The Bay St.Louis Historic L&N Train Depot is home to several fascinating pieces of Mississippi history. The two-story mission-style depot was built in 1929 and is surrounded by the depot district’s park-like grounds. A Mississippi Landmark, it was once the heartbeat of the county and the backdrop for the classic Tennessee Williams film, “This Property is Condemned,” starring Robert Redford and Natalie Wood. The iconic train depot also displays memorabilia on the filming of the 1966 movie, which was filmed between October 1965 and January 1966 in Bay St. Louis.
Home to the Hancock County Tourism Bureau and Visitors’ Center and the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum, the train depot welcomes locals and visitors daily.
Housed inside on the first floor is a colorful and beloved treasure, the Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Museum. Mardi Gras costumes with eye-catching feathers, some of which are from Africa, and vibrant sequins, it’s not uncommon for visitors to stand in awe when they enter the museum.
It’s no wonder, as the museum features over a dozen elaborate Mardi Gras costumes used by the Krewe of Nereid’s, an all-female Krewe in Bay St. Louis. These gorgeous costumes are designed by Carter Church. As per tradition, each year, the Mardi Gras Ball has a new theme, and once Church is told the theme, he provides the following year’s Krewe with about 20 new designs to choose from.
It takes Church a whole year to design and create the wardrobe, and he works by himself until about 10 weeks before Carnival begins. With about ten talented workers assisting Church before Mardi Gras begins, this labor of love takes time. The King’s tunic and Queen’s dress alone are sewn by hand, and the Duke and maid’s costumes are made with glued appliquйs. In fact, so much glue is used to make these beautiful costumes; it is purchased in five-gallon containers!
After the Mardi Gras Ball, the Krewe of Nereid’s stunning costumes become a piece of Mardi Gras history. Each year, the Mardi Gras Museum display changes about three weeks after the yearly Mardi Gras season to host the wardrobe of the King, Queen, and Royal Court for that year.
Discover the history, excitement, and magic of Mississippi Mardi Gras as the museum displays beautiful Mardi Gras costumes alongside other Mardi Gras memorabilia at The Bay St. Louis Train Depot, a Mississippi Gulf Coast treasure.