Sunday, August 23, 2009

Final Notes On Mississippi

So, as you can tell from a half dozen posts, I highly recommend you make a pilgrimage to the Mississippi Delta.

The place I stayed in Clarksdale was The Shack Up Inn. From my perspective, it can’t be beat. Their own website gives a lot of information.

The picture above shows the exterior of the office and Blues Chapel. I stayed in Electric Blue, right, a cabin set off to one side, with a front porch, two bedrooms, a living area, bath, microwave, a free live blues performance by excellent musicians, and decent in-room coffee for about half what I spent at the Jackson Marriott one night prior. (They had good coffee, too, and a bigger bed.) There's room for a family in this shack.

The only other thing I did in Clarksdale (besides eating good food) was make a quick trip to the Delta Blues Museum. It’s worth a visit. When I was there they had great photographs of the Delta by Nathan Miller, clothing, guitars and harmonicas used by various musicians, (including B. B. King), and the wooden bones of an entire log cabin once inhabited by Muddy Waters.

The museum website has a good section on planning your visit to Clarksdale. Next time I go I’ll make sure I have time to visit some of the blues clubs, record stores and restaurants.

But I had to go back to Jackson to catch a plane. I made time for lunch in Indianola, and leisurely drives through the “downtowns” of all the little villages and cities along my route—places like Cleveland, Yazoo City and Bentonia. (Which locales give me an excuse to inflict another of my ancient, teenage drawings—this one of Skip James, below, who was born in Yazoo or Bentonia.)

I was a little sad, towards the end of my drive to see the gently rolling hills that meant I was leaving the Delta for drier land. But there’s tomorrow. And the day after that.

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