from my viewpoint), we were running late and we didn’t have any time to shop!

That’s all for now… Just click on any photos that you’d like to enlarge.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, March 20, 2015

Searching for Quality BBQ in East Tennessee

Laurie and I really enjoy BBQ!  We’ve eaten at some great BBQ joints or restaurants in Kansas City, Memphis and a few other spots…most recently Ocean Springs Mississippi.  While traveling for business, I’ve also had some great BBQ in Oklahoma and Texas. 

However, the search for good BBQ in East Tennessee has been an ongoing effort…

This is the second location for Dead End BBQ in the Knoxville area.  It’s a fairly new spot in Maryville Tennessee.

The original location is on a dead end street in Knoxville.  As per their website, “Dead End Barbeque was born at the end of a dead-end street where neighbors gathered to barbeque.  For more than a decade the Dead End Society honed their barbequing skills in the dead end and in professional barbeque competitions where they achieved national recognition.

To paraphrase…”Dead End BBQ restaurants have been created to take you there. To the smells, the sounds, and the homemade tastes of an exceptional American neighborhood barbeque in East Tennessee.”

The Maryville location for Dead End BBQ is large, bright and clean.

We’d eaten at the original location about 4 years ago…and while we weren’t impressed with the food at that time, I hadn’t begun blogging yet so I didn’t note our impressions…good or bad.

The Dead End BBQ team regularly engages in BBQ competitions and they’ve won quite a few awards.  In 2014, as per 2 different polls, Knoxville area residents voted Dead End BBQ as the best BBQ in the area…

Laurie decided to go for the Half Rack St. Louis Cut Rib Plate with French Fries, the Mayors Baked Beans and Corn Bread. ($16.00) 

She wasn’t impressed… The French Fries were OK, the beans were bland and the corn bread muffin was good.  She wasn’t crazy about the BBQ sauce selection and she didn’t think that the ribs were very ‘meaty’.  Also, our personal if not the popular preference is that we like it best when the ribs have to be ‘worked’ a little to get the meat off the bones.  The meat cooked to the point that it was falling off the bone…

I ordered the Beef Rib Tips with the Mayors Baked Beans, Red White and Bleu Slaw and a Jalapeno Corn Muffin. ($16.00)

I know that the price of beef has skyrocketed…but I still have to ask the question…Where’s the beef?!  The meat was OK although I didn’t care for the selection of BBQ sauces, the beans were bland, the muffin was good and in my opinion the coleslaw with bleu cheese was a bad idea altogether…

I will admit that BBQ is a matter of personal preference and Dead End BBQ is definitely popular in the area.  However, in comparison with some of the quality BBQ that we’ve enjoyed over the years, in our opinion, this just didn’t measure up. 

This location for Dead End BBQ is located at 527 West Broadway in Maryville Tennessee.  Phone: 423-773-2969.  The company’s website can be found at

Our search continues for a quality BBQ restaurant in East Tennessee…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Beauvoir – Biloxi Mississippi

Departing New Orleans and Louisiana on our pre-Christmas trip, we drove east into coastal Mississippi following US Highway 90.  We were headed for the east shore of Mobile Bay where we were spending the night and it was just a short drive…so we had some time to explore.  I’d checked out my guide books looking for attractions on the way.

Did Laurie, Dawn and I find a small walk-through zoo?  Yes and no… The Dromedary Camel, the miniature horses and other critters are pastured in back of Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi.  As you will recall from your history lessons, Davis was President of the Confederate States of America. (CSA)

Laurie loves animals and she’s telling this little bovine just how pretty she is… Other animals wandering on the grounds included a standard size horse, llamas, donkeys and sheep.

Beauvoir is a Mississippi Historic Landmark as well as a National Historic Landmark.  It’s dedicated to preserving and interpreting the legacy of Jefferson Davis as well as the Confederate Soldier.  The property is owned and operated by the Mississippi Division, United Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.  Operation relies solely on admission receipts, gift shop sales and contributions for its funding…

As shown in the photo, this is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Confederate States of America.  There is also a fairly large cemetery containing 771 graves of Confederate veterans and their wives.  I don’t quite understand the pasturing of animals on the cemetery portion of the property…

Among those buried in the cemetery is Samuel Emory Davis, the father of Jefferson Davis.  Samuel Davis was born in Georgia in 1756 and served as a major in the militia of Lincoln County Georgia during the American Revolution.

This is Beauvoir.  Its construction was begun in 1848 by a wealthy plantation owner.  It was purchased in 1873 by the planter Samuel Dorsey and his wife Sarah Dorsey.  After her husband's death in 1875, Sarah learned of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis' financial difficulties. She invited him to visit at the plantation and offered him a cottage near the main house, where he could live and work at his memoirs.  That resulted in his publication of "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government".

Ill with cancer, in 1878 Sarah Ellis Dorsey remade her will, bequeathing "Beauvoir" to Jefferson Davis and his surviving daughter, Varina Anne Davis.  His wife Varina Howell Davis was also living there and the three of them lived in the house until Davis' death in 1889.

After the death of Jefferson Davis’s daughter in 1898, Davis’s wife, Varina Howell Davis inherited the plantation.   In 1902 she sold it to the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans with the stipulation that it be used as a Confederate state veteran’s home and later it was to be used as a memorial to her husband.  Barracks were built nearby and the property was used as a CSA Veteran’s Home until 1953, when the last Confederate States Army veteran died. 

This historic site almost disappeared in 2005…

This was Beauvoir House after Hurricane Katrina… The home was a shambles!  The house has been restored but the Presidential Library is still a work in progress… The storm destroyed the Hayes Cottage, the Library Pavilion, a barracks replica, the Confederate Museum and the director's home.  The first floor of the Davis Presidential Library was gutted by the storm and about 35% of the collections were lost.

Since thousands of homes in Mississippi were damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, construction work was diverted to all of the disaster areas in the state.  As a result, restoration of Beauvoir proceeded slowly. However, as it is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials approved Federal support for the efforts to the repair and rebuild the Beauvoir complex.  The house opened in June of 2008 and the new museum opened in 2013.

If you’re wondering why Beauvoir suffered such damage, you only have to take in the view from the front porch of the home.  That is the Gulf of Mexico right across US 90 from the home…

We were looking forward to our tour of the home… However we soon learned that we were to be joined on tour by a couple of 4th grade classes.  The tour was a ‘circus’ in the worst sense of the word!  The docents and teachers didn’t keep the kids under control and the information offered was minimal…exclusively aimed at the kids.  We would have skipped Beauvoir if we’d known how bad this experience was going to be…

Note: Just to add to the experience, the boy sitting on the step and one other were so sick, that their parents had to be called to come and get them. Yikes!

The house has been handsomely furnished but with all of the school kids on hand and the uncontrolled chaos, we weren’t able to learn much about the furniture or decorative pieces.

The original owner used slave labor and hired craftsmen to build the Louisiana Raised Cottage.  The single story home was constructed of cypress and heart pine, with a roof of English slate.  The raised design, along with the porches, tall windows, high ceilings, and the arrangement of the rear wings, promoted ventilation.  The house was elevated on 62 eight-foot-tall brick piers to provide antebellum air conditioning—not to avoid high water.  As it turned out, elevating the house and sealing the heavy slate roof around the edges saved it from the storm surges of Camille and Katrina.  The basic structure has withstood eighteen hurricanes since it was built! 

Jefferson Davis’s first wife was Sarah Taylor, daughter of Colonel Zachary Taylor…who later became the 12th President of the United States.  Sadly, Sarah died of malaria only 3 months after the wedding.  Davis survived his bout with the disease…but bad health plagued him for the rest of his life.

In the midst of the 4th graders, Dawn Marie managed to take this photo of Laurie and me…not the happiest of tourists!

This is a reproduction of the Library Pavilion…the original was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The original owner used this cottage as a schoolroom for his children.  Jefferson Davis rented it for $50 a month from Sarah Dorsey from 1877 to 1878.  Davis enclosed the eastern porch for additional living space and lined the original room with bookcases.  Here Davis, with the help of his wife Varina, wrote the “Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”.

This is a reproduction of the Hayes Pavilion which is located at the right side of the main house.  Again, the original structure was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The builder of Beauvoir built this cottage as a haven for itinerant Methodist circuit riders.  The building was later named for its later use by the family of Margaret Davis Hayes, the elder daughter of Jefferson and Varina Davis. 

I ‘borrowed’ this photo of the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum from the Internet… It's located right behind Beauvoir.

Did you know that, in addition to being President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis previously served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and as a Senator from Mississippi?   He also served as the U.S. Secretary of War under 14th American President, Franklin Pierce.  Davis was a graduate of West Point and he served 6 years as a lieutenant in the United States Army.  He fought in the Mexican–American War (1846–1848), as the colonel of a volunteer regiment.

This was another bit of incongruity that we noted… First it was the grazing animals in the cemetery and then there was this statue of Jefferson Davis outside the museum and library… I’m not sure that he would have appreciated the “Santa Claus” hat and other decorations.

Before the War, Jefferson Davis operated a large cotton plantation in Mississippi.  He had over 100 slaves and he was well known for his support of slavery during his time in the Senate.  Although Davis argued against secession, he believed that each state was sovereign and had an unquestionable right to secede from the Union. 

Following the Civil War he kept his view to himself but privately he expressed opinions that federal military rule and Republican authority over former Confederate states was unjustified.  He considered "Yankee and Negroe" rule in the South oppressive.  Like most of his white contemporaries, Davis held the belief that blacks were inferior to whites.

The exhibits in the museum were interesting but one has to wonder what was lost to the fury of Katrina… We felt that this museum was a bit sparse, really a work in progress. 

Many historians attribute the Confederacy's weaknesses to Davis’s weak leadership. He was preoccupied with detail, reluctant to delegate responsibility, lacked popular appeal, feuded with powerful state governors, showed favoritism toward old friends, and generally was unable to get along with people who disagreed with him.  

President Davis met with his Confederate Cabinet for the last time on May 5, 1865, in Washington, Georgia, and officially dissolved the Confederate government.  Davis and his wife were captured by Union forces on May 10 at Irwinville in Irwin County, Georgia.

Later that month, Davis was imprisoned at Fortress Monroe on the coast of Virginia.  Irons were riveted to his ankles at the order of General Nelson Miles who was in charge of the fort.  Davis wasn’t allowed any visitors, and no books except the Bible.  His health began to suffer, and the attending physician warned that the prisoner's life was in danger.  He was finally provided with better quarters after several months.

Davis’s wife and daughter were finally allowed to join Davis, and the family was eventually given an apartment in the officers' quarters. Davis was indicted for treason while imprisoned but there was no consensus in President Andrew Johnson's cabinet to try the case.  After 2 years of imprisonment, Davis was released on bail of $100,000.  It was posted by several prominent citizens including Horace Greeley and Cornelius Vanderbilt.   Davis remained under indictment until he was released from all liability through a presidential amnesty issued by President Johnson on Christmas Day in 1868.

For a brief history of Jefferson Davis, you can go to

This portrait that we noticed in the Jefferson Davis Museum provides an interesting footnote for me to end this posting with… This is Stand Watie. (1806 – 1871) He was also known as Standhope Uwatie, Degataga, and Issac S. Watie.  In Cherokee, his name meant "stand firm".  He was a leader of the Cherokee Nation and a Brigadier General of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.  He commanded the Confederate Indian cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi.  This force was made up mostly of Cherokee, Muskogee and Seminole Indians.  Stand Watie was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender at war's end.

Of course, one of the questions that came to my mind was why a Cherokee leader would fight for the Confederacy?  The answer was rather pragmatic.  Fearful of the Federal Government and the threat to create a State (Oklahoma) out of most of, what was then the semi-sovereign "Indian Territory", a majority of the Cherokee Nation initially voted to support the Confederacy in the Civil War, though less than a tenth of the Cherokee owned slaves.
To learn more about Stand Watie’s very complex story, just go to

This was an interesting historical site and we probably would have really enjoyed learning more about the history if our tour had been focused on adults… To learn more about Beauvoir, go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave