Sunday, October 10, 2010

delta blues part 2

I STOOD IN MUDDY WATERS' HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  well, technically it was his cabin moved to the delta blues museum in clarksdale, mississippi.  it was damaged in a wind storm or hurricane or some sort of weather event and it got dismantled and moved to the museum and reassembled!  it is really cool b/c the inside and outside are now decorated w/big metal plaques of his song lyrics.  and inside a movie about his life runs and there are all sorts of displays and mementoes in there.

but first i cannot resist just a few more photos of the shack up inn, and then photos of clarksdale, mississippi

 the to do list hanging in the bathroom - can be seen from the clawfoot tub

 the lobby's outdoor sitting area

awesome ribs!!  morgan freeman likes them too.

legend has it that this is the very spot where robert johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for extraordinary guitar skill.  supposedly he died after a show at a juke joint where he was poisoned by a jealous husband.  (intersection of 49 and 61 in clarksdale, MS)

before this was the riverside hotel, it was a black hospital.  bessie smith died here from injuries suffered in a car crash on rt. 61 (the blues highway) on her way to or from a gig.  her arm was badly mangled and she bled to death.  the owner now keeps the room where she died unrented and has a big poster of her in there.  after it was a hospital, it was a black hotel during the time hotels were totally segregated.  jfk jr. stayed there during one of the music festivals right after he passed the bar.

the ground zero blues club

 the delta blues museum - unbelievable how every blues great came from the delta!

 it is in a restored train depot

 the mississippi blues trail has really cool historical markers like this one.  sorry to say i am a bit foggy on the wrox story.  but i am pretty sure it was one of the first radio stations to have black on air personalities.
i have learned so many blues and civil rights facts that i can't remember them all clearly.  google it if you are interested!

the next three are of a really cool blues and folk art store in town.  it also has a big board notifying people of live music in the area.

 typical scene in town

oops - this got out of order - this is the front of cats head, the cool store

parts of the town look a little like the land that time forgot.  this one was particularly amazing.  but don't know how well you can see the store sign.  it was a surreal sight.  

this is supposed to be a great restaurant.  i chose abe's the bbq place instead.

last one of the town

after leaving clarksdale, i drove east across mississippi heading toward the natchez trace parkway.  i stopped in oxford, mississippi, where the university of mississippi (ole miss) is.  this is where james meredith was the first african-american student and the governor initially blocked his entrance.  riots occurred and two people were killed - one of them was a french journalist who is said to be the only journalist killed during the civil rights struggles.  federal troops were called in by the president to ensure his entrance.  despite being horrifically harassed, he graduated.

it was a very cute, quaint place and although only about an hour from the delta it seemed worlds away.

 they take their football very seriously

 william faulkner lived here for many years.  there he is.  nobody was around to take my picture with him.
the stadium.

the next photos are of the natchez trace parkway which i took from tupelo, mississippi down to jackson, mississippi.  it was the coolest road i have ever been on.  tons of unspoiled land and THE BEST SMELL i have ever smelled in my life!!!  it seemed like a combination of pine (but not too strong), grass, some kind of flower, and hay (i smelled it the most going by hay bales, so i think it was mostly hay.)  it was really astonishing and i wish i could have bottled it.  it was the first time i saw leaves changing color a bit.  this whole trip has felt like a wonderful, dry, hot, sunny summer.  i can't believe how fantastic the weather has been every single day since i hit new orleans.  (oh, and i promise those entries are coming. maybe i will just do those when i get home.)

i can't describe the natchez trace any better than fodor's:  "the flower-sprigged and forested natchez trace parkway is a vast and verdant living history lesson.  this enchanted path is said to be about 8,000 years old.  it follows the early trails worn by natchez, choctaw, and chickasaw native americans, itinerant preachers, post riders, soldiers and settlers."

 french camp (above and next 2)

 cypress swamp
  a giant lake that i reached when the sun was starting to set.  actually i think they called it a reservoir.  i am too tired to figure out if i know the difference.

my next fancy hotel, the old capitol inn in jackson, MS.  it was adorable.  and i was in the walter anderson room.  found out the next day at the art museum that he is a famous illustrator from mississippi.    not looking forward to this next credit card bill....

 separate sitting room
 yes, folks, that is a fresh flower in my bathroom

dinner.  chicken and fruit were good.  lettuce was old.  what do you want for $8 room service?

next entry starts w/the fabulous roof deck where i hung out the next morning!

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