Bogalusa Centennial promoting May train trip

Published 10:32 am Friday, May 2, 2014

As part of the Bogalusa Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1989, a group of local folks climbed aboard a train and took a day trip to Meridian, Miss., to get a first-hand experience of what was once a lifeline of their hometown and to check out the current status of nearby historical communities.
Now, as the Bogalusa Centennial approaches, organizer Terry “Foots” Quinn invites everyone to again gather at the depot in Picayune on May 31, and this time some might want to extend the day trip into an overnighter.
A certain highlight will be a visit to the Mississippi State University Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts in the heart of Meridian.
The 1889 grand opera house, which also hosted vaudeville and traveling minstrel shows and even early silent movies before closing its doors in 1927, had deteriorated and was in shambles when the local contingent got to check it out in 1989, Quinn said. But, thanks to the university, the Riley Foundation and even native actress Sela Ward, it has been returned to its former grandeur.
The trip will include a discounted tour of the transformed space. And anyone who wants to stay to hear Clint Black in a performance that night can book accommodations at the nearby Century House Bed and Breakfast, which will also be offered at a discounted price for Bogalusans, and catch a ride back the following afternoon.
Quinn said he hopes the excursion can also include visits to the Meridian Railroad Museum, lunch at historic Weidmann’s Restaurant and a ride on the 1896 Dentzel Carousel.
The Amtrak Crescent will leave Picayune at 8:22 a.m. and arrive in Meridian just after 11 a.m., and the return trip leaves Meridian at 2:58 p.m. and arrives back in Picayune at 5:42 p.m. Round trip tickets cost $72, $62 for those ages 60 and up, and $36 for children, Quinn said.
Anyone who wants to be involved but who can’t make the full trip can take a round trip to Hattiesburg for a cost of $38, $33 for seniors and $19 for children, he said.
Participants are encouraged to make their arrangements by calling former Bogalusan Craig Carter at Amtrak, 345-6264, then to call Quinn at 516-0084 to let him know they will be a part of the group. Those who want to stay the night can reach the Century House at 601-482-2345, and the MSU Riley Center at 601-696-2200.
The Bogalusa Centennial Jubilee celebrations will kick off with a fundraiser Centennial Gala at the American Legion Home from 7-11 p.m. Saturday. For additional information on that event, call 516-3408.