January is the month for crazy ideas. I am going to be more organized. I am going to the gym every single day. I am going to save money. Ahhh, yes. Those first few weeks are so dreamy!
As such, I’ve had a few dreams bouncing around my head for our fair burg. I will be the first to admit some are crazier than others. And I am quite sure there are some naysayers out there who will tell me exactly why we can’t do these things for a variety of very legitimate reasons. But I don’t want to hear those voices right now, so don’t rain on my parade just yet.
(Cue the big band music …)
‘Cause I just wanna dream! And I want you to dream these little dreams with me! (Somebody, cut me off the caffeine pronto!)
Sell those Trump birdhouses!
Much like Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin came to a “mutual agreement” that Kiffin should move on to his new head coaching job at Florida Atlantic before Alabama plays in the National Championship game next week, Mayor Sandy Stimpson and his chief of staff, Colby Cooper, “mutually” decided he should move on to pursue other opportunities. Cooper submitted his letter of resignation just after Christmas.
Though Cooper had rubbed council peeps, members of various city boards and other folks the wrong way for most of Stimpson’s tenure, it seems the final straw for the mayor was when Cooper directed city workers to cut down a 50-foot cedar tree out of a public park to use as a decoration for President-elect Donald Trump’s visit to Ladd Stadium in mid-December. Residents lost their minds over this and it garnered the city some pretty lousy national press.
Before his resignation, Cooper vowed to plant trees to replace the “Trump tree” and promised the dead one would be repurposed. Local Boy Scout troops have volunteered to make birdhouses out of it to be used at local nursing homes and a Girl Scout troop has said they will repurpose them into scratching posts for cats. Meow!
While I love the idea of repurposing the tree, why oh why are we not auctioning these creations off for local charities? We could raise a small fortune! Even people who don’t like Donald Trump would shell out some serious dough for this quirky piece of presidential memorabilia.
Can’t you just see some middle-aged lady on “Antiques Roadshow” 50 or so years from now showing off her Trump birdhouse and/or scratching post that her Great Aunt Edna left her? She could bring in all of the articles about the incident. Maybe the scouts and the mayor could even issue certificates of authenticity for the Trump treehouses and scratching posts. (Note to scouts: They better be YUGE and have top-notch amenities for the birds inside!)
This really could make tons of money for our local charities, and Keep Mobile Beautiful’s Living Legacy Tree Fund seems like it should be at the top of that list.
Let’s start the bidding!
Make GulfQuest the Buffett Family museum!
It has always been the opinion of this newspaper that the city of Mobile has really missed the boat, so to speak, on celebrating one of its most famous native sons, Jimmy Buffett. A native son, who comes with a very dedicated fanbase, I might add. My colleague Rob Holbert has advocated naming the Causeway or other things after him several times over the years, but for whatever reason nothing has ever really gotten off the ground.
But perhaps the unfortunate demise of GulfQuest has finally presented us with the right opportunity to honor the King of the Parrotheads.
Call me crazy, but I think it should be transformed into the Buffett Family Museum.
It could have exhibits dedicated to Buffett’s childhood and show museum-goers what his young adult years were like here on the Gulf Coast. Build exhibits with replicas of his childhood home, the bars he used to play, the car he drove, things like that.
And I mean, is there a better location in Mobile for a Margaritaville restaurant than right there on the river with easy access to the Interstate?
His sister Lucy, or “LuLu,” has also been a huge part of the tapestry of our Gulf Coast life. Arguably more than even her brother. So, in addition to Margaritaville, I think “we” construct an exact replica of the original LuLu’s on Weeks Bay, which will serve the original menu, including those awesome Bloody Marys it was famous for. Don’t worry it’s going to be so busy there will be enough business for both restaurants.
A museum with margaritas and Bloody Marys? Sign me up!
The city is in a bit of a pickle when it comes to repurposing the building because GulfQuest has to retain the maritime component of the museum so the city won’t lose millions in federal grant money or put future grants in jeopardy. No worry here, though, because the Buffett Family Museum could have the James Delaney Buffett Maritime Museum component, honoring the Buffett’s late father, who worked in the maritime business and at the Alabama Dry Docks for 35 years! Could there be a more perfect fit?
Of course all the cruise ship people would flock to this museum. I would bet the demographics of Parrotheads and cruise ship aficionados are quite similar. Hell, they could do Parrothead-themed cruises out of the port. And of course, they would buy all of LuLu’s cookbooks and Jimmy’s books and Margaritaville stuff at the mega Buffett Family Museum Gift Shop.
And this mythical museum’s foundation could host the most fabulous of charity balls each year, raising money for Mobile Baykeeper and other environmental charities dedicated to keeping our waterways clean and safe. I envision black tie but with fun tropical hats.
I see this a no brainer. So somebody make this happen. OK, thanks.
Causeway Trailer Parks?
While I am spending other people’s money — my favorite kind to spend — I have never understood why the Causeway hasn’t been more developed and why buildings have sat there abandoned for years, falling into disrepair. I have often wondered if the state was somehow preventing it or it was simply because developers have just not wanted to build anything on a spit of land that floods so often, especially during tropical events. I imagine the latter is definitely a consideration and certainly understandable, even if there are other reasons.
But it seems like the perfect place to set up semi-permanent “pop up” shops.
Can’t you just picture the Causeway lined with Airstreams and other hipster trucks with (fairly) portable picnic tables and bars set up outside, offering a variety of different goods and services from mini boutique bars, selling nothing but Tiki Hut-type drinks to Kayak Rentals to a mobile Mobile live music bus to Cammie’s Ice Cream Airstream to The Bait Bus, which will sell actual live bait and also high-end sushi.
The Duck boats could drop off folks to visit these various high-end “trailer parks” as part of their tours. It would be so cute. Can’t you just see the Causeway Trailer Trash T-shirts already?
Anytime the threat of flooding or severe weather presents itself, no worries. Just break down the tables and outside furniture (a few hours of work) and move the trailers to higher ground until the storm has passed.
I don’t know how this would be administered or even who owns the land. And I am sure it would meet some opposition from the existing businesses, but we don’t have to think about that right now because we are in the dreaming phase of the development process, which is probably where most developments begin and end anyway.
But hey, it’s still fun to think about.