ERROL LABORDEBay St. Louis was dressed in its summer finery on the evening of July 3, 2005. Over in the yard at Our Lady of the Gulf Church, a blue-jeans-and-shorts crowd did its part to devour the crustaceans served at the annual Crab Festival. A country-pop band added rhythm to the evening. Seeing people you know was already an ordinary occurrence in Bay St. Louis, especially if you are from New Orleans. More than any other place along the coast, Bay St. Louis was New Orleans’ beach town. It was the closest and the quaintest coastal village from the city, only about an hour’s drive away. Once they crossed the Interstate 10 bridge over the Pearl River, New Orleanians could begin their mental decompression from daily stress and be in idle by the time they reached the bay town. Along North Beach Boulevard, those who had not been totally seduced by the Crab Fest’s offerings could dine at the recently renovated Dock of the Bay. Historian Stephen Ambrose, who had a house in the town, could sometimes be seen at the Dock taking advantage of the gulf view. To read more of this story, click here for the immediate delivery of your own digital copy of New Orleans Magazine.