Bama Breeze a/k/a FloraBama

30 Sep


Back in early June, I did a post on Jimmy Buffett and his Parrothead phenomena. At that time, I downloaded his new “album”, Bama Breeze, from iTunes. I knew, immediately, when I heard the title track that it was about the FloraBama. The Last Great American Roadhouse.

Just last week, Jimmy hisself gave confirmation that indeed, yes, the song was written about the FloraBama. The video he produced for the song, however, had a more general message regarding the destruction along the Gulf Coast of dozens of FloraBamas.

As I’ve previously mentioned, Jimmy Buffett grew up in Mobile, AL. He attended St. Ignatius Catholic Elementary School and later, McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. His parents lived “over the bay” until their deaths in recent years, and his sister, Lucy (Lulu) owns Lulu’s at the Homeport at the base of the Intercoastal Bridge in Gulf Shores. Matter of fact, Jimmy refers to “Lulu” singing Freebird in Bama Breeze and she actually performs that part in the video.

The Buffetts are no strangers to “storms”. When you live on the Gulf Coast, a/k/a “Deep South”, it’s a way of life. Sometimes you go years with nary a scare of a storm, and then sometimes you have to endure six or seven “hits”. Even with the dangers each year, the majority of folks who reside from Corpus Christi, TX to Key West, FL wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Sadly, any time a “storm” is in the Gulf of Mexico, multiple areas usually feel the effects. Living in the central portion of the Gulf Coast, we’re always “in the line of fire”. I grew up 30 miles off the coast of Louisiana and went through ONE category 5 storm, Hurricane Andrew, back in 1991 when we were living in Baton Rouge. Everything before that (nearly 30 years), was limited to the inconvenience of lack of power and air conditioning for a brief period, but little else.

While Hurricane Katrina exposed the ultimate vulnerability with the flood of New Orleans and the suffering that it brought, many Gulf Coast cities and towns have suffered similiar tragic consequences but are not etched in the minds of most Americans. The Mississippi Gulf Coast of Gulfport and Biloxi was annihilated by Hurricane Camille. Hurricane Audrey drowned hundreds in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Mobile took five years to recover from Hurricane Frederick. And Homestead, FL will likely never be the same after Hurricane Andrew.

Among the casualties of these storms are the landmarks of our lives. Places like Annie’s Restaurant in Waveland, MS; Circle Grocery in New Orleans; and yes, the irrepressible icon of Alabama and Northwest Florida — the FloraBama. While the destroyed bar from which Jimmy performs in Bama Breeze is/was actually The Fire Dog Saloon in Bay St. Louis, MS; that is basically what the FloraBama looked like after Ivan.

Here is a before and after of the World Famous Mullet Toss held annually in April at the Flora Bama:


April 2004


April 2007

While much of the dunes and sea grasses were destroyed, the Mullet Toss — and the FloraBama — is alive and well, a testament to the nature of the Gulf Coast inhabitants. The FloraBama is more than just a beach “dive”. It’s one of those places where there’s always good music, cold beer and no judgment. It’s a vacation spot to let loose and just be. The echoes of laughter, the smell of stale beer and the feeling of freedom continue to permeate through this oddly wonderful icon of the Gulf Coast. Although not totally rebuilt, the hodge-podge of tents, roofs and buildings are certainly “good ’nuff” to still be the jewel of the “Redneck Riviera”.



Posted by on September 30, 2007 in florabama, jimmy buffett


17 responses to “Bama Breeze a/k/a FloraBama

  1. morewines

    October 1, 2007 at 12:43 am

    I was on a very long road trip this last May. I
    didn’t have an opportunity to visit the Florabama.
    Too many fires in the Florida and Georgia boarder. All the Highways and State Highways were
    closed. I finally was able to leave Florida
    on the only Freeway they opened going to Georgia.
    I would have gotten a kick out of visting the
    Florabama but had to take the only road available out of Florida before they closed them all again.

  2. Little Deb

    October 1, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Looks like a fun place. Hopefully I’ll get there some day. I was in south Florida for Hurricane Andrew. Total devistation. We took a ride down to Homestead a few days after and there were communities where you did not see one roof left. It might sound a little insane, but I would still rather live in the warmth of the south (even with the threat of a hurricane) than up here with the snow and sleet storms any day.

    This Thursday, we’re heading on vacation to the Florida Keys for ten days. Can you say Halleluya!!!!!!! We will be stopping at this place I’m sure. Lots of great food, music and atmosphere. I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!! Since it is still hurricane season, everyone please say a little prayer for me that I can have my 10 days in the keys “hurricane free”.

    Well, today is my birthday. My “dear” husband (and I use the term dear very sarcastically today) got up this morning, read the paper, drank the tea I made for him, put on the clothes I ironed for him, took the breakfast and lunch I prepared for him, gave me a peck on the cheek and said “see ya later”. Can someone call this jerk and tell him it’s my 48th birthday? I love the guy and he is mostly a sweetheart, but Geez!

    Nothing’s gonna ruin my day though. It’s my damn birthday, Wednesday is my 20th wedding anniversary (maybe I’ll forget to give dh the card and present I got for him hee hee) and we’re heading to Florida on Thursday. Life is good.

    And, I know you all are probably sick of me posting this song, but it’s one of my favorites and well it IS my birthday and MM you did mention Jimmy Buffet above. So…………..

    A Pirate Looks at Forty (I don’t know who the guy in the video is, but I’m pretending that I’m on that sailboat today).

    And, I wish everyone “Blue Skies” today. One of my favorite Willie Nelson songs.

  3. music maven

    October 1, 2007 at 7:21 am

    Little Deb — That’s what I’m talking about….the risk is well worth the reward. And, it’s been my experience that people really come together when there is a storm.

    Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Libras rule, baby!


    Happy Anniversary, as well. Perhaps you should have THIS blaring when he comes home.

  4. music maven

    October 1, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Morewines — Alabama roads are always open…heh.

    Remember, the FloraBama is “credited” to Florida but the patrons are generally from Alabama…more repressed protestants there.

  5. Little Deb

    October 1, 2007 at 7:37 am

    Hey MM, I feel more like the woman in Tompall Glaser’s “Put Another Log on the Fire” this morning. I’m kidding because I’m sure he was just being totally “clueless”. When he gets home later and dinner isn’t cooked and he asks why, I guess I’ll have to tell him he’s taking me out. I’m sure he’ll “get it” then. Am I being too much of a “fair” Libra here? Sometimes those scales are a real curse………..

  6. lou bell

    January 2, 2008 at 3:16 am

    am i wrong? didn’t buffet own the florabama @ 1 time? always have a good time there though i never remember it all…..funny

  7. music maven

    January 2, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Nope. Buffett never owned any of the Flora Bama. His sister and he own Lulu’s in Gulf Shores on the Intercoastal Canal.

  8. Brandon

    July 6, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    last time I went to P-cola, I was 19…couldnt have fun and was only there for a week…wasnt that big of a Parrothead. Now I am 30 and will be going back to P-cola for Aircraft fire fighting school, and I am a huge Parrothead. I will head for the Flora Bama, Lulus and Margaritaville Panama to live out the Parrothead Gulf coastal life style for the 6 weeks I will be there.

  9. Robbie

    March 2, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I lived in Ft. Walton and made it to the Mullet Toss several times. Jimmy’s right about the feeling. I am thankful that they were able to recover from the storm. Plan to be there again soon

  10. EngineEngine55

    April 8, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    This song the “Bama Breeze” was the theme song of our softball team my senior year 🙂 I heard the song and well lets just say it stuck. Another team mate and I played this song constantly, day in and day out. It was played on the way to games, practices, tournaments, and everything else. We played it before our games, during, and after. She and I loved that song: every minute of it. Even since we’ve graduated, every time we hear it, we text each other with simply the words “At the Bama Breeze.” It brings back so many memories and what those days used to be like. She was in Flordia not too long ago and she was at the FloraBama and called me saying she had finally found the place. I’ve been meaning to make a trip but I haven’t found the time or the money, but as soon as I do I will def be there. That song is an icon to she and I and hopefully we’ll will make a trip sometime soon. Until then I’ll keep listening to that song and send out a mass text to all my girls when I hear it. Thank you Jimmy Buffet for the production of this song and to you LuLu for having your eatery because I absolutely love it. Does anyone know how far away LuLu’s is from the Flora Bama???

    • music maven

      April 8, 2009 at 9:29 pm

      Lulu’s is on the Intracoastal Canal, about 10 miles from the FloraBama. You get on 59 to the Beach and take a left on the Beach Highway. Go through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and over the Pass Bridge, passed Ono Island and you’re there. On the right.

      • Jodi

        September 11, 2009 at 11:12 pm

        THANKS SO MUCH 🙂

  11. Lori

    September 8, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I met my husband at the Flora-Bama. This Nov. will be our 20th anniversary!

    • music maven

      September 11, 2009 at 5:55 pm

      AWESOME! Happy anniversary!!!

  12. Tracey

    April 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I grew up in Pensacola. And lived in Florida most of my life, so I’v seen the destruction of Ivan and was so sorry to see what happened to the FloraBama, seeing Buffett’s Bama Breeze took me home to the beach and the good times. I’m going home for my 20th hs reuion this summer and I hope to get over to the “Bama Breeze”

  13. Captain JJ

    October 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Nice peace, just wish there were more accuracies in the content. Buffett didn’t write the song specifically about Florabama, which is why it was filmed at Fire Dog’s. if you know Buffett, then you know he portrays a “state of mind” not a state, or bar, or any other material object. Bama Breeze was code for Florabama, Fire Dog’s, Shaggy’s, and any other bar that is completely gone or rebuilt after natural disaster take them away. Oh yeah, and Katrina barely skinned New Orleans compared to the devastation it caused in South Mississippi and even further South Louisiana. It would be good for everyone to know the different in a few feet of water in your house compared to a few feet of concrete slab left over from your house…..just a tidbit from a fellow Parrotthead and Gulf Coast resident……

  14. music maven

    October 3, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Actually, there was an article from that was underlined in the piece where Jimmy Buffett does, in fact, indicate that the song was specifically inspired by the Florabama, but stands for all of the beach dives along the Gulf Coast and Florida. (link now requires subscription). He filmed at Fire Dog because he wanted to bring attention to the devastation in Mississippi and Alabama and yes, the general “Salt Life”. As for Katrina, I tried to convey the message that there are other areas with more extensive damage than New Orleans and that focus is never placed on these areas.

    Thanks for your comments. I agree that the Gulf Coast is much bigger than New Orleans and other areas (mainly Mississippi) has suffered greater devastation with less attention from these storms.


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