Former Gulfport resident writes book as thank you to Coast

The three short years Linda Carroll Barnes lived on the Coast had a huge impact on her life.
Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 9:31 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Linda Carroll Barnes has been around the world. But the three short years she lived on the Coast - during which she graduated from Gulfport High School in 1965 - made a huge impact.

So, she wanted her first book to honor this area and its people.

“It’s a very small snapshot of the part of my life that matters the most,” Barnes said.

On Sunday, Barnes had a book signing event for her Southern memoir, “The Last Good Light,” at the Gulfport Museum of History.

“I wanted it to be a thank-you note to all the people that were part of my life in those days,” she said. “And, ‘The Last Good Light’ is kind of a mention of how good those days were. And that we saw the world a spectacularly nice lens back then.”

The old Gulfport train depot serves as an appropriate setting.

“It brings back so many memories,” Barnes said. “I stood here on these tiles when I caught a train to New Orleans and when I caught the train that took me away from here.”

Her book is full of photography by Coast artists.

“I wanted to pull all their work, their beautiful work, into the book so people can see the Coast the way that it really is,” she said. “And my words would be an accompaniment to the pictures that really tell the story.”

The cover art is of Oldfields in Gautier, the home of artist Walter Anderson. It was taken by long-time photographer John Majure, and it’s his first book cover.

“I always like the history aspect of things. Those are the key elements I look for,” he said. “I’m very pleased and very thankful that it’s appreciated like it is to the degree that she wants it on the cover.”

Barnes said she wrote the book an outsider, but not necessarily for outsiders.

“I wrote it for people who live here now - who made my life possible.”

Her book is available at the Gulfport Museum of History, the Biloxi Visitors Center and Pass Books/Cat Island Coffeehouse in Gulfport and Pass Christian.

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