A River Country Journal / Fall and Winter 2007-2008
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A boll from Leflore County’s 2007 cotton crop.
The setting sun silhouettes a storm close to Star of the West Road just north of Greenwood.
6. Photographer has an eye for eagles. 11. The Doctors Moses, hometown physicians. 15. Quilter teaches others to stitch and smile. 22. Fisherman from Itta Bena catches the good life. 30. Viola B. Sanders lives in light of distinguished career. 41. Teaching is music to ears of Valley professor 43. Instructor dances into unplanned vocation. 44. Coaches from Russia at home in Greenwood.
places 23. Remains of Civil War fort fascinate history buff.
38. Mississippi’s new Blues Trail begins in Greenwood.
table of contents
A tow boat pushes a loaded barge upstream on the Yazoo River close to Greenwood.
features 8. Melissa Elliott and Adrian Tribble
24. The home of Lee Abraham is a
definitely can can. 13. Gospel groups perform with faith. 18. Cobra Motorcycle Club members include teachers, business owners and public officials.
Grand Boulevard landmark. 32. Claudia White enjoys decorating her own “White House.”
4. From the editor. 46. Calendar. 47. Index to advertisers.
48. The Convention & Visitors Bureau meets and greets — and a lot more.
ON THE COVER: A chandelier hangs in front of a mirror in the dining room of Reveilee, a historic home in Greenwood. See page 24. Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 3
From the editor
Selling Greenwood’s getting a lot easier
though he had been Late this summer, interviewed by the we were looking for a whole town. I was writer to fill a vacanimpressed how the cy in our newsroom. recent college grad Frequently we have handled himself in a to cast a wide net for crowd of strangers. I this job. think he was Every once in a impressed by what while, we luck up he saw and the hoslocally on someone pitality with which who has print jourhe was received. nalism background or He accepted the aptitude, but just as job. often we find ourCertainly, there are some things about our community that I’d selves talking to prospects from North Carolina or Texas or like to see change. There’s not enough decent rental property someplace thereabouts. for young professionals. The resegregation of the schools is a When I came here from Washington, D.C., a quarter-century handicap when trying to attract highly skilled workers with ago, I was focused almost solely on the job. I was looking for a young children. It’s concerning that, if the latest census estiplace that would teach me to be a reporter. I wasn’t too conmates are correct, Leflore cerned where that might be. County’s population has The mind set of job seekers The city’s becoming known for its declined almost 6 percent has changed, however. Today’s highly mobile “creative class” hospitality, entrepreneurial energy. since the 2000 head count. I also know, however, there’s is just as concerned about qualnot a community that doesn’t have its problems. Greenwood has ity of life as it is the quality of the job. That means employers fewer of them than a whole lot of other places in the Delta, and have to sell talented job candidates not only on the attributes of it’s working on the ones it does have. The school situation is their company but the attributes of their town. slowly improving. Race relations are getting better all the time. With that in mind, the help wanted ad I placed on a popular And there’s a strong entrepreneurial class that gives people good journalism Web site devoted almost as much space to selling our reason to be optimistic about Leflore County’s economic future. community as it did explaining the job. Certainly Viking is a big part of that, but it’s not the only part. “Greenwood,” I wrote, “is one of the nicest towns in the I had a visit recently from Randy Goldsmith, president of the Mississippi Delta, offering a wonderful mix of food, music, civil Mississippi Technology Alliance. Goldsmith’s job is to try to rights history and, if you like the outdoors, some of the best match investment capital with innovative business minds. In the hunting and fishing anywhere. It is also home to Viking Range year he’s been in the state, Goldsmith said, he’s learned that Corp., the premier manufacturer of upscale kitchen appliances.” there are two cities with a reputation for entrepreneurial energy: I don’t know if those words did the trick, but something did. I Greenwood and Tupelo. received more resumes, and higher quality ones, than usual. For years, Tupelo has been regarded as a place on the move. They came from at least nine different states, and a couple of Even though the relocation of the furniture industry overseas foreign countries. dealt the Northeast Mississippi region a setback, it has reboundOne of the talented applicants, Charlie Smith, came for his ed with the landing of a Toyota plant. interview on an auspicious night. I dragged the East Tennessean For Greenwood to be mentioned in the same breath as Tupelo along to a United Way fundraising party, where all the finest of by someone with no personal allegiance to either is high praise. Leflore County was on display: a gorgeous home, delicious food And it’s one more selling point when someone — whether seaand a mixed, jovial crowd joining together for a worthwhile soned businessman or budding journalist — is looking at our cause. town. — Tim Kalich By the time the evening was over, Charlie probably felt as 4 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
Editor and Publisher Tim Kalich
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Volume 3, No. 1 —————— Editorial and business offices: P.O. Box 8050 329 Highway 82 West Greenwood, MS 38935-8050 662-453-5312
—————— Leflore Illustrated is published by Commonwealth Publishing, Inc.
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215 West Market Greenwood, Mississippi Mon. - Fri. 8am - 5pm Sat. 8am - 12pm (662) 453-7131 firstname.lastname@example.org Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 5
PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
an eagle eye
BY DAVID MONROE
In years of photographing and monitoring nests of bald eagles, John E. Ashcraft Jr. of Greenwood has even developed a connection with some of the birds. Since he began photographing bald eagles in the early 1980s, he has amassed one of the largest collections of eagle photographs in this region, if not the largest. They ring the walls of his home on Bell Avenue. For example, he has photos of one pair of eagles that stay in a cypress brake in Arkansas annually from November until late February or early March. Over the years, many outdoor photographers asked him for the specific location, but he won’t reveal it. During his visits, he would approach the two birds and talk to them, and they would cock their heads and look at him. “They don’t like it when I take somebody, that particular pair, and they come back every winter,” he said. “And they’ll let me get out and put up, say, two tripods so I can have two different cameras, and I don’t even turn the motor off.” The eagles recognize the sound of a car from far off. “If any other car comes down this road, they’ll leave,” he said. “Otherwise, they’ve gotten to know me, and this is the truth.” Ashcraft’s eagle photos have appeared in a number of magazines, newspapers and other publications. From time to time, people have asked him to check on nests or visit sites where they think nests might be. “There are about six sites on the Internet now that have photographs of bald eagles, but I had the first ones, to my 6 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
John E. Ashcraft Jr., above, has filled his home in Greenwood with photos he made of eagles. knowledge,” he said. He is a life member of the foundation of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and also belongs to a number of conservation groups. Mary Stevens, librarian at the museum, has worked with Ashcraft since the early 1990s, when the museum first started a program to keep track of bald eagle nests. “The first time I talked to John about bald eagles, we talked for an hour,” she said. The museum depends on word of mouth for its information on nests, and Ashcraft has been a great resource, she said. “He’s made an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of bald eagles in this state,” Stevens said. Ashcraft grew up in Greenwood and
moved to Greenville in 1972 after earning his law degree from the University of Mississippi. He worked for Trustmark Bank for 24 years. He moved back to Greenwood in 2004. He has photographed eagles at a number of sites, including Lake Washington in Washington County and Eagle Lake in Warren County, as well as Arkansas. Even before he began observing eagles, he had enjoyed going to the lake levees with his dogs and spending time in the woods. “For years I monitored the one in Warren County, both for the museum and for me,” he said. He estimated that the state has about 44 active nests, including sites in Bolivar, Coahoma, Grenada, Washington, Yazoo
“What made me just furious was when they let them put hunting stands close to the nests.” John E. Ashcraft Jr. and Warren counties. At one time, he thought it was presumptuous for the state authorities to claim they knew where all the nests were, but they actually do, he said. “Planes are going to see them all because they’re always high in the tree,” he explained. Some of his photo subjects are Southern eagles that had nests in the area. Others had flown down from the North for the winter. The ones migrating from the North generally follow the Mississippi River and then spread out. They also tend to be easier to photograph, Ashcraft said. “The eagles that come down for the winter don’t nest, and they stay in trees,” he said. “They usually go to the same location year after year, normally around swamps and cypress trees.” Eagles have to be near water because fish make up 80 percent of their diet, Ashcraft said. Because small land mammals make up the other 20 percent, he can’t take his small dog near them. In fact, once when he took his mother to see a nest at Eagle Lake in Warren County, he told her he was concerned about the safety of his dog, Trish. Upon hearing that, his mother returned to the car in a hurry. “She said, ‘If it’s too dangerous for Trish, it’s too dangerous for me,’ and she jumped back in because she thought she might also be considered a small land mammal,” he recalled. “I told her I thought she was safe, but she wouldn’t get out — not that close to the nest.” Because of DDT pesticide and other factors, the number of eagle nests in the United States dropped from more than 40,000 to about 400. By interfering with the body’s processing of calcium, DDT rendered many eagles sterile and made other eagles’ eggs brittle. After DDT was banned in 1972, the eagle population began to grow again — although Mississippi, as an agricultural state, was not among the fastest to comply with the ban, Ashcraft said. Eventually, bald eagles were moved from the endangered species list to the “threatened” list, which gave them less
protection. Now they are off the “threatened” list. And to Ashcraft’s dismay, hunters in some locations continued to place hunting stands near eagle nests — which may or may not have been legal — but no one stopped them. This forced eagles out of
places they had inhabited for years. “I thought they should have been taken off the ‘endangered,’ maybe, but not the ‘threatened,’” he said. “And what made me just furious was when they let them put the hunting stands so close to the nests.” LI
When only the best will do.
Antique platinum pin, circa 1920 Sapphire with diamonds
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 7
Preserve a dying art?
PHOTOS BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
They certain ly
can Melissa Elliott explains the canning process. She’s been putting up food since she was a girl.
BY DAVID MONROE Melissa Elliott learned about the value of canning at a young age, and she still relies on it as a way to preserve good food. When she was growing up in Kosciusko, the whole family got involved in canning, as much out of economic 8 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
necessity as anything else. “Everybody had their part,” she recalled. “You started at 3 or 4 years old picking up trash and putting it in the garbage can, but everybody had their part.”
She learned how to prep vegetables when she was 6 and learned other skills gradually, including canning, freezing and dehydrating. By the time she was 18, she could do anything needed in the kitchen, including preparation and preserving. Today, she still does a lot of canning. With the cost of groceries rising, she can save money by buying food in bulk and preserving it. Properly canned food can be good for a year or more. Adrian Tribble learned the skill early, too. Her grandmother canned, as did her husband’s mother, aunt and grandmother. Tribble learned the process and stayed with it. “It’s just something I enjoyed,” she recalled. “I was lucky enough I was able to stay home with my children when they were young.” Now, though, more households have two working parents, so people don’t have as much time. Also, not as many people cook these days, and younger people are more likely to freeze items than can them. But those who grew up in the country might be more inclined to do it, especially if they have access to fresh produce.
“Canning is very rewarding, but it’s a time-consuming process,” Tribble said. Even though freezing might save time, Elliott likes the beauty of a line of canned items on a shelf or an assembled gift basket. “It’s a lost and dying art, that’s definitely for sure,” she said. Canning works best with fresh, young, tender vegetables, which should be washed in cool water soon after they are picked. Then they should be refrigerated and canned as soon as possible. Tribble has access to plenty of fresh produce at the family business — the Farmers Market — and Elliott has grown many kinds of vegetables in her garden in Money. Tribble said she cans a lot of fruit, vegetables, relishes, soup stock and pickles. Corn stock, peas and butter beans take longer to can, so she freezes them. Adrian Tribble uses “A lot of people can corn,” tongs to show how she said. “And I tried that hot jars are lifted one time, and it took so during processing. long I didn’t like it.” Elliott hasn’t had a garden this year because she has had knee surgery. In a good year, though, she will grow tomatoes, okra, peas, turnip greens, squash, peanuts, butter beans and other items. She also has had to adjust her recipes to fit the diets of the people who will eat the food. For example, sugar counteracts the aftertaste of canned tomatoes, but if a person is diabetic, an artificial sweetener should be used instead. For someone with high blood pressure, salt should be omitted, and seasoning should be added later. Foods can be canned using a hot water bath or a pressure cooker. Boiling water is better for high-acid foods such as pickles, tomatoes and most fruits and berries. A pressure canner is better for most vegetables, as well as meats, poultry, fish and eggs, because the higher heat gets rid of bacteria. Canning requires patience and precision. “It’s not something you can do and go off and leave and come back,” Tribble said. For a pressure cooker, it takes 25-30 minutes to build pressure. Then it takes 30-35 minutes to process green beans and toma-
toes and longer for corn and potatoes. “For just the cooking process, you’re looking at an hour and a half to two hours, and that would be for just six quart jars,” Tribble said. Altogether, it might take four to five hours to produce six to eight quarts of beans or tomatoes, depending on the size of the equipment. Safety is important at every step of canning. The produce, jars, lids and screw bands must be washed thoroughly first, and any jar with a chip in it should be discarded. Lids should be used only once. Also, it's important to monitor the finished product afterward. If the contents of a jar appear cloudy or have a strange color or smell, they should be thrown away. Likewise, if a seal lid is rusty, it has bacteria that make it unsafe, and it should be thrown out. “Don't try anything that you're not sure of,” Elliott said. Some people are leery of pressure canners, concerned that they might “blow up,” Elliott said. But today's pressure cookers are smaller than the ones she and her family used years ago, and they have more safety features. Some have plugs that pop out if the pressure reaches a certain level, and others have plugs with a metal alloy that melts if it becomes too hot inside. “If they’re afraid of the old one Grandma had, just go get a new one,” Elliott said, “because Grandma’s might not have the safety features that the new ones have.” Having been involved in canning for most of her life, Elliott still reads books and consults Web sites for ideas. The Mississippi State University Extension Service also has a variety of printed materials on canning. And for those interested in taking up this lost art, she encourages them to go for it. “I just tell folks to jump in with both feet and do it,” she said. “You can’t mess it up. If you do, you just have to eat a lot of something real quick and keep on going.” LI Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 9
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PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
degree; Carling, another two years younger, is a senior at Mississippi State, majoring in occupational therapy; Walter is a junior at State, studying kinesiology; and Wilson, born in 1990, just started his junior year at Pillow Academy. Jeff has been married to the BY JO ALICE DARDEN former Connie One brother determined when he was in Rogers of the first grade that he would be a doctor. Memphis since The other considered trying medical school 1986. The couonly because he learned NASA was drawing ple met when in its purse strings when he was a freshman he was doing his Brothers Wally, left, and Jeff Moses, right, practice in college. One has a “thing” for the rock emergency medicine in their hometown of Greenwood. Their mom, icon Stevie Nicks. The other’s “thing” is a medicine rotaAdah, center, works in Wally’s office. 1968 Pontiac GTO he has lovingly restored. tion, and she Both knew they wanted to practice medicine in their hometown of was a flight nurse, caring for patients who had to be transported Greenwood, and each has a passion for his work. between hospitals in helicopters. They married during his residenWalter Carl Moses Jr., M.D., and his brother, Louis Jefferson cy. Their son, Abbott, 19, is a sophomore at Mississippi Delta Moses, M.D., have no one to “blame” in their family for influencCommunity College. He plans to be an airline pilot and will contining them to go into medicine, although Wally said his mom always ue his studies in the program Delta State offers in that field. wanted him to be a doctor, despite his plan to become an astroWally set up his internal medicine practice in Greenwood in 1981. physicist for the space administration. He has no absolute proof that He soon attracted Kenny Hines, M.D., to the practice, and Jeff Adah Moses somehow arranged those timely cutbacks at NASA. joined the group when he finished his residency about five years Wally and Jeff are graduates of Greenwood High School, Wally in later. Jeff’s tenure, however, was brief. the Class of 1971 and Jeff, 1976. They went on to Mississippi State Three weeks after he started with Wally and Kenny, he learned University for their undergraduate degrees and University Medical Greenwood Leflore Hospital was searching for a director of emerCenter in Jackson for their medical degrees; each completed his gency services. residency in Memphis. Each received and considered attractive “I had some friends I thought might be interested in the position, offers to practice in the big city, but something urged them to so I went to check it out for them,” Jeff said. But it sounded perfect return to their stomping ground. for him: He could pay off his medical school loans and get estab“For me, it was family,” said Wally, who is in private practice in lished in the community, then leave in a year or two to go into priinternal medicine, “and a love of Greenwood and the Delta. The mary care practice. And he had always liked moonlighting in the lure was too great.” ER when he was a resident. Jeff, director of emergency services at Greenwood Leflore The average burnout for an emergency room physician, Jeff pointHospital, echoes those sentiments and adds that he loves country ed out, is seven years. He has been the hospital’s top ER doc for 20 living. years now and still loves his work. The doctors are the first- and second-born sons of Wally and Adah “We are provided a great facility, and the administration has been Moses of Greenwood. Mr. Moses, now retired, worked for Fisher so generous,” Jeff said. “Our ER is as well-equipped as any other in Stationery Co. and, later, Stribling-Clements in Greenwood. Mrs. the state. I have the best group of doctors, nurses and technicians, Moses devoted her time to rearing their boys. The couple’s and it’s been reassuring to have stability in the ER with a longtime youngest son, Charlie, while not a doctor, has recently retired as the staff and very low turnover.” chief investigator for Mississippi’s state medical licensure board. Jeff said it’s intellectually stimulating to work with such top-drawMarried since 1976 to the former Beth Baldwin of Greenwood, er people, and he also appreciates having Wally close by so the two Wally said some of his children might be able to “blame” him for can discuss interesting points of their cases. their career choices: Morgan, born in 1981, earned her undergraduBoth said if they have a puzzling problem, they’re likely to arrive ate degree in nursing at Delta State University; Lauren, two years at a better solution if they put their heads together. younger and married, is pursuing a doctorate in the physical therapy Although the brothers share their passion for medicine, they have program at UMC and, Wally said, may consider going for a medical different approaches to its practice.
A brotherly spin on
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 11
patients are extremely considerate — way more considerate than they need to be,” he said. “They should call more.” Jeff said one of the main attractions of emergency medicine is, “When I’m off, I’m off.” He doesn’t have to carry a beeper or be on call. He can spend his spare time on his Carroll County farm, where he tends his food plots for wildlife and tinkers with his 1968 GTO. A typical day for Jeff depends on the shift he’s working, which changes each week. The ER shifts include the 5 a.m. until 5 p.m. day shift and the 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. night shift, with coverage doubled (two doctors present) from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. until 11 p.m., the ER’s busiest
Wally, whose office walls are adorned with photos of Stevie Nicks, whom he has met, keeps regular office hours, but he is in a call group (for being on call) with other internal medicine practitioners at night, rotating coverage on weekends. His days start with hospital rounds at 7 a.m.; he sees patients at his office until about 4 p.m. and then returns to the hospital to check up on some of his patients. He also works six or seven shifts a month in his brother’s ER when he’s needed, enjoying the “adrenalin rush” that is the nature of emergency room coverage. On Wednesday and Friday afternoons, he consults with Life Help, giving his staff time to catch up on filing and paperwork, take care of their families and generally decompress from the normally hectic pace of his office hours. Adah Moses has been a member of her son’s front office staff for about 25 years as a receptionist and records clerk – “everything but insurance and billing,” she said. “I enjoy being a part of Wally’s practice and doing whatever I can to make his patients feel better,” she said. As busy as both of her sons are, she said, she’d never see them if she didn’t work for one of them. Wally said he never minds being on call at night or on weekends. “I think my
times. “That’s the only drawback to emergency medicine — the shift work,” Jeff said. He also works one day a week in the hospital’s Free Clinic on Strong Avenue. “I enjoy the change of pace and being able to actually follow up on patients I see there.” Wally and Jeff both plan to practice their medicine until they just can’t anymore. Jeff may even “slow down a little” in 10 years or so, perhaps going back into primary care practice on a limited basis. “I enjoy the personal contact with patients and following their problems,” he said. Greenwood can look forward to at least several more years of “family medicine” practiced by the Moses brothers. LI
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Buying • Selling • Friendly Advice
Gerald Montgomery Debbie Smith
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12 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
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BY KRIS KLOTZ Among the West Singers are, from the left, Antonio West, Anita Cage,Arteasha Journey, Victoria Emmons, Veronica Tidwell and Phil West.
Gospel’s a way of life
M.C. Williams recalls one performance by Evangelist Carolyn Williams and The Spiritual Stars where the music escaped out onto a street lined with bars. “People came in off the streets and fell down at the altar saying they wanted to be saved,” said Williams, The Spiritual Stars’ manager and member. The Greenwood group’s been performing for a dozen years, but its roots started much earlier. “I’ve been singing since I was 9 years old,” said M.C.’s wife, Carolyn Williams. The Spiritual Stars are among the many gospel groups that have performed in and around Leflore County for decades. Included in that company are the West Singers, a group started in 1974. The members of both groups consider their music a ministry. Carolyn Williams and The Spiritual Stars perform locally and nationally at churches, concerts and benefit programs. Carolyn uses the stage as a means to deliver sermons and offer religious praise. “There’s nothing like seeing people delivered and healed. I just love to praise the Lord,” said Carolyn. Carolyn Williams and The Spiritual Stars also perform on the radio program, the Joyful
Hour, which plays Wednesday nights on the local gospel radio station, WGRM (FM 93.9). M.C. Evangelist Williams has Carolyn Williams 35 years of experience in sings during a the radio Spiritual business, Stars which he has concert.. found useful in managing the group. Carolyn Williams and The Spiritual Stars’ first album, “We are Blessed,” sold more than 5,000 copies. “People say they have been healed just listening to the music,” said Carolyn. The group’s also composed of Felicia Journey, Vanya Smith, LaSandra Reed, Sherrelle Brooks, Antonio Williams, Tranleson Tribblett and Mack Adams. The group hopes eventually to share this music overseas. “I want to spread the gospel in songs everywhere,”
said Carolyn. The West Singers have been sharing the good news for generations. For the Wests, gospel music also reflects their faith. “The reason I do it is to serve the Lord and to have him bless me. When praises go up, blessings come down. It’s a good way to draw people to God,” said Willie West, president of The West Singers. The Wests consist of singers Willie West, Victoria Emmons, Marcus West, Arteasha Journey, Anita Cage and Veronica West. The band includes guitarist Phillip West, bass guitarist John West, drummer Greg West and percussionist Orlando Emmons.
Not every member carries the West name, but each is a member of the family. Orlando Emmons, who married singer Victoria, is the only in-law. Willie West said the group found its inspiration in his parents, the late Mary and Frankie West, who both sang with The Silver Bells. “They always took us to church, and we wanted to do what they were doing. It grew in us,” Willie said. The West Singers have their origins in the previous generation, but gospel music now extends into the lives of Mary and Frankie West’s children and grandchildren. They have played throughout the state, from the Catfish Festival in Belzoni to the Jubilee Jam in Jackson. They have also traveled throughout the country, with performances in Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Illinois. The West Singers, who write their own music, have recorded five albums, some at Charles Hall Studio in Greenwood and others at Terminal Studios in Jackson. Willie West said the title of a song on their fifth album, “I’ll Serve the Lord Until I Die,” explains his passion for making music. “I love going out and traveling and praising God, meeting new people who are just like our sisters and brothers.” LI
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 13
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PHOTOS BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
something besides go straight home after a day’s work, she said. Drummond nagged her friend Melody Stiles about quilting with her for two years. “She Rhonda Drummond made me do it,” shows one Stiles said, but she of the “critter” quilts she has enjoyed it. “It’s makes for babies. a healthy social activity. It gives us something to do,” Stiles said. When she was 12 years old, Drummond began sewing doll clothes with her mother’s fabric scraps. She got hooked when her mother handed her a pantsuit pattern and fabric and said, “Make it!” Drummond made it and wore it. After she made a sun dress for her oldest daughter’s first birthday, Drummond’s husband bought her the cheapest sewing machine Singer made. She used the machine for the next 30 years. In addition to sewing for herself, she sewed for her two daughters — including their prom dresses — and even made a homecoming dress for a Mississippi Valley State University student. In December 2004, when Drummond’s first sewing machine finally broke, her husband bought her a Bernina machine worth a few thousand dollars that can be used for sewing, embroidery and monogramming. In January 2005, Drummond lost her grocery store job of 19 years when the local Winn-Dixie store closed.
Piecing together the good life
With stitches and smiles
BY AMY McCULLOUGH Machine quilting is becoming popular again, especially among students of Rhonda Drummond’s quilting classes. “Our grandmother quilted by hand, and it seemed to skip a generation. Now, our generation is quilting,” Drummond said. It’s an outlet for those who want to do
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 15
She now works in the Greenwood office of the investment firm Edward Jones. But a few years ago, she earned income by sewing children’s and baby clothes, purses, tote bags, and other items. When Drummond learned that quilting classes at a fabric store in Greenville were free with a fabric purchase, she began quilting and found she had a knack for it. By a third class, she had already finished a quilt and started another one. Drummond made twin quilts with frogs and “critters” for her twin grandsons. Drummond has completed four quilts and taught 20 to 25 students. Beginning in 2005, she taught for a few semesters at the Mississippi Delta Community College branch in Greenwood and then began teaching her own classes at her church, Christ Baptist on West Claiborne Avenue. “You don’t have to be a seamstress to make a quilt,” Drummond said. “I had one class member that had never even sewed! She had to borrow a machine from her sister, but she made a beautiful quilt. All you need is an imagination and the desire.” Machine quilting, as opposed to quilting by hand, “is a lot faster and a lot neater,” Drummond said, but an expensive machine is not needed. Straight stitches work just fine, and some people still quilt by hand. To begin a quilt, a theme must first be chosen. For example, Drummond said, half of her first class picked Christmas material. The next step is to create a pattern, using light, dark and medium colors. A tool called a rotary cutter, somewhat like a pizza cutter, is used to cut the quilting strips for the top design. The strips are cut on top of a “self-healing” 16 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
Rhonda Drummond, left, helps quilting student Melody Stiles pin fabric for a quilt she is making in one of Drummond’s classes.
quilting mat, which has a grid on it. Special quilting pins and a water-soluble quilting marking pen are also used. Once the top has been stitched together, batting is placed in the middle to give the quilt its thickness, and a solid piece of fabric will make the back. Drummond said that some people use bed sheets for a back, since they are wider than any fabric that can be purchased and will not need piecing together. A quilting design is then sewn over
the whole “sandwich” to hold the quilt together. After measuring carefully, the quilt is trimmed on all four sides, and an outer binding is used to keep it together. Drummond said her next project is to make a “crazy quilt” by randomly selecting scraps and stitching at various angles. “If it’s a scrap 2 inches or bigger, I keep it,” she said. “So this is going to have a piece of fabric from everything I’ve made.” LI
Italian Couture Donald J. Pliner
West Park Avenue 455-2145
Howard Street 453-1462
Greenwood, MS 38390
Bologna Performing Arts Center 2007-08 Season Line-Up Ring of Fire Tuesday, October 30 @ 7:30pm
A Viennese Christmas Tuesday November 27 @ 7:30pm
Amazing Moving Sale Going on Now!
A Garfield Christmas Thursday, December 6 @ 7:30pm
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Thursday, March 27 @ 7:30pm
Chicago Monday, March 31 @ 7:30pm
St. Petersburg Ballet: Romeo and Juliet Tuesday, April 22 @ 7:30 pm
Bologna Performing Arts Center Cleveland, MS www.bolognapac.com • 662.846.4626 Box Office Hours: Monday - Friday: 8am - 5pm
Bill M alouf Lina E lfert Judith M artin Mike D angelo
102 Walthall Downtown Greenwood
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 17
PHOTOS BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
THEY’RE o S BAD BY WILLIAM BROWNING They travel in packs, and they look and sound mean. That’s a big part of the fun. Members of the Greenwood Cobra Motorcycle Club, however, are not what you would expect. “Our members come from all facets of life,” said their vice president, Henry Brooks. “We’ve got school teachers, bus drivers, councilmen, supervisors, mayors, cooks and construction workers in the group.” The Cobras’ bylaws allow no drugs, alcohol or any member younger than age 18, and you don’t have to own a motorcycle to be a member. The non-profit organization, founded in the mid-1960s, conducts at least one fundraiser for charity each
year. And a lot of the members — a group of 30-odd Leflore C o u n t y Corine Ward , left, is the club’s secretary, and Fannie Gordon, right, is its treasurer. Gordon men and also is the mayor of Sidon. women — say they joined for the camaraderie, the family-like atmosphere and fun, and the goodwill the Cobras try to spread. “We meet so many different people,” said Helena Granderson, a Cobra since 1989. “I’ve made some friends that I consider ‘lifelong.’ It’s like a community.” For Brooks, though, his call to join the Cobras sprang from a simple desire to travel. “I just enjoy getting out and riding,” Brooks, a 27-year member, said. “You know, going different places with a group of friends and having fun.” Other members say they joined for the same reason. “Hitting the highway is what we like to do,” said Treasurer Fannie Gordon, who joined the Cobras 30 years ago. Gordon is the mayor of Sidon. “It doesn’t really matter how far we go. The Cobras include, from left, Maybelle Johnson, Clifton Edwards, Samaria Stevens, Ronnie Stevens, It’s the ‘going’ that counts.” Cleveland Woods, Mona Cook, Albert Earl Woods, Claudia Woods, Cobra vice-president Henry Brooks, Eva Helena’s cousin, Corine Brooks, Lynn Wooden, Leon Smith, Ronald Cook, Melvin Cook, Fannie Gordon, Fletcher Beaman, Nita Ward, is the group’s secretary. Brown, Fred Randle, Helena Granderson, Preston Ratliff, Jackie Ratliff, Amelia Smith, Carl Palmer, Corine She says that being a Cobra Ward, Robert Glass and in the center, Cleveland Banks. 18 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
A map on Cleveland Woods’ motorcycle pinpoints where he has traveled with the Cobras.
Cobra Ronnie Stevenson is a businessman and member of the Greenwood City Council.
has given her the opportunity to give back to the community through charity, and also to travel “all over the United States.” “We go all over,” Corine said. “We love it; it’s like traveling with your family — only bigger. It’s like a huge family. We all just love it.” The president, Cleveland Woods, keeps a small map of the United States on the dash of his motorcycle. Each state to which he has traveled gets marked with a small bead. “I’ve been all across the South,” Woods said. “But here recently we’ve been heading up north a lot. If you want to know what we’re all about, that’s it. We just do a lot of riding.” Woods, a member since 1975, admitted that he has tried to get out of the club several times. “Each time, though, it didn’t last long. I was right back in riding. It gets in your blood.” Each summer, the Cobras take part in the National Bikers Round-Up. Motorcycle clubs from across the United States converge on one city to enjoy each other’s company and be around like-minded biker enthusiasts. Last year, the Cobras went to Kansas City. The year before, they were off to Rockingham, N.C. “They just voted in Kansas City this year to see where we’d have it next,” Corine said. “And they’ve decided to have it in Pennsylvania in 2008. We’re excited about going.” In 1989, the annual event was held in Greenwood. “But they couldn’t have it here now,” Corine said.
Put the whole world in their hands Susie M. Brooks Childcare Center
For ages 6 weeks to 13 years
Montessori teaching methods Well-balanced meals Structured after-school program Swimming class in the summer State-of-the art childcare facility All childcare certificates welcome! 600 Martin Luther King Drive, Building 14 Greenwood 453-1101
Need a place to recuperate? Let Golden Age help make the transition. Golden Age is more than a long-term care facility. If you need additional skilled nursing care or rehabilitation services, Golden Age offers short-term stay. Our unified team of therapists, nurses, dietitians and other healthcare staff is ready to help. Our skilled nursing facility is approved for Medicare services. Call to see if you qualify for skilled services 662-453-6323 ext. 173. On-Site Skilled Rehabilitation Services Include: • Physical Therapy • Speech Therapy • Occupational Therapy Skilled Nursing Services Include: • Wound Care • Enteral Feeding Devices
Serving Our Community For Over 50 Years 2901 Hwy 82 East • Greenwood, MS • 662-453-6323 Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 19
“We don’t get in any hurry.”
Cleveland Woods is the president of the Cobra Motorcycle Club.
Henry Brooks, vice president, Cobra Motorcycle Club “Greenwood just isn’t big enough anymore. One year, we had some guy from Alaska ride his motorcycle all the way down to the Round-Up. He said it took him two weeks.” The Cobras raise money through the occasional Saturday night dance and Sunday afternoon bike rally and have donated to local churches and schools for years. “And of course there’s the charity,” Corine said. “It depends each year who we try to raise money for. But typically, it’s for organizations that ask us if we can help them. And that’s when we start setting up a fundraiser.” Recently, the group met up in downtown Greenwood. The bikes — every kind and color imaginable — pulled up across the street from the Amtrak station on Johnson Avenue. The bikers — in well-worn leather, studded jackets, skull caps and black vests — talked as they gathered. Then, the Cobras rode out toward Schlater. “They’ve got a little bike festival going down over there,” Woods said. “We figured we’d go see what’s happening.” As the group rumbled off, you didn’t hear any of the heavy rockn-roll, fast-paced tunes associated with bikers blaring from their stereos. What you heard was Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ classic number from 1967, “The Tears of a Clown.” “A lot of people ask us how long it takes us to get somewhere,” Brooks said. “We don’t really pace ourselves, though, so it’s hard to say. When we do this, we’re on vacation. We don’t get in any hurry.” LI
Voted the Best Small Newspaper in Mississippi 5 out of the last 6 years! and the surrounding ar d o o ea s nw LIFs E tyles i nc ree G e1 Stars g THE
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Mayor Sheriel Perkins will ing the children’s tival. Pictured parade at be leadabove are, the fesfrom the left, in ley, Leland Perkins, Michael front, Simcox, StanJaden Simcox, Lawes McCool, Mohamed George Asia Gee, and Nicole Cooper; Wade back, Mykiyah Cheeks, Harris, Jakayla Brown Cooper, Rayford, Jayla Tamira Graydon ton Mohamed, McCool, LitHardin and Noa Allison Hardin.Katherine
wit is d pro y tying to rib ur has “It’s kind els. his career, h dec “Th “an He already a manties che Girl Scout up in any and lida hot ns to the Barbo by recently. res at d, per ld John McGraw. Ho pla ejections came as said mark doesn’t show was dili“Children’s Troop 57 hosts most pro y cou t,” Su wh ng sai und er oking ley , but The the Corner” record forcar14 McGraw’s ily nds Ha val every aro oth sm the the record books Society for firs lize isti frie v. since nn of year as one at the festiso ager, her a official compiled by the l- our non e fam at rea ins of their service projects. Go p all ve managed Research. ly Th s and a player. in w, Du Ho it w we by kee dri Jim gently free activities The area offers Baseball have lost four meanse you’ve de to r’s easily. ed ker and the American ger “That Dre anc (38-37) run at the festival. for young children “No ma Detroit manager ms on ban ting, sen of bul ere The Braves scored only one been 25 hou m e hatsaid. he long time,” rk Pictured roo the wh , the and am said. the “W la ve pas 19, cut the left, Emilee Fairchild are, from to wo Cox has 54 Leyland a ods, by ter, ries Troop 57 argued withstrike from straight their skid. season. 20 opens. : the ll. e t of ury aw mo enMcCann member Ann Boldon, ers en to Cen called third to during six times this hady Wo Ch bold t.” said ng we l hav par ent and Mary KatherineAshley Milner, a tak lo- appeared st-c l add Inn old his al her inju s takabout doesn’t needhis ejected sey tne re said Cox The pitch Moran, Rebekah wil y reh, and si- a tha awla is goi g wilIt is “21 vators Ola, Hannah Leyland the record clouding y waMedicTodd Jones. we Lefwere lida on Ch Cor d. . the from and Ho shaent preThey Bill Burrus Besselman Inn ldintes on e ele about r nty AR come onto sai Lindseivar d be low.ods ooddidn’t and Ashtyn Carpenter. betple the three sid vice enwhelate Cou only trying to worry andy, iday e bui sui focus lud Wo said YE die behind doing this y he was 11 pre la, la. lta, inc Bol r d. andCoxGre career. Th 15 ’ ted from Brett peo en has been a long time,” sta 1th aw la, the lore ich congratula to argue; t in case “The guy ht to later saibers field for theatgame 11 197 re wh areaw Chaw Ch De will e to ere Bums, is the seventh annual chamLef s. in be and awlas” wh anybody she ope s ptis nig – h ere by Beach McCann the Ch beg s by anc ter than during to reach today’s keep am 7 wh d der l Ba Ch els, N ng mo Th . esh res in focu said. to Pen Park 8 with day live s- tro Ch bul tal, extra up innings. team sponsored wil arguing w 00 V.K Din Su ts DE bei . 82 d in thev- hot of dea San baseball Cleveland’s Bear20-13 over Cleveland, Fri d the Mi e to al eject- Leyland am ir ,2 AR Dre odsstup at n leg - by Hospinced He 5 was ites bra ended 11 od, Dr. s and roo the d. r use el we d a 7- and 8-year-oldSaturday over Indianola and BD ner in isio ime twoCol ssis after McCann Su on U.Swo to son t, deep ere la sai the a hot a. Ho nte De for Wo We Devil Rays, over the fence re nou r Fairchild BO iter 14-4 NE coll cla and y from d Fu l be e wh aw bro n are wa Friday night. By ff Wr The residents JU n City n nit Mi pro one s y at and built Green led 12. den a home run two games Saturday, of the Greenwood be Lor l wil team 12-0 ma mu the vice sda hav t’s h Ch his ope his m he hitting 112 d-o won member of onSta a edu l y r re Golden after Cor & Rays Greenville tel a in sch Jul mo Age NursSer Tue of his rec the tha res and er to mp the ood Com to wil ms Buriaw. hea Trae Grisham, Austin Woodall Classic. The Devil Rays defeated Ho . h. are A Minte ing Home . is n enw lta ing rol. 48, ving MisThe Devil Baseball ss r to Su He fath or Me told by teammate a.m urc ionWillia ille Dre ident at ine and Memorial is set for 4:30 p.m. ope o Rehabiliatio pre ir n awla nea a Grei De accordPat bers, dri t on in Ch Visitatt at lev ry in acc be erm two McClendon Ex which n Tw els ed ha det Center of ipp ts, ay am was eas . by the kso Ch igh Ru ete an would to the pionship game, hot ect Jac ting readyare getsiss den hw Ch ve, ck p.m d wit dri of ton me in d en exp n ville . y er, Dr. for Cem sai m week we stu pi Hig ll Dri t tru9:35 ide rus Independenthe ope een ing pan ys coll Tau 20, nn Ho w nn tea this bet sip Wardeing ole ce Hall of Day celebration Gr t spr com plo und icle d dsey, y Du D DreDu ction ne ision with the rer schedule the Steelers wn evr op . nexThe em sce Pictured preseason Do 3 Chi 8 aros’ veh 1 ForLin r Ton Tro asu es OE n stru sh the coll Game against tre uir front row, are, NR The Saints 200 ipp berd 200 ny ope rol’s isio cra l as req the (AP) — at Millsaps Fame 5 in Canton, Ohio. now MO sissChamoun tta d Tro Pat . coll in the JACKSON the left, from how on Aug.of a professiona job ses e on any Bri sai camood the re VID training camp consecutive law npresence Chaney, Eddie stb la’s pri tim e it Millsaps ay “The , dDA itor will hold la second ss we by and hw enwwhen s we aw ter of hav the isio team on the experience By y Ed Browning Valeria Lin College for the aw ine Thursday. in in football nty last ven vel Hig in Gre t icle dec in thea very positive nt, h Ch En ple uldn’t Cit been ed pus team said Ch Ann Hayes;and Jo bus Delta,an was year, the ide Cle the ed d tha veh his and community res la officials had olvfor to openrow, Willie back d riesthe college sed the and e acc Su aw rs andhe wo Millsaps of tion sai both e. 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Dis politic “Everyone ------------ training camp. afternoon. non ir reg t. a law Benson in the Triston and these deals nt- worked Saturday today. The D-Rays p the tyThursday. --jud U.S d tha ininthe “Getting to focus on football to the pitcher com- land wacityhip in par doand last sai sto released to make 40 teams Carrollton. the ball back champions success iffs a vot dschool day cto the players s they need season,” Kelly fires which attracted under, 14 and weekend in North Fri our per t votingthe intstay sai wotould from ele we all the preparation make first ts ry ican something catcher Austin tournament, and under, 12 and righ late pla He hard into their Mickey ID edwhich by iscra ma ubl Devil Rays’ division of the , 10 from s. eryear, .” pri Rep25 and begin heading general manager rul 2006 mo coach-pitch divisions — coach-pitch tion votperappreciated , -Dereport five tic piJuly later. New Saints said. in 207-pounds andPep d Players peting in high school. Loomis non cratwo sip days 5-foot-11, first of the t file stop mo ssis 25 practices under and Pittman, was the De Miwill conduct host a presui topractices Ohio State, d selections. in The ing Orleans but will not as it did from two fourth-roun ing on s. campus, in Jackson off the Saints’ course the gh other road ullou tionseason game Saints kick stThe al, the only McC last year. We — Dale Nextel Cup races.feels he has someAmy of and this Calif. (AP) afterm But Earnhardtparticularly on SONOMA, is generally an gra big fish Jr. about prove, talk thing to e Northern California Earnhardt l pro a treachwhen people thought best road racers. rac- picturesqu rolling hills andchanges. fina d by car the we course with elevation NASCAR’ssomething stock would like erous turns andso close here before y at allo That is popular driver in the away with nke sw send “We’ve been ing’s most Sunday away mo being fenders and always come alter the inspection. to changee Mart 350 at Infineon and have of issue that takes teams to do,” said through but sort a sea ah Toyota/Sav — Jimmie the cars back that Friday, for to some we can really third in like t Jon no Calif. (AP) is importantpeo- from what who qualified teams did Raceway. morning so SONOMA, Jeff Gordon wasted gh d up phe hearing after Both until Saturday “This weekend Earnhardt,field. “I want a top-10 and ullou I’m sick of sse pro a road Johnson ts to the track their waited approval. McC the 43-carI can taste it. the said Doug me because he can’t drive on approved den official time returning Amy o dre of ‘Oh, g is fine,” of developAP here, car I thought inspectors stu for the a ple say The said. “Everythin ter- bad 2005, we had a the Cup race, , wh ry NASCAR Immanuel “In has been ool d, ant k of his course,”’ Junior Nextel Duchardt, vice president“We’re way ow sto to win Junior Baptist and transing the “Stars Atl cars. leftChurch his there Pill the Hendrick. with members the reigning cup It’s not that had a chance trying a new first h sch ounan g Forwas adult and Strips tracks with Johnson, ment for we’ll just go out we left, s best ire d choirwere and Gordon, over strategy Nascar Nextel front we on the hig kgr will be up on the was n in the but rne row, Earnhardt’ rible Storey, left, goes selling 0 bac ite, Rollin from Save Mart Park” festivities. s teammate behind, but today the wayhope it locked Jordan While r Cla lea Cup champion, and That snow Infineon’s Alle Toyota/ Wh Williams turns. on wall. Sharlatries Motorsport champion, cones second the mission was in the and right of and Pictured Williams, che ts n 14in the and prepare Gordon, ay. r andCarl practice in Hendrick I Goetzinger Brooks series are, from durunknown finishes in sevenhave been a pair Alexisa Goetzinger any Saturday lap and tea den tha Jeff ng.” Fridafter the Calif., Saturday. on the 1.99-mile would on and four-time a virtually track. rite morning circuit ist re de Stu startrinecrew fifth and - so disappointi and J.J. Storey.; back row, Tori first cars road course for for the best.” will 1.99-mile no, Tomorrow, artin Sonoma, kind of a third, a mo bou y on ngwrace -gra ay. were the or st and Gordon lineup California quantity on thisput into a bind here 11ths, he has Raceway -so ing rth Frid rsit auto Glen Internation Johnson g to tamive Infineon that’s hts Mo fell in the 43-car really 350.ger ord hills of Northern at Watkins Mart our best, Saturday. unexpected day 41st and 42nd 10th “We’re e san and 27. e fou ool do nig y the Un to sin is rec practice y in, going Toyota/Sav it had an cars failed to difficult te , aandk wine country. mswinner ativ sch and we’re onl Ma the cab l The two for Sunday’sa five-time said Gordon. a anddru Sta Yor cre le it even moreroad racing after their can say,” at wSonodeemed mo n ere e logicaits Making Bib Gordon, nic yed is the of all I ley ond off Friday NASCAR 24 and re, dow wh Th from n Ne to try the fact that this mo pla champion new Car tough Val behm the ng s lie rnoon.techno ing from pass inspection. on the No. and the defending atio har old pi s.toRic going and treacherof NASCAR’s it’ssip fenders s a ridevac oed crashi ain afte the ed dur er the through debut the front Chevrolets illegal the ma, yedsaid front on Arn tosisthe gle hop e wo use y got from n h’s pla rem of 48 l mm winds , toBedrive No. rks that tain dan Miswo t camthe nda d two drivers circuit dru , wil irs, ond rous , 10 urc atroad banned the and qualifying. hmthe s le of t Su ppe it con rs, ers sta 0s,d. che ow ian Ch. e tha the 198sai day’s practicedid, however,aallow S Ric tea rkshop oolNotab rul Three s tha g striutes g yea y My ly y Pill ter lors Schg. lon NASCAR tin the m. wa rs dle sby sai ear ers EW ond sic Wo h the er man, d attribfigh es. r, Judod from for Du Rh ile mu es in the. 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By Sta BOB ff Wr DA iter RDE N nig The Hig ht ow roa hw spo ner bus dbl ay t sayof a aw ine ocks Patrol s Lef the lore ay ss, on cus and the rou Mi Cou City Councilmen tom he hig tin ssis yea “I’ve , standing nty ers say hw ely in the rs. bee set sip from the back, . s thiay nea s pi Lar re’s If youn dow left, up Scr ry not David Jordan, s sca r his Tennill upl “Ki hin tak n res 5 Joh es te” g e awhere nie Cannon, RonStevenson, nso Spo Joh at Su on the n, rts nso all ay forCharles nin McCoy roa pervis Lefwh Ba n, the the and e Balthrop dbl ors loreo rep r andthe re,” club,John share some Oct ock , ow sai res d Cou . 28. sho said Cou ent Grill. nerwatermelon withTh rtly the nty s Dis aofgrouppat nty ofrol,chil-Roa e loca bef pat Boa tric dren ore rol rd t Pat at“IWhittingJoh d tion 10: set up of tonwa Park. rol was nso 245 30 offi chiltalk n sai is a at U.S s cal The tha are, p.m a dren clockfav . led cer, anding d. tra tfrom . wise orit 49 ffic they front, to ‘goo you e of and Kendrick he a alw sto Spencer, Jenn the couJones, Tavian ps aysd fish sai Hig ifer eve Miny d her JakylahldHender49 ryw ard hav e. hav ing thi hw son, Terrica e I tolde rea,’ me s are ay bel are her e. 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662-453-1266 Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 21
It’s the good life that’s the
BY WILLIAM BROWNING On any given morning, when Clauzel Gamble drives out across the Mississippi Delta, he’s behind the wheel of his single-cab pickup truck. And just as sure as it’s a 1996, white Ford Ranger that he’s steering, there will be a fishing pole or two, a tackle box and a boat along for the ride. But Gamble doesn’t have to be going fishing to have those “musts” in tow. For Gamble, a fishing pole and a tackle box are like appendages to his 74-year-old body. “My middle name is ‘fishing,’” he explains. “Look here, anytime someone wants to go fishing, I’m ready. That’s it. I’m ready.” “He fishes every single day,” Clifton Angel, Gamble’s nephew, said flatly. Gamble moved north from Wiggins, Miss., to Itta Bena in 1955. “I came up here looking for my Daddy, found him, then messed around and got married. Never left.” And he has fished nearly every lake the Delta offers, including Lake Bolivar, Lake Lee, Stovall Lake, Lake Washington, Lake George and even Matthew’s Brake. That’s “where the gators are,” Gamble said. “If you don’t mess with them, they ain’t going to mess with you.”He primarily fishes for crappie and bass. “I’ll catch bream, but only if they’re hitting that jig I use for crappie.” Around Itta Bena, Gamble is met with constant hellos and howare-yous. Everyone wants to know if Gamble has caught anything recently, when he’s going fishing again or where the “big ones” are. “I swear you catch bigger fish in the Delta,” he says. “Well, at least when it comes to crappie, I can testify to that. I mean, you can catch them up there in the hills. But they just aren’t as big. I’ve caught them in the Delta where they’ll weigh 32 pounds.” The biggest fish Gamble ever caught came early this past summer in Leflore County’s Roebuck Lake, which covers 580 acres and borders eastern Itta Bena. Sliding his boat into Roebuck, with trusted fishing buddies John Upton and the Rev. Johnny Collins, Gamble was equipped with a light-orange jig (dark-orange skirt) and a 12-pound test line. “That joker pulled us all around that lake,” Gamble said of the 28-pound flathead catfish. It took Gamble “a 15-, maybe 20-minute fight” to finally land the fish. “He had my pole bent down in a per22 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
Itta Bena’s Clauzel Gamble says he caught a 28-pound flathead catfish earlier this year. “That joker pulled us all around the lake.”
fect U-shape.” His smallest catch was a bass out of Wolf Lake in Yazoo County. “No bigger than my thumb,” Gamble said, holding up his hand. “They always do me bad down there at Wolf Lake. I don’t like fooling with those little ones, ’cause that’s all they’re doing you, fooling you.” There are some things Gamble doesn’t touch, including handgrabbing catfish from underwater holes in the bank. “No, no, no, you won’t catch me sticking my hand down in nothing,” he said. “You don’t know nothing about what could be down in that hole.” What’s surprising is that he doesn’t eat what he catches. “To me, it’s too much work. You have to fry ’em to make ’em right. I just like catching them. I’ll give them to the church,” said Gamble, a member of St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church in Itta Bena. “I don’t care about eating them.” Nonetheless, after 52 years of wetting hooks in the Mississippi Delta, Gamble feels qualified to offer a few pointers to fellow anglers. First and foremost, when it comes to bait, scrap the minnows in favor of artificial. “We met some fellow out on Grenada Lake one time, and we were using jigs — that’s all I use. And he was using minnows, just couldn’t catch nothing. But we were whamming them out two at a time with these jigs. He asked us what we were using, and after we told him, he said he’d never use minnows again.” Second, if there’s a wind, it should be blowing in your face. “I’m telling you, crazy as it sounds, it works.” Last but not least, Gamble says find some shade. “Don’t get me wrong. We’re gonna be wherever they’re biting. But if you can find some shade out there on the lake, get in it, especially after how hot it’s been getting here lately in the Delta. Some cool shade helps keep you sharp.” LI
PHOTO BY BOB DARDEN
Henry McCabe stands atop an embankment at Fort Pemberton. He says the Civil War earthworks are some of the last on private property in the United States.
Fortifications remain at Pemberton BY BOB DARDEN The Civil War earthworks of Fort Pemberton, which line the others, such as Fort Leflore, Fort Moore, Fort Texas, Middle banks of the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers, have long held a fasFort and Lower Fort. Some of those old forts still have earthcination for Henry McCabe. works, McCabe said. Now, McCabe, who lives in Greenwood, is trying to drum up By early April 1863, the battle had shifted and the earthworks support to save the earthworks — the only remaining Civil War were abandoned. McCabe said Union forces came back to the fortifications on private property in the country — from the ravarea and dug out the cotton bales from the fortifications, leaving ages of time and man. only the dirt and logs. He first became intrigued by the earthworks Some of the fortifications have been damaged “We thought it was when he was age 10 or 11. “It all goes back to as a result of four-wheelers and other off-road just a levee. We got what someone tells you. ‘Have you seen this?’ vehicles, and McCabe is worried about their to talking, and people overall condition. A couple of years ago, the U.S. ‘Have you seen that?’” McCabe said. said, ‘That’s part McCabe recalls when his father, James Henry Park Service showed interest in preserving the McCabe Jr., a native of Greenwood, showed him old earthworks, McCabe said. Then Katrina hit, of an old fort.’” the fortifications for the first time. and monetary priorities were refocused. Henry McCabe “We went down there and we found them. Still, the earthworks are important to underThe first time, we thought it was just a levee. standing the Civil War, he said. We got to talking, and people said, ‘That’s part of the old fort,’” “This is an extension of Vicksburg. If the Park Service comes in McCabe said. and puts it up like it should be, somebody in Greenwood is Constructed by the Confederates in February 1863, using a going to have to take the responsibility to look after it,” he said. combination of earth, logs and cotton bales, Fort Pemberton was McCabe said such an undertaking is simply too large for an intended to stand in the way of Union forces advancing on individual or group to take on. He’s hoping the city of Vicksburg via the Yazoo River. Greenwood or Leflore County might step up to the plate. Fort Pemberton was the main fort, and there is a historical “It’s a pristine fort. It’s a story that needs to be told. We haven’t marker at its location near U.S. 82 and 49 West. But there were given up on it.” LI Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 23
PHOTOS BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
Reveilee, a home on Grand Boulevard, was built in 1917 by Capt. Sam Gwin and his wife, Sally Humphreys Gwin. The oaks on Grand Boulevard are known as “Miss Sally’s” because she had them planted. The house was sold in 1996 to Lee Abraham, an attorney. He added columns. These had been planned for the original structure but never built.
A landmark to share BY JO ALICE DARDEN When he was growing up in his family’s house on West Monroe Avenue, little Lee Abraham walked to North Greenwood – now Bankston – Elementary School, passing a huge brick mansion that faced Grand Boulevard at the southeast corner of its intersection with Park Avenue. The house caught his imagination on every trip, standing far back from the street, sheltered by ancient oaks. As the years went on, the property developed a patina of age and mystery, 24 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
becoming more overgrown and underused. “I always wanted that house,” Abraham said. The boy often wondered what it would be like to live there. Half a century later, the man has found out. Originally owned by Capt. Sam Gwin and his wife, Sally Humphreys Gwin, the place was built in 1917 at the highest point between the Tallahatchie River and the Yazoo River in what was then known as the Boulevard Subdivision of the small village of North Greenwood.
Miss Sally, as she was known, was responsible for seeing that Grand Boulevard was lined with oak trees from river to river. Today the residence commands attention at the busy intersection because Abraham, who bought the house in 1996 from Sara Kelsh, one of the five Gwin children, quickly restored it to its original glory and has made additional enhancements beyond the restoration. The results are breathtaking, inside and out.
Abraham named the residence “Reveilee,” combining “reveille,” which means a great celebration or a rally to a cause, and his first name, Lee. He is quick to credit his friend, D.B. King of Oxford, formerly of Greenwood, and her daughter, interior designer Katheryn King Coleman, A.S.I.D., of Germantown, Tenn., and his builders, Reveilee Construction Co., for helping him complete the massive project in a remarkably short time. “I bought the house in June of 1996,” said Abraham, a Greenwood attorney. “After losing my mother in 1985, I wanted my father in the house by Christmas of 1996, with everything done.” King, Coleman, Abraham and his builders got the bulk of the work done on time. They started with tearing out the plaster walls down to the studs and rewiring and replumbing the entire house, then putting it all back together. They have followed up with additional projects since then. As imposing as the house appeared to the schoolboy, Abraham clearly enhanced its impact by the addition in front of a sweeping veranda with twostory columns. Previously, the front had only a covered stoop for a porch, but King said the original blueprints for the house, which Abraham has, show plans for a columned veranda. Part of the concrete base was laid, but the Gwins never finished the project. Abraham hired an architect from Memphis to plan the veranda, based on research King did at the GreenwoodLeflore Public Library. She found a photo of Auburn, a mansion in Natchez that had the style of porch that would be appropriate and that featured an oval-shaped stained-glass window. Abraham’s window depicts Christ on Calvary and is illuminated at night. The other exterior doors and windows are original to the house, and all are hung with white lace curtains as sheers, including the front door, which has its original beveled glass, and the sidelights. Usually the heavy drapes are kept open; the lace keeps the look consistent and gives the interior a sunny, airy feeling. King said making lace curtains for all the windows required 400 yards of the fabric. From the beginning, Abraham had two driving objectives for how his house would be used. First, he wanted as many of his family
The mirror inside Reveilee’s dining room is original to the house, as are all of its exterior windows and doors.
members and friends as possible to enjoy it, coming together to celebrate important occasions, spending nights there when they dropped in from out of town and enjoying family dinners. Whatever the reason, Abraham wanted to share this place he loves with others. “I’ve always believed you will not be allowed to keep what you do not share
with others,” Abraham said. Abiding by that philosophy is a way of life for him. Reveilee has been the site of many celebrations, including wedding receptions for two nieces — the daughters of his brother, Sam Abraham, and Sam’s wife, Flo — who entertained 1,200 and 900 wedding guests, respectively. Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 25
And a number of friends who live out of town and come to the Delta to hunt are invited to use Reveilee as their home base while they’re in the area. The other major consideration was Abraham’s need for personal space. To the right of the front door in the original house, King said, were a bedroom and a sleeping porch. Abraham had the space redesigned to accommodate an office, a large bedroom and a luxurious bath, with a private entrance. Regardless of what is going on in the rest of the house, he can retreat to his private living quarters, closing the door behind him when he needs the quiet and solitude. Other highlights of the renovation are equally notable. In the formal dining room hangs a giltframed pier glass that came from the Mississippi governor’s mansion when it was occupied by Sally Humphreys Gwin’s great-grandfather, the Reconstruction governor, Benjamin Humphreys. The mirror reflects the dining table, which has the same origins, and the crystal chandeliers in the dining room and living room that are original to the house. Two spacious kitchens – one a Viking kitchen – each fully equipped with modern appliances, stand side-by-side, ready to be put to use for large parties. King said caterers have truly enjoyed their ability to spread out in the generous spaces. Stained-glass windows are featured throughout the house, in addition to the oval one on the front of the house. Made by the same Greenville artisan, two rectangular windows can be backlit and seen in the den, which was formerly a screened back porch. One window shows the form of a cross, the other a magnolia. King said Abraham has collected art and antiques for many years. One spectacular piece of sculpture sits behind glass in the den – a wood carving from a cathedral in Italy, created from a single block of wood in 1780 and sold at an auction by, he believes, the actress Janet Blair. Abraham is holding the sculpture for his sister, Magdalene Abraham, who will claim it when she builds her new home. The other bedrooms and sleeping porches are upstairs. Abraham said he actually slept on one of the sleeping porches when Hurricane Katrina blew through in August 2005. The Gwins had four daughters and one son, and King said the girls’ bedrooms were built so 26 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
that each connected to the next, all with a shared bath, so that they never had to go out into the hall once they were in their quarters. Some of the rooms have been reconfigured to accommodate modern life, but the master bathroom still holds the original clawfoot tub and fixtures. Abraham calls one of the upstairs rooms the Prayer Room. While it holds an antique child’s bed and furnishings, and one of its walls has been decorated – by the Gwin daughters, King believes – with paper magnolias, it’s the stunning windows that instantly lock all attention.
The Prayer Room has two windows that used to be in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.
The sculpture under glass sits in Reveilee’s den. It was carved from a wood block more than 200 years ago, and it was in a cathedral in Italy.
Lee Abraham, above, used to admire the Gwin home when he was a boy. He bought it, renovated it and named it Reveilee.
Reveilee’s stairway, above, connects the entrance hall and living room with bedrooms, such as the one on the right.
When Abraham’s church, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, did some remodeling, he made arrangements to save these two pieces of his personal history and have them installed in his house. “I was baptized by the light of those two windows,” he said. The balcony over the front porch was added when the porch was built. It offers an extensive view of the oakcanopied boulevard of which Miss Sally would be justifiably proud. On the other side of the house from this balcony is another one that overlooks Reveilee’s enormous backyard. On this balcony, the Gwins and their friends gathered for parties and dancing under the stars. Abraham had the floor strengthened by sheets of corrugated aluminum, but the material warped with weather changes, so he overlaid it with wood planks. Anyway, he said, the ladies didn’t like the aluminum floor much because it was too highly reflective for good taste. Abraham has collected photographs and drawings and paintings of the house at various points in its history, including one photo that shows the Tallahatchie River floodwaters lapping at the house’s front porch in 1932, a drawing by King’s son-in-law, Walter Boswell, and a few aerial views, as well. Also on display are framed Greenwood Commonwealth stories about the house. One of these covers the party Abraham held to celebrate the completion of the initial renovation work and shows a photo of Abraham dancing with the former owner, Sara Kelsh. Reveilee is an ongoing project, King said, and probably always will be. Abraham still calls on her to draw up plans when he has a new idea for an improvement or addition. “I enjoyed doing the whole thing,” she said of the initial project. Along with Abraham’s family and other friends, King shares his joy in the results of their efforts – exactly as he hoped they would. LI Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 27
E AT? 2
olks around Greenwood, Itta Bena and, really, all of Leflore County tend to talk about good food in the same breath as good times. Someone will say, “Remember the shrimp that night?” and another person will add, “What about the time we had those steaks?” Then, somebody will start to talk about the grilled fish on the West Coast or a filet of beef in New York. But was this any better than the pompano and steak in Greenwood? The catfish, rolls, greens, cakes and pies? No way, they’ll say. The food in their own hometown sets the standard — for any meal, any place, any time.
Giardina’s 314 Howard Street Greenwood
China Blossom 917 Highway 82 West Greenwood
Type of cuisine: Chinese & American Full Bar Hours of operation: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (Monday-Thursday); 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (Friday & Saturday); 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Sunday);
Price range (per person ): Lunch: under $10 Dinner: $10-$20 Handicapped accessible Children’s menu Phone: (662) 453-3297 28 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
Type of cuisine: Steak, Seafood, Italian Full Bar Hours of operation: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. (Monday-Saturday) 5 p.m.-8 p.m. (Sunday) Price range (per person ): $8.95-$29.95 Handicapped accessible Reservations recommended Phone: (662) 455-4227 Web site: www.giardinas.com E-mail: email@example.com
Larry’s Fish House
4238 Highway 7 South Itta Bena
Type of cuisine: Southern Hours of operation: 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (Thursday - Saturday); 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (Friday)
Price range (per person ): $11-$20 children (age 4 to 11): $5, 3 and under : Free Handicapped accessible Reservations recommended for large parties Phone: (662) 254-6001
What’s Cooking? 309 West Park Ave.
722 Carrollton Avenue Greenwood
Type of cuisine: American Southern Hours of operation:
Type of cuisine: American with an Italian flair Beer and Setups: You may bring your
9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Monday-Friday) 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (Saturday)
own wine or liquor.
Hours of operation: 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Price range (per person ): Lunch: under $10 Phone: (662) 455-4747 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Price range (per person ): $10-$30 Handicapped accessible Reservations recommended Phone: (662) 453-5365
MeMe’s Resturant 904 Grenada Blvd. Ext. Greenwood
Type of cuisine: Southern Hours of operation: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Sunday-Friday) 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Friday)
Price range (per person ): Lunch: $8 Dinner: $8.95 & up Handicapped accessible Childrens Menu Occasional Live Music Designated smoking area Reservations recommended Phone: (662) 453-1555
Blue Parrot Café 222 Howard Street Greenwood
Type of cuisine: Fine Latin Cuisine Alcoholic beverage offerings: Full bar, wine, specialty cocktails Hours of operation: 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Thursday-Saturday)
Price range (per person ): $15-$20 Handicapped accessible Reservations recommended Phone: (662) 451-9430 Web site: www.threedeuces.net E-mail: email@example.com
Sonic Drive-In 407 West Park Avenue Greenwood
Type of cuisine: American Hours of operation: 6 a.m to 11 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday) 6 a.m to midnight (Friday & Saturday)
(per person ):
Breakfast: under $4, Lunch: $5 to $6, Dinner: $5 to $6
Children’s Menu Handicapped accessible Phone: (662) 455-1131
d i n i n g Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 29
A career of service
PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
Viola Brown Sanders BY BOB DARDEN Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Viola Brown Sanders grew up in Sidon, went to war as part of the greatest generation and rose to the highest rank a woman could achieve in the Navy in the mid-1960s. Then, upon retirement, she came back home to the Leflore County she loves. After all, she said, that is where her roots are. “We grew up wonderfully,” she said, adding jokingly, “because at that time, nobody had nothing.” Public service was instilled in her from an early age. Her grandfather, S.I. Brown, whom she calls “the wisest man I’ve ever known,” represented District 5 as a Leflore County supervisor, and his name is now on a plaque at the Leflore County Courthouse. Her father, Stanny Sanders Sr., served as Leflore County tax assessor. Her late brother, Stanny Sanders Jr., was a district attorney. “My family has always been involved in politics,” she said. Sanders’ mother, Viola, also was a force for good in the small town. “She kind of ruled Sidon. She worked for the Works Progress Administration. She took care of everybody in the world,” Sanders said. That willingness to be helpful cut across racial lines. “White and black were at our back door always wanting to confer with mother, when nobody had anything,” Sanders said. “Mother always dreamed up ways we could always make it out.” The family had its roots in Sidon Methodist Church. Today, Sanders lives in Greenwood but still maintains the family’s 329-acre cotton farm, known as Elder Grove Farm, which is just outside Sidon. “I drive down there every day and inspect it,” Sanders said. “Nowadays you see all this corn around. Not Elder Grove. Elder Grove is cotton.” Sanders graduated from Greenwood High School and went on to earn degrees at Sunflower Junior College, which is now Mississippi Delta Community College, 30 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
Viola Brown Sanders’ military career took her to the top. She returned to her hometown of Sidon after retirement, and now she has a street named for her in Greenwood, above. Among the notables that she met was actress Lucille Ball, above right.
and Delta State Teacher’s College, which is now Delta State University. Prior to World War II, Sanders taught high school English in Glen Allan. She said she taught her students well. “My students knew nouns from verbs, verbs from adverbs,” Sanders said. Sensing that the country was heading toward war, Stanny Jr. joined the Navy and was stationed in New Orleans. On a Sunday morning, Stanny called her on one of Glen Allan’s two phones. “He told me to get myself in the Navy, and I did. He swore me in,” Sanders said. It was a life-changing experience, but it was an easy decision, Sanders said. After all, brother knew best. “I adored him. Whatever he said, I did,” she said.
Also, she said, “In all my years in the military, we never found another instance of where a brother swore in his sister.” As one of the WAVES, which at the time stood for Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, Sanders was stationed in New Orleans. As a communications watch officer, she delivered topsecret orders to ships anchored in the harbor. Sanders said she was offended when some sailors whistled at her. She took her concerns to her superior, Capt. J.B. Wrenn. “One day I went into the captain’s office and said, ‘Captain, I am driving my jeep down that pier to that dock to deliver topsecret messages, and those sailors keep whistling at me, and it bothers me,’” she recalled.
â€œHe said, â€˜Vi, let me tell you something. When the day comes that you go down to deliver messages to that ship and the sailors donâ€™t whistle at you, come see me, because weâ€™ve got a problem.â€™ That was part of my, shall we say, adjustment.â€? Sanders next served as an officer in the Recruit Training Command of the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill., where â€œwe trained young women to become both naval officers and enlisted personnel,â€? she said. Later, Sanders became the commandâ€™s commanding officer. The tasks requiring training ranged from communications and medical training to office skills such as typing and bookkeeping duties, she said. Throughout her naval career, Sanders adopted a can-do attitude, which she had developed while growing up in the Delta. One of her prized possessions is a photograph of her with a cartoon-like caption bubble. The bubble reads, â€œAnd there will be no cotton pickinâ€™ negative thinking on my watch ... .â€? From Great Lakes, Sanders was next stationed at the U.S. naval station at Yokosuka, Japan, where she handled communications and intelligence duties. Sanders then served as administrative officer of Adm. Richard E. Byrd. Byrd received widespread acclaim for a flight over the North Pole in 1926. By the early- and mid-1950s, Byrd was focusing his attention on Antarctica, Sanders said. Asked what he was doing, Sanders replied, â€œThat was the Navyâ€™s business. He just needed an administrative officer.â€? Sanders next served as deputy for women of the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington. From there, she moved to become the director of Naval personnel in the Fifth Naval District in Norfolk. From 1962 until her retirement in 1966, Sanders served as director of Navy Women. A few years later, the position was abolished after women were fully integrated into the Navy. Initially she thought she would retire to Southern Pines, N.C., but she felt a strong tug to return to Sidon after her brother passed away. She intended to tend to her elderly mother. It was the only natural thing for a Southern woman to do. â€œEvery day in the world, I got a letter from my mother, and everyday I would wrixte her,â€? she said. â€œWhen I got back down here, I would put her and her entourage in the car, and weâ€™d ride. I couldnâ€™t wait to get back down here when I retired.â€? LI
Main Street Greenwood presents a tour of historic downtownâ€™s premier apartments and lofts. November 1, 2007 Call 662-453-0365
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Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 31
A tour of the
The dining room in the home of Claudia and Charles White contains many collectibles as well as her original paintings. 32 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
PHOTOS BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
There’s plenty to see at the little house on the corner BY JO ALICE DARDEN
Lush gardens, stained glass windows, the rambling architecture of the house, yard art — some little element almost always grabs your attention when you walk or drive past the home of Charles and Claudia White at 401 East Claiborne Ave. Or maybe it’s the dog. Jenny, a spaniel mix about 7 years old, sits out in front on nice mornings, mostly to greet joggers and walkers. Jenny loves it when they speak to her, Claudia White said. “She feels hurt when they pass by and ignore her.” The house is on the northeast corner of East Claiborne and Poplar Street, just north of the “new bridge,” which connects Poplar in North Greenwood with Walthall Street on the south side. That bridge, more correctly called the Veterans Memorial Bridge, played a part in the history of the Whites’ house. The house was built in 1915 by John Osborn, who sold it to Evelyn and Bobby Purvis in the 1950s, White explained. When the bridge was being planned in the 1960s, the city of Greenwood bought the house with the intention of tearing it down to widen the intersection. But the city never followed through on that plan and for years rented the place, until the Purvises bought it back. The Whites bought the house from the Purvises in 1998. Many local residents remember the Christmas of 1998 as the time of a horrendous ice storm. “Yep, that’s when we moved in, during that ice storm,” said White. “And we never once lost power.” The property actually has several distinct structures, separate from the main house. White calls one building the “Fish
The garden of the White house on Poplar Street and Claiborne Avenue shows some late summer color.
Shack” because its atmosphere reminds the Whites of the old ramshackle places that used to line the Gulf Coast and serve fresh seafood. Attached to it is the “Love Shack.” It’s furnished in “shabby chic” with a comfortable old slipcovered sofa, a table made of a base topped by an old door, and a bookcase given to the Whites by their friend, local author and art teacher John Rose. It’s the perfect spot to curl up with a book and a glass of iced tea. The “Rent Shack” was originally for the housekeeper. It is rental property now, but no one has lived in it for years, and the Whites use it for storage. The garden in the back of the house, extending along Poplar, is a haven created by the luxuriant foliage of hardy ferns, waves of azaleas in the spring, day lilies popping up here and there, mums in the fall, mahonia flowers in the winter and berries in the spring, ornamental grasses and bursts of color from annuals.
White’s latest project is installing a pond that will be surrounded by tropical plants. “I’ve been planting more perennials to kind of cut back on all the work,” White said, “but I like to have as much color as I can throughout the year.” Inside, the house is a museum, an art gallery, a studio, a computer office and a bakery, in addition to being a substantial cottage with snug rooms that encourage owner and guest alike to settle into something soft for a nice visit. The cozy sit-and-talk kitchen turns into a bakery when White makes special-occasion cakes for family and friends, as she has done for loved ones for the past 25 years. White points out that there’s at least one clock in every room. “Until the day I cross ‘Die' off my to-do list, I will always have to know what time it is,” said White, who has counted at least 30 clocks throughout the house. “The time change twice a year just drives Charles crazy.”
The Whites’ house has lots of stained glass, numerous paintings and an estimated 30 clocks.
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 33
laudia White compares her Christmas decoration efforts to those impossibly plucky 1930s movie musicals starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney as teenagers facing problems producing artistic angst. “They always solved the problems of their day with a hearty, ‘Let’s put on the show right here!’ Well, that’s basically how my Christmas decoration works,” said White. She decorates the quirky white house at the corner of Poplar Street and East
Claiborne Avenue for all major holidays and the seasons, inside and out. “I was a teacher for so long, but I don’t have bulletin boards to do anymore, since I retired,” she said. “I have to put that energy somewhere.” Christmas is by far White’s biggest logistical effort, and it takes weeks for everything to come together. Around Thanksgiving, White starts building a 50-piece miniature Christmas village that will stay intact for the holiday season. She puts up Christmas lights indoors and outside, yard art for the exterior and dozens of figurines and crafts through-
Christmas at Claudia’s
Massive volumes of books, old and new, line shelves in every room, and there’s hardly a square foot of wall space not covered by paintings, photographs or collages, all of them with special meaning to the Whites. The images of several generations of family members witness life as the Whites live it today. “We bought 685 (picture) frames from Mrs. Purvis when we moved in,” said White, claiming only a slight Ella, the “diva cat,” rests in the master bedroom. exaggeration. “She had about 3,500 but took the rest with her.” Many of the more elaborate frames hold paintings that decorate the deep red walls of the formal dining room, whose focal point is a mammoth fireplace White lovingly restored. An oil painter, White shows some of her work in nearly every room, mostly family portraits. Her studio is the part of the house that is closest to the street corner. It was once a wrap-around porch, but a car accident in which a driver plowed through it 34 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
Creatures in this Nativity scene include ducks and deer.
out the house. But at the heart of White’s Christmas decorations are her trees, brought down one by one from storage in her enormous attic. “I put up 15 lighted trees every year, nine of them full-size,” she said, and all of them themed. One is a fairy tree, another she calls a “wedding cake” tree. Her favorite full-size tree is the “family tree,” which stands in the place of highest honor and greatest exposure to in-house traffic -- in the dining room, where family and friends can get the full effect.
“There’s a photo of every member of my family on that tree every year,” she said. “Charles gets on his computer and gives every photo a sepia tone to make it look like an old-fashioned portrait, and every one of them has a little frame, and we hang them all on the tree in the dining room,” she said. “I love that tree. It is so special to me.” Like all good things, though, even the most meaningful decorations must come to an end. “The season is so intense,” said White, “that I just get sick of it after a while.” She starts taking down those decorations the day after Christmas.
prompted Mrs. Purvis to have the area enclosed. In the middle of the house is a tiny, enchanting bedroom that used to be part of a larger room before it was partitioned to create more storage space. White has decorated it in a magical stardust theme and calls it “The Fairy Room.” The master bedroom of the house was originally a sleeping porch, White said. Walls of windows provide plenty of sunshine and gentle breezes that play across Jenny the dog and Ella, the “diva cat,” who was found at the beauty salon of the same name, as they snooze at the foot of the bed. Just the other side of Charles’ office, where he works on computers, is a renovated bath with a Victorian claw-foot tub and vintage photos of Staplcotn’s downtown headquarters. White said she got inspired to “age” the vanity countertop herself when she saw the process on a decorating show on TV. A recycled bicycle leans against a tree.
The interior of the “Love Shack”
Evidence of the Whites’ decades-long support of Greenwood Little Theatre can be found in nearly every room. Pieces of props, furniture and accessories used in GLT productions are sprinkled throughout. GLT is special to the couple; it’s where they met. “I woke up one morning, and I was suddenly 39 and alone,” said White, who had been divorced, “and decided I needed to get out and meet people.” GLT was casting “Heaven Can Wait,” so she went to audition and ran into Charles, who was just finishing his role in “Dial M for Murder.” Love bloomed when the right two people found themselves in the right place at the right time: “Dial M for Murder” is the only play in which Charles has appeared. Charles is a night-shift computer operator for Staplcotn; Claudia retired in 1996 after teaching at Dickerson Elementary School for more than 20 years. “We’ve been married for 27 years now,” she said, “and we’ve never had a fight.” Her children are Bert Carollo of Brookhaven, who has two daughters, and Chuck Carollo of Winona, with a son and a daughter. She can never see enough of her family. “The longer I live here, the less tired I get when I’m working on the house,” said White. But keeping an old house livable — and this one is 92 — does require constant vigilance and the determination to see projects through once started. “You don’t want to mess with it too much,” said White. “You start doing just a little, and it can quickly turn into a major deal with an old house.” A recent “major deal” involved putting a new roof over the 1,100 floored square feet of the attic and painting the entire exterior of the house. White believes it’s the first time in the house’s 92-year history that both projects — a new roof and a complete paint job — were done together. White describes the attic as a blessing. When she tires of looking at a piece of art or furniture, up it goes, at least temporarily. Where else could she put many of those 685 picture frames? LI
The Learning Tree
Marhaba Ni hao Privet Bonjour Hola (HELLO)
NO NEED TO GO FURTHER THAN LEFLORE COUNTY.
Montessori Nursery School and Kindergarten with Extended Care
Mississippi Valley State University’s Critical Language Program offers classes in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French and Spanish at the Greenwood Center and at the main campus in Itta Bena.
Debbie Ellis, Director 211 West President Ave. Greenwood, MS 38930 455-8733
IF YOU NEED IT IN YOUR BUSINESS, THE VALLEY HAS IT. Bella Young
“The hands are
the instruments of man’s intelligence.”
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PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
Greenwood’s putting its mark on Blues Trail
Wanda Clark, one of the Mississippi Blues Trail’s directors, shows Mike Sturdivant Jr. the Blues Trail marker on Howard Street.
BY AMY McCULLOUGH The Mississippi Blues Trail, which is now being developed, begins — figuratively — in Greenwood in the office of two creative co-workers, Wanda Clark and Allan Hammons. The trail of 130 markers, spanning from the gateway of Highway 61 to the Gulf Coast, will educate tourists as well as local residents about the lives and times of the musicians who created the distinctive sound heard worldwide. “Our main purpose is to just recognize these artists who have given so much to music all over the world,” Clark said. Twenty markers were scheduled to be unveiled by the end of September. About 110 have been funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Additional support for each marker has been provided by the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division, Delta State University and local convention and visitors bureaus. The markers feature high-resolution maps, color photographs and text. A special vinyl coating that protects against ultraviolet rays keeps them from fading. Visitors to the Web site www.msbluestrail.org can currently download maps to the sites, and eventually GPS coordinates will be added. Clark, creative director at Hammons & Associates, said one grant specifically calls for audio and video at the blues sites, and content is being developed for that.
38 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
Developing technology eventually will be used to create “hot spots” on markers, which will allow information to be downloaded onto an iPod or iPhone, she said. “I’ve had a ball being involved with it. All the unveilings have involved a human interest story,” she said. For example, Honeyboy Edwards, who is in his 90s, got to come to the unveiling of his marker in Shaw, she said. Hammons, president of Hammons & Associates, played a key role in instigating the Blues Trail project. “Bill McPherson (chairman of the Mississippi Blues Commission) and I went to a meeting where the Blues Trail was discussed, and after leaving, we decided we needed to take action and get
people motivated,” he said. “We created a prototype for cast markers to be installed in Indianola where B.B. King first played in public and where his handprints are in the concrete, and also at Club Ebony, a long-running juke joint that dates back to World War II,” he said. “Shortly after these markers were installed, the Blues Commission was created ... . Once the Blues Commission was in place, we approached them about a new concept that we had developed. We proposed a bright-blue, cast-aluminum marker, much like the state's existing historic markers, with one notable change. We suggested combining new vinyl printing technology on the reverse of each marker to allow the presentation of much more text as well as full-color images. The Blues Commission eventually bought into our concept,”Hammons said.
“The idea of combining modern printing technology with traditional cast aluminum historic markers is something we pioneered. I'm proud of the fact the we were able to do that right here in Greenwood,” he said. The first marker unveiled was one in memory of Charley Patton in Holly Ridge on Dec. 6, 2006. Two markers already have been installed in Greenwood. One at 222 Howard St. — the current home of Veronica’s Custom Bakery and the Blue Parrot Café — notes the site of the former WGRM Radio Station, where the music of B.B. King was first broadcast. A marker also was placed near Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Money Road, where Robert Johnson is buried. Paige Hunt, director of the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau, enjoyed hosting the reception for the Johnson marker at Little Zion in May. “The state contacts the local convention and visitors bureaus when they’re getting ready to unveil a marker in a specific town,” Hunt said. “When we unveiled the Robert Johnson marker in Greenwood, we planned the event and promoted it to the local media. The state arranged speakers, and we invited local elected officials.” The Greenwood CVB also paid part of the cost to put the marker up.
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“CVBs try very hard to The markers: Where promote the markers we have in our communities and promote the Blues Charley Patton, Holly Ridge Trail as a whole,” Hunt Hickory Street, Canton said. Highways 10 & 61, Leland Honeyboy Edwards, Shaw At the reception, Dr. Jimmie Rodgers, Meridian Edgar Smith of the Muddy Waters, Clarksdale Blues Commission Nelson Street, Greenville spoke on the signifiPeavine Branch, Boyle cance of the marker; Riverside Hotel, Clarksdale Steven Johnson, Robert Johnson’s grandson, provided a musical tribute of “Sweet Home Chicago” and made remarks on the meaning of the marker to him and his family; and
Mayor Sheriel Perkins unveiled the marker. The Johnson marker was stolen in August, and orgaRobert Johnson, Greenwood nizers began work on a Rosedale replacement. Son House, Tunica Subway Lounge, Jackson Greenwood is scheduled WGRM Radio Studio, Greenwood to receive four more markWillie Dixon, Vicksburg ers for the Elks Lodge on Blue Front Cafe, Bentonia Scott Street, Guitar Slim Magic Sam, Grenada (Eddie Jones), Tommy Howlin’ Wolf, West Point McClennan and Baptist Town. Other markers planned for Leflore County are the B.B. King birthplace in Berclair and the Ralph Lembo Store in Itta Bena. LI
to find them so far
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A pianist and his profession
BY DAVID MONROE
Lawrence Goldman knew from an early age that he wanted to study music. He began studying piano at the age of 8 and performed his first solo recital at 10. By 11 or 12, he was not thinking of any other field but music, although he wasn’t sure what he would do with it once he finished his studies. But he also had an instinct for teaching then. He remembers teaching the next-door neighbor boy how to read, and apparently it went well. “He learned how to read, and then he skipped a grade after that,” he said. “I guess that was my first teaching success story.” In his early teens, he started giving his younger brothers lessons — although, he concedes, “I don’t know if it was entirely willingly on their part.” Now he has taught music at Mississippi Valley State University for 27 years, and it remains satisfying work for him. “I just think when you study something your whole life and it means a lot to you, you want to be able to pass it on,” he said. Goldman grew up in Santa Rosa, Calif., as part of a musical family. His mother, Bernice, played and taught violin, and his father, Stanley, played clarinet. Both were active in the local symphony for a long time. His father also owned a music store, so he knew most of the local musicians and music teachers. He says his parents “were my biggest supporters and my most severe critics, too, because they knew their stuff.” His father also taught him clarinet, which he played for about 10 years, but he wasn’t as dedicated to it as he was to piano. He has been told that when he went to nursery school, he would imme-
diately head for the piano, put music on the stand — possibly upside down — and start playing. His first piano teacher was his mother, who taught him for six months. Then, from the age of 8 to 18, he was taught by Frances Kelly, who had an extensive background in music. He said she was a kind person but also took a no-nonsense, perfectionist approach to teaching. She would record his playing on a reel-to-reel tape machine, play it back for him and “tear it to shreds,” he said. She would go over every note and every change in dynamics and critique other small details. “You had to be serious if you wanted to do well with her,” he said. “You couldn’t just go in there and just fake your way through it.” He says Kelly was his foremost influence, and he has tried to carry some of her habits into his own teaching. He doesn’t record his students much now, but he does try to instill a sense of thoroughness in them. Goldman was active in the high school band and orchestra and the local symphony before heading to college. He studied
Lawrence Goldman teaches piano to all students entering the music program at Mississippi Valley State University, where he has been on the faculty since 1980. With him is Venisha Morgan, a voice major from Minnetonka, Minn.
at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Michigan and earned a doctorate from the University of Southern California. Along the way, he studied pedagogy and did some student teaching. Some music students might look down on the idea of teaching beginning piano, but he has found that any teaching can be rewarding. “You can teach at any level and get something good from it,” he said. Goldman taught for two years at the the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He was entrusted with starting the class piano program there, right down to taking pianos out of boxes and setting them up. Eventually, his job was phased out, and he moved on to a temporary one-year position at Alabama State University. While there, he learned more about Valley because the band director was a friend of Russell Boone, a onetime band director and music department chairman at Valley. It wasn’t the first time Goldman had heard about Greenwood, either. In his youth, he heard his father mention the city often because he sold Baldwin pianos that had been made in Greenwood. So, Goldman said, “when the name Greenwood came up during my job search, of course it rang a bell with me.” He began teaching at Valley in 1980. Probably a greater percentage of MVSU students were studying music then, he said — but the university offers more subjects now, so the music department has more “competition.” Today, as the only full-time piano person in the department, he is involved with all piano-related activities there. He accompanies every student — 40 to 50 each
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 41
semester — and also plays with the choir and others. He tries to do one solo recital a year on campus and also performs in other venues from time to time. With all his other activities, it’s challenging to find time to practice, but he does it. If a major performance is coming up, he might rehearse five to six hours a day or more. “I don’t ever want to go out on stage and perform doing less than my best,” he said, adding that he also wants to set an example for students with this work ethic. His recitals almost never consist of allnew music. They might be selections he has performed for many years. But he said the learning process never ends, and musicians should always have goals for themselves. “You never play the same piece the same way twice,” he said. Goldman said students now are more “vocationally oriented,” wanting an immediate return on their investment — because, after all, education is expensive. All entering music students at MVSU must take piano, so Goldman teaches people with a variety of interests. To those interested in music education, he says they will be rewarded if they can finish that program. “It’s a rigorous program to get an education degree. It’s not an easy degree,” he said. “But if you finish that degree, and you’re fully qualified and certified, you will have a job. Not every degree program in this university can say that.” He also runs the annual piano festival, which he helped establish. This year was the 12th festival, and on average the events include 35 to 40 performers, ranging from kindergartners to community college students. Goldman said he would like to make the festival a multi-day event and/or add more guests, but that would require more money. Still, he said sponsors and others have responded well to the event. “I’m really, really pleased that the community has rallied to our support,” he said. As for his other teaching duties, he says he just hopes to keep doing the job better and “get the best students coming in and even better students coming out.” Sometimes he teaches students in groups, and sometimes he teaches individuals, but he says the one-on-one setting is ideal for music. “I’ve always felt most at home teaching one on one, like I did with my little brothers,” he said. LI
42 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
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BY RACHEL HODGE
Doing what she likes
Teaching makes her heart dance.
Things don’t always turn out the way you plan them, but for Marcy Wuestenhoefer, the owner and instructor of Expressions Dance Studio, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Wuestenhoefer, 25, opened her studio in 2005, a year after graduating from Mississippi Delta Community College with a degree in dental hygiene. “I really did want to do that. I enjoyed dental hygiene school,” Wuestenhoefer said, “but when I graduated there were no job openings in the area.” Switching gears from cleaning teeth to teaching dance may seem odd, but for Wuestenhoefer it was an easy transition. Growing up in Greenwood, she took ballet and jazz classes from Aubrey Whittington and Deanna Lowry, who now teach at The Warehouse, and she also attended the Betty Aden Dance Camp every summer. Wuestenhoefer danced at Pillow Academy for six years in junior high and high school before going on to become a Delta Dancer at MDCC under Betty Aden. While at MDCC, Wuestenhoefer met her husband, Jason Wuestenhoefer, 27, who now works at Viking Range Corp. They have been married for four years. It was during her time at MDCC that she also began teaching dance herself. Wuestenhoefer worked with Lacy Tollison at the Lacy Tollison Studio of Dance in Indianola and also helped at the Betty Aden Dance Camp, where she has continued to
work every summer. “I had always loved to dance,” Wuestenhoefer said, “but this is what really put the bug in me.” So when dental hygiene fell through, the Expressions Dance Studio came about. “Now I get to do what I love to do,” Wuestenhoefer said. The studio on West Claiborne Avenue started with about 40 students its first year and grew to almost 100 in the second. Wuestenhoefer teaches jazz, hip hop, ballet, tap and lyrical dance classes from September through May, with a dance camp during the summer. The classes are open to students from age 3 up to high school seniors. “Working with kids is really fun, especially the younger ones who just soak up everything,” Wuestenhoefer said. Outside of her work in the studio, Wuestenhoefer is the sponsor of the varsity Pillow Dancers, so she works with them and choreographs their dances for games and pep rallies. And — never giving up on that degree — she still does temporary work as a dental hygienist when local dental offices need someone to fill in. Wuestenhoefer enjoys being
close to her family in Greenwood and is grateful to her parents, Harold and Merry Glenn Young, and her younger brother, Taylor Young, for all their support. She says her mom, who also danced for Betty Aden at MDCC, is the one who really fostered a love of dance in her. Wuestenhoefer hopes her business will continue to grow. and she would eventually like to have a non-competitive dance group that will travel and perform. “I hope I can be an inspiration to young girls and instill in them the love for dance that I have,” she said. LI
Marcy Wuestenhoefer picks music to get her students moving at Expressions Dance Studio’s dance camp.
PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 43
PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
Fr om Russia with love
The Tsemas are glad to be part of the “ Pillow family”
Alex, Lubov and Dasha Tsema left Russia 14 years ago, and they now live in Greenwood, where Alex and Lubov coach at Pillow Academy. Both are world-class athletes, and Dasha, 13, is a student in the eighth grade.
BY BILL BURRUS Pillow Academy coach and teacher Alex Tsema hasn’t seen his family back in Russia for nearly 14 years. There are other things he misses about his life in Russia, but he and his wife, Lubov, are happy with the life they’ve built in Greenwood. “We have fallen in love with the Southern hospitality. At first I couldn’t believe that people I didn’t know were waving and speaking to me,” Alex said. “It’s so, so different.” The first year in America was a tough one for the couple. They had left everything they had behind in Moscow and had just given birth to a baby girl, Dasha. “I was ready to pack up and go home,” said Lubov. “I can remember crying and not being able to stop. We were learning a new language and a new way of life. It was a different, difficult time.” But they were determined to tough it out to give their child a better life.
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â€œHer e, Dasha has many mor e oppor tunities for success.â€? â€” Alex Tsema â€œLife in Russia is so much more of a fight for success. Here, Dasha has many more open opportunities for success,â€? Alex said. â€œAnd you donâ€™t have to worry about your child and their safety when they go places without you. Crime is bad in Moscow, and it can be a dangerous place.â€? Alex is Pillowâ€™s head track coach, an assistant in boys soccer and strength and conditioning coach for girls soccer and basketball. Lubov is the cross country head coach and assists her husband with track and field. Lubov guided Pillow to a state championship in cross country last season and was named Coach of the Year in the sport by the Mississippi Private School Association. Lubov and Alex, in their eighth year
decathlon in the first Goodwill Games. Pillow Athletic Director Durwin Carpenter, who also coaches the girlsâ€™ basketball team, says the school is lucky to have people as qualified as the Tsemas. â€œIt has been a pleasure working with Alex and Lubov. They have worked in all sports programs at Pillow. The weight program, speed and quickness drills they designed have helped our Lady Mustang basketball program,â€? Carpenter said. â€œAlex and Lubov make a great team.â€? The Tsemas say they feel at home here and hope to still be living in Greenwood when Dasha, now 13, graduates from high school.â€œWe really like the school and the people of Greenwood. Weâ€™re happy here as long as Dasha is happy here,â€? Alex said. LI
working at Pillow, have impressive amateur athletic pedigrees. Matter of fact, it was sports that brought them together. They met in 1982 at an athletic camp in Sochi, a Russian resort city. They started dating in December 1984 and were married in September 1986. Lubov once held the world record in the indoors 600-meter run with a time of 1 minute, 25.46 seconds. She participated in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, finishing 16th in the 800-meter run. In her prime, she had 25 first-place finishes in major track meets around the world in 1986. In 1984, Alex won the Soviet Union championship in the decathlon (10 track and field events in two days) at the age of 23. Two years later, he finished 11th in the
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Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 45
Keep an eye out
for these! October 2007 13 – MVSU Family, Community and High School Day, MVSU vs. North Dakota State football game, Rice-Totten Stadium, 2 p.m. 16 – Kenneth Thompson Builder will host Business After Hours at 5 p.m. 18 — Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce’s “Meet the Candidates” forum, 5:30 p.m. 20 – MVSU vs. Texas Southern football game and Homecoming Celebration, Rice-Totten Stadium, 2 p.m.
November 2007 6 – Greenwood's annual Holiday Open House, 12 noon until. 8 – Downtown loft tour, to benefit Main Street Greenwood 13 – Annual Salute to Elected Officials (Location TBA), 6 p.m. 30 – The 72nd Annual Roy Martin Delta Band Festival Christmas Parade, 3 p.m.
December 2007 4 – Governmental Affairs Committee's Annual Review/Preview Breakfast in the Chamber Auditorium, 7:15 a.m. 6 – Graduation of the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tomorrow Class in the Chamber Auditorium, 4:30 p.m.
Februrary 2008 20 – Mississippi Valley State University’s Black History Convocation, H.G. Carpenter Auditorium, 10 a.m.
The Christmas parade in Greenwood has been held for more than 70 years.
March 2008 26 – MVSU Honors Convocation, H.G. Carpenter Auditorium, 10 a.m. 28 – MVSU Women In Science and Technology Conference, Social Science Auditorium
April 2008 12 – 13th Annual MVSU Piano Festival, Walter Sillers Fine Arts Center 24 – MVSU Founder’s Convocation, H.G. Carpenter Auditorium, 10 a.m. 25 – MVSU J.H. White Preeminence Awards and Gala Celebration, R.W. Harrison Gymnasium, 5 p.m.
May 2008 10 – MVSU Commencement 46 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
PHOTOS BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
FALL AND WINTER 2007-2008
The index of advertisers Ad page
Ad page AIRPORTS Mid-Delta Regional Airport
ATTORNEYS Upshaw, Williams, Biggers, Beckham & Riddick
AUTOMOTIVE GLASS Mobile Auto Glass
BEAUTY SALONS Legends Tangles
Bella Flora Frank’s Flower Shop Nebletts Frame Outlet
Wilson & Knight Funeral Home 45
FURNISHINGS Cargo Dock
Susie M. Brooks Childcare Center
Port Eliot 19
Gift Box, The Mississippi Gift Co., The
17 37 17 36 36 14 37
Murphree, Dr. Rick C.; Pernell, Dr. Dottie; Porter, Dr. “Cookie” 10 Northwest Regional Medical Center 2 Sunflower Home Health & Medical Equipment inside front cover
EDUCATIONAL SUPPLIES Education Express
ELDERLY LIVING Crystal Health & Rehab Golden Age Inc.
ENTERTAINMENT Bologna Performing Arts Center
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J.D. Lanham Supply Co. Home Front
Viking Range Corp.
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NEWSPAPER Greenwood Commonwealth
PHOTOGRAPHY Jennings Photography Lamb’s Photography
REAL ESTATE Bowie Realty
E&H Realty Short Street Realty
RESTAURANTS Blue Parrot Cafe Carroll County Market China Blossom Giardina’s Larry’s Fish House Lusco’s Me Me’s Restaurant Miss Sippy’s Coffee Shop & Merchantile Orleans Bistro Sonic Drive-In Webster’s What’s Cooking? Learning Tree, The Mississippi Valley State University Pillow Academy St. Francis of Assisi
29 40 28 28 28 29 29 40 37 29 14 29
35, Back Cover 21 31
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Greenwood Convention & Visitors Bureau Main Street Greenwood
FINE ARTS Carroll County Picture Show
FINANCIAL First South Farm Credit
Jewelry Etc. Lynbar Jewelers Russell’s Antiques & Fine Jewelry
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inside back cover
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY Delta Correctional Facility
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· index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers ·
· index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers ·
index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers
index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers · index of advertisers
Fall and Winter 2007-2008 Leflore Illustrated / 47
Hunting for fun
PHOTO BY JOHNNY JENNINGS
CVB director finds it everywhere
BY DAVID MONROE Paige Hunt has a simple description of her job as executive director of the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau: “I sell fun for a living.” Now, after a few months on the job, she has plenty of ideas to help bring more tourists to the city and build up the economy. “This has been the dream job, and Greenwood is definitely a dream town to market,” Hunt said. Hunt has spent her entire professional life with organizations related to hospitality or tourism. Before coming to Greenwood, she served as special events coordinator for the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. Hunt said she wants to continue the success the Greenwood bureau has had under previous directors, but she has goals of her own as well. For example, she plans to do more regional advertising. Greenwood attracts some visitors from other parts of the country and other countries, but most of the people come from places such as Atlanta, Birmingham and Louisiana. So Hunt plans to advertise in publications such as the Atlanta and Birmingham city magazines and an Arkansas state magazine. The CVB will advertise in national publications, too, but will focus more on the Southeast. Hunt also would like to market the Leflore County Civic Center, Greenwood hotels and other sites as places to host meetings. For example, she planned to go to a convention in October of the Mississippi Society of Association Executives and its Louisiana counterpart. Many of the associations represented there are of a suitable size that they could meet in a place like Greenwood, she said. “With 722 hotel rooms, we obviously can’t have a 10,000-person meeting in Greenwood and have them all stay here,” she said. “But these associations, we’re the perfect size for their meetings.” She said Mayor Sheriel Perkins played a big part in one upcoming meeting — the Mississippi Conference of Black Mayors, which will be held in Greenwood in January. “That’s an example of the type of conference that I think would be beneficial for us to continue to get,” Hunt said. Much of the marketing of Greenwood has focused on leisure activities for people taking weekend getaways. But those same activities can help lure business travelers as well, Hunt said. People don’t take two-week vacations often now because of the expense; they take a few days instead. People used to look forward to business travel, but now many dread it, she said. “‘Girls’ weekends’ are a huge trend right now, and we’re successful with that here because of The Alluvian and the spa and the (Viking) cooking class,” she said. “But I think that all those leisure things that the leisure traveler enjoys, the business traveler would enjoy as well.” Hunt said she also had met with managers of Greenwood hotels and would like to help start a hotel association at some point. Greenwood once had such an organization, and she also was involved in one in Starkville. Hotel managers are busy peo48 / Leflore Illustrated Fall and Winter 2007-2008
Paige Hunt stands on the Yazoo River bank in Greenwood, with the Leflore County Courthouse in the background.
ple, but through the association, they could discuss common issues and problems and ways to make everyone’s job easier, she said. Of course, the hotels compete with each other, but working together can benefit all of them, Hunt said. “Our hotels do well in Greenwood, and we’re very lucky that they do,” she said. “But typically, the better one is doing, the better the rest of them are going to do.” Hunt also is pleased that her organization is based downtown. She said she has been impressed with the activity there, including merchants and other businesses. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Greenwood, Mississippi, or New York City, New York — if you don’t have a strong downtown, you don’t have a strong town,” she said. Because Hunt’s father is from Schlater, she was very familiar with Greenwood before she arrived. But since moving to town, she has been able to take in the restaurants, hotels and other tourism-related resources. She said she has received valuable help from the CVB board, Main Street Greenwood, the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce, the business community and the city government. “Everybody in this town has been wonderful,” she said. “And I think the administration, from the mayor on down, really believes in tourism.” She also praised leaders such as Beth Stevens, executive vice president of the chamber, and Lise Foy, executive director of Main Street. “From what I gather with these ladies, they truly love Greenwood, and they truly want it to be great,” she said. “You’ve got to believe in what you’re selling, and I think that they all do, and I know I do.” LI
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