Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Easing Into Vicksburg

I was born and raised in Vicksburg, and when I moved away, I just went 50 miles east to the Jackson metro area. So the first 24 years of my life were in Mississippi. And growing up in Vicksburg, I couldn't wait to move away. I had a lot of fun times there, running around in the woods and in neighborhoods with my friends, namely Jeremy and Billy, but ultimately, when we hit our teenage years, there was nothing to do but get in trouble, which none of us did, so there was REALLY nothing to do. (Consequently we all made really good grades because we filled our time with schoolwork instead of drinking and impregnating people- it has served us well over the years). When people asked me what there was to do in Vicksburg, I would reply “Drive to Jackson.”

Now, as an adult, I appreciate Vicksburg more since I now view it through a different lens. I still don't think the city is the “right fit” for who I am, but as I have gotten older and my desires and needs have changed, Vicksburg has more to offer than I once thought.* Far from perfect, but there is a charm to the place.

And there are some cool things happening lately. Daniel has opened the Highway 61 Coffeehouse. The downtown area is showing some real signs of revitalization. And then, On June 28th, just days after I arrive, Vicksburg hosts a really cool event. The Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation hosted a tribute to Willie Dixon, a blues legend and Vicksburg native.

Willie Dixon

Additionally, the Cultural Center downtown was the first stop in the first stop of the Smithsonian's traveling exhibit New Harmonies, which focuses on American “roots music.”

New Harmonies Exhibit

The event was well attended, with an estimated 700+ people showing up to enjoy the festivities. It was a good cross section, too: young and old, black and white, rich and not-so-rich. There were muliple bands performing on the main stage, all covering the songs of Willie Dixon. Lots of folks I know played: Daniel Boone, Kenny Boone, L.H. Abraham, Seth Libby (who gave me a shout-out from onstage), etc. There was also a bluegrass band in the courtyard, and gospel singing in the chapel (the Center is in an old Catholic School / convent).

Willie Dixon Event, Courtyard

It was a great way to ease back into V'burg livin' for the month.

*Unless you are a teenager, and there REALLY IS NOTHING TO DO. No movie theater. No bowling alley. The mall is terrible. Nothing. So expect the regular bumper crop o' babies and vandalism to be coming along soon.

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