BY JACE PONDER
The sound of music will fill the streets of Pass Christian this weekend when Jazz in the Pass kicks off May 23 and 24.
The event begins at noon on Saturday with the 39th annual Blessing of the Fleet.
Immediately following the Blessing of the Fleet, Davis Avenue will come alive with art vendors, music and the inaugural gumbo cook-off from 2-5 p.m.
The music begins on Saturday at 2 p.m. with the 41st Army Band Jazz Combo in front of Cigars in the Pass. Johnny Fung plays starting at 4 p.m.
Headlining Saturday night is Dr. Rock and the Interns from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Davis Avenue Pavilion.
On Sunday, The Coast Big Band gets the music started at 2 p.m. José Francois and the Road Home Band follows at 4:15 p.m. Starz will close out the festival with a set from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The 11th annual Jazz in the Pass is dedicated to Don “Cadillac” Henry, a lifelong music promoter and saxophone player.
Cadillac was instrumental in bringing Jazz in the Pass back after Hurricane Katrina.
Blessing of the Fleet
A boat parade will leave from the new harbor at noon and circle an anchored boat to receive a blessing from three local priests.
Father Mike Austin of Holy Family Catholic Church, Father Michael Vo of Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church and the Rev. David Faulkner of Trinity Episcopal Church will perform the blessings.
Awards will be given to the best decorated boats. Categories are open for pleasure boats, commercial boats under 35 feet and commercial boats over 35 feet.
Police chiefs and sheriffs from Hancock and Harrison counties will serve as judges.
The first place boat in each category will receive a slip rental credit for about two months.
Prizes will also be awarded for second and third place boats in each category.
Boaters can register on Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. in the new harbor.
The Blessing of the Fleet is dedicated to Captain John H. “Jack” Lang, a graduate of U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.
He retired from Delta Steamship Line, New Orleans as a ship captain after over 30 years of service.
Immediately following the Blessing of the Fleet, Davis Avenue will come alive with art vendors, music and the inaugural gumbo cook-off.
Chefs will compete for the best gumbo. Cash Prizes will be awarded for the top three.
There will also be a People’s Choice Award and Best Decorated Booth.
Armbands are available for $15 for the gumbo cook-off at drink booths on Davis Avenue.
You may purchase gumbo tasting armbands in advance by contacting Main Street at 228.452.3315.
Organizers encourage festival-goers to bring a lawn chair and enjoy 12 hours of entertainment.
The first Jazz in the Pass was held on May 8, 1999, and the event continued for the next eight years as a way to show support and appreciation to Pass Christian’s musical heritage. The popular event was discontinued after Hurricane Katrina and is now able to return with the support of Pass Christian Main Street.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY JACE PONDER
Pedal in the Pass
On Thursday, May 14, cyclist will gather at War Memorial Park for “Pedal in the Pass,” a monthly bicycle dinner ride.
Participants meet near Scenic Drive and Fleitas Avenue, and the ride starts at 6 pm.
All riders are welcome to go to an optional dinner to follow at one of the local restaurants (dutch treat).
Everyone is welcome. This is a fun, leisurely route for the whole family. Helmets are required.
For more information please contact Michael Burke at (228)760-0165.
Words and Music Concert
On Friday, May 15 at 7 p.m., the pass Library will host the Pass Christian Community Orchestra for “Concert in the Courtyard!”
The group is made up of members of the community both young and old who love music and want to share it with others.
The free concert will be held in the City Hall Courtyard at 111 Hiern Avenue.
The atmosphere will be casual and everyone is welcome! PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN: lawn chair or blanket, bug spray, fan, friends, family, etc.
“All That Jazz”
Also on Friday, a jazz party will be held at the Piano Loft at Bacchus on the Beach starting at 7 p.m.
“All That Jazz” will feature food by Bacchus on the Beach and music by Jesse Hill. Feather boas will be provided.
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling 228.363.1973.
Proceeds benefit Jazz in the Pass, which will be held Memorial Day weekend, May 23-24.
The full schedule of events starts with a special Jazz Party at the Piano Loft at Bacchus on the Beach (tickets required) the Friday before the festival on May 15.
Ernest Burdette, a Mercy Flight Southeast volunteer pilot since 2003, has been named the 2015 “Pilot of the Year” for the Mississippi region.
Burdette, who resides in Pass Christian, flew nine missions last year and is willing to do longer flights in his Cessna/208 Caravan which can seat eight people and allows passengers to bring companions as they fly for medical treatment, officials said.
Burdette typically flies more missions than most other pilots in the Mississippi region. In less populated areas, it can be difficult to find pilots willing to give up their time, use their aircraft and pay for the fuel to fly charitable flights, officials said.
The “Pilot of the Year” honor is based on 14 criteria that include flying and sometimes driving sick passengers, answering last minute transportation requests that may come in the middle of the night, and flying round trip flights and waiting during the patient’s appointment.
Burdette is one of more than 650 volunteer pilots in the Southeast who donate their time, personal aircraft and fuel to Mercy Flight Southeast passengers. Burdette was honored at the Dr. Norris Pilot Awards Gala for Mercy Flight Southeast, held in West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 10, 2015.
“Ernest exemplifies the dedication of our Mercy Flight pilots who are so generous in their efforts to ensure a passenger receives the necessary medical care they need,” said Steve Purello, volunteer pilot and CEO of Mercy Flight Southeast, based in Leesburg, Florida.
For information, please call 352-326-0761 or visit http://www.Mercyflightse.org.
BY JACE PONDER
Pastors from around Pass Christian will join together May 7 for the 64th annual National Day of Prayer.
The event will be held at noon at the municipal court building.
The National Day of Prayer is an opportunity for residents to join together and pray for America.
Pastors from the area will each offer up a brief prayer, said organizer Ron Daley. Music will be provided by Pass High band director Mark Russell.
Organizers said the theme is “Lord, Hear Our Cry,” emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to place their faith in the unfailing character of their Creator, who is sovereign over all governments, authorities, and men.
To further highlight theme, organizers said they have chosen I Kings 8:28 as the Scripture for this year: “Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”
BY JACE PONDER
The historical ties between Pass Christian and New Orleans could be the topic of a new PBS documentary.
Executive producer Harold Dawley, owner of Aalco Storage, said, with 75 miles separating the two cities, contact between Pass Christian and New Orleans has always been high.
Generations of New Orleanians have made Pass Christian their weekend and summer get-aways. The Southern Yacht Club started in Pass Christian. Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and other events in Pass Christian are offshoots of events started in New Orleans, Dawley said.
“The Pass’s story is about generations of New Orleanians moving here and becoming part of its development and history,” he said.
Evidence of some of the ties can be found in Trinity Cemetery. Headstones are engraved with the names of individuals who helped develop both cities.
Public broadcasting station WYES out of New Orleans has agreed to take on the project. However, the project is in its early stages and, as executive producer, Dawley is tasked with raising the funds for production.
He estimates the project will cost about $120,000. He has applied for a BP grant and is seeking funding from community members who want to help see the project come to fruition.
“We will recognize such major donors by including them in our team as producers, assistant producers, associate producers or sponsors,” he said.
Dawley has tapped Lagniappe Media Productions president Barbara Sillery to lead the documentary production. Sillery has worked with multiple cable stations including CBS and has worked on other documentaries for WYES.
Dennis Woltering, former news anchor at WWL-TV, has agreed to be the narrator, Dawley said.
To help guide the production, a steering committee has been formed with Dawley, historian Dan Ellis, realtor Avra O’Dwyer and businessman Michael Broussard.
A website is in development at PassNOLA.org.
Among other goals, Dawley said he hopes the documentary will generate renewed interest in Pass Christian from people throughout the region.
“While much of physical damage to the Pass from Hurricane Katrina has been repaired, many people outside of the city are not aware of the recovery and only recall the devastation,” he said. “Simply stated, the Pass needs to be rediscovered.”
Dawley said if only a tiny percentage of documentary viewers decide to relocated to the Pass, it would boost property values and expand the tax base.
“The Pass in not only alive and well, it is bubbling over with potential. The problem is not enough people are aware of what this jewel on the Coast has to offer.”