Day 497: Bay Minette

Sipping a cup of French roast coffee in the Emerald Victorian library, Laetitia decided this would be their last day in Alabama. She and her group started the day in Mobile and visited the antebellum Bragg-Mitchell Mansion first. John Bragg, a Mobile judge built the house in 1855. Their next stop was the Mobile Carnival Museum, which highlights the history of Mardi Gras. Mobile claims to be the birthplace of the festival. The group’s final stop was at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. The ship saw action during World War II. Afterward they went to Bay Minette, where they were spending the evening. It’s a town of about 8,000 that began in 1861 as a junction for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Minette was the surname of a French surveyor who once worked in the area.

After dropping her group at the hotel with a meeting time for going to dinner, Laetitia went to a local Irish pub. The man sitting at her left at the bar was studying the history of the French in the area and was a great source of local lore. He said that little would be known about the town’s surveyor, Minette, except for the diary of a French crony who owned a local drinking establishment. According to the diary, Minette was a well-known carouser and raconteur in addition to being a surveyor. Obviously he had a first name, but unfortunately it has become enshrouded in the mists of time, likely because his drinking friends mostly knew him by the nickname they gave him, “Faire.” He had left his wife, Yvette, behind in France. Having finished his work in Bay Minette, he had moved west in search of new adventures when she came looking for him. Unable to find her husband, she made the best of things with a young lad from the local community, even though they had a language barrier. Laetitia decided to make her story the limerick of the day.

When a pretty French housewife, Yvette
Searched in vain as she sought Faire Minette
She soon found a lad young
Who despite his strange tongue
Was in Bay Minette her surest bet.

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