Pass Christian Books
On a cold and blustery morning a few months ago, I decided it was about time to make a side journey from my usual New Orleans account visits to pay my respects to a legendary bookstore, Pass Christian Books, in Pass Christian, MS, located right on the gulf coast.
I say "legendary" because Hurricane Katrina literally blew it off the map when she came for her visit in 2005. But Scott Naugle, the store's owner, would not let a little thing like 125 mile an hour winds keep him from providing good books to the fine citizens of Pass Christian.
When I arrived, construction had been completed on their beautiful new store, again, right on the coast, not far from their original location.
As Scott said to David Elliott of TV station WLOX last year "We wanted to do two things. We wanted something that fit into the community and reflects our heritage. At the same time we wanted something modern with a lot of windows. We had to feature the view overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, it's such a beautiful view. We're back in Pass Christian, we always wanted to come back here.Sometimes at the end of the day you think, 'Are we going to get through this?' You get up the next morning and think, 'We'll overcome this. We've come too far not to."
And they did.
Here's what Scott reported to me about the opening:
- “It may require a special degree of lunacy to reopen an independent bookstore, add a coffeehouse, build on a parcel of 4,400 square feet, overlook the same Gulf of Mexico that brought us Hurricane Katrina decimating the town, drive 25 piers 17 feet into the earth to fortify a wind-resistive building in a flood velocity zone while also breaking the drill rig on an oyster bed, and create an architecturally significant two story structure.”
- He adds, “Despite heavy rain throughout the evening, our opening in the new building on November 25th was packed. The estimated turnout was over three hundred people. Many were not able to get inside and our long term friends, Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters signing their newest book, An Italian Palate, were a raging, sellout success. “
“Two floors of books, impeccable single origin coffee, handcrafted by artisan baristas, and a view of the Gulf second to none, all intersect to create a unique third space experience.”
“Our biggest problem is parking. Thank goodness we rented a lot directly beside us with 40 spaces. The support of the publishing community and authors is exceptional. We could not have asked for more.”
It's always nice to have a Today Show host as a fan.
Here are a few more more shots of this remarkably beautiful bookstore:
This historical marker sits right in front of the store.
Scroll to the right to see the whole view of the highway where they are located..........
Here is Scott (the big, muscular guy on the right) with his top notch staff (from l-r) Dana Kinderma, Nate Lagarde and Annette McBride.
James Carville and Mary Matalin, whose book, Love & War, is featured on their counter, are regular customers. James sometimes pops in twice a day for one of their single plantation, micro lot coffees. And for all of you James Carville groupies out there, Scott tells me, at the moment, he prefers Java Estate.
And finally, another wide, spectacular panorama of their view. I took it just as I started on my trip north, to visit Lemuria in Jackson.
Oh, one more thing, how many other towns can say that pirate
Jean Lafitte was a regular visitor? He was also a big book reader...right?