March 14 - 20, 2012
We brought the great outdoors indoors!
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Jackson Only Indoor Bouldering Facility! 127 Dyess Road|Ridgeland, MS 39157|601-977-9000
March 14 - 20, 2012
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contents VIRGINIA SCHREIBER
6 Street Feat It won’t be paved with gold, but the Fortification Street refurb may keep cars from bottoming out. DANE CARNEY
Cover photo of a Campbell’s Bakery cookie by Virginia Schreiber
The Southern Komfort guys know how to get the Paddy’s party started right. JEAN SEYMOUR
hal white there. He also recalls Mal being unimpressed by a young band that later achieved international rock stardom as 3 Doors Down. In the early 1990s, the Mississippi Legislature legalized dockside gambling along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast, which dramatically changed the state’s entertainment landscape. Hal & Mal’s could no longer compete to draw national acts because casino operators could triple the Whites’ offer to artists. “You live and die with the times. One time you’re the big fish and the next time you’re the little fish. And now we’re the little fish. We just try to hang on and bring good music to Jackson as best we can,” White said. It’s not uncommon for White to spend 18-hour days at the bar or to see him jump in the kitchen when a cook calls in sick. He actually doesn’t mind the long days—as long as he can take a Caribbean vacation with Anne, his wife of 25 years, once a year and play a round of golf on Sunday. A father of three and grandfather of three laments the few extra points that age has added to his handicap of 15 or 16 (it used to be closer to 10), but is quick to add that he does not take the game seriously. “The game of golf is hard enough without worrying about beating the next guy,” White said. “It’s a game. Enjoy it as a game and don’t get excited. That’s really the way life ought to be, don’t you think?” —R.L. Nave
Jean Seymour’s eclectic artistic creations combine a variety of styles and media with a bit of whimsy.
Title IX made it possible for women’s sports to make strides for equal footing with the guys.
Harold Taylor White, Jr. is as much a fixture in Hal & Mal’s as his 28-year-old restaurant is of downtown Jackson. On most days, patrons will find White perched at the corner of the bar, where he can watch the kitchen, dining room and behind the bar. “I thought at my age that I’d be over this, that I’d be gone,” White says over a plate of chicken tenders and a salad. White, a northeast Jackson resident who celebrated his 63rd birthday March 13, is far from being gone. In addition to wanting to keep the place open so his 30 employees won’t join the jobless ranks, White just loves the restaurant business. Born in Hattiesburg, he studied culinary arts at Northeast Mississippi Community College. He and his brother, Malcolm—or Mal—first wanted to open their restaurant in Hattiesburg, but Hal was making too much money as a drilling fluid engineer to walk away from the oil business. After Hal spent a decade as an oilman, the White brothers settled in Jackson and opened Hal and Mal’s in the former GM&O freight depot building in 1984, a time when downtown Jackson had few eateries. As a result of the lack of competition and 36,000 square feet, Hal & Mal’s flourished as the city’s No. 1 live-music venue. Leon Russell, B.B. King, the Average White Band, and Omar and the Howlers are a few of the big acts White remembers playing
4 ..............Editor’s Note 4 ................... Slowpoke 6 .......................... Talks 12 .................. Business 14 ................... Editorial 14 .... Editorial Cartoon 15 ................. Opinion 16 .............. St. Paddy’s 27 .............. Diversions 28 ........................ Film 31 ...................... Books 32 .................... 8 Days 33 ............. JFP Events 34 ...................... Music 35 ......... Music Listing 36 ..................... Sports 38 ....................... Food 42 ................ Astrology 45 .............. Body/Soul 46 .... Girl About Town
Briana Robinson Deputy Editor Briana Robinson is a 2010 graduate of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. Her hobbies include photography, ballet and ballroom dancing. She is a sophomore at Millsaps College. She coordinated the St. Paddy’s Day stories.
Kristin Brenemen Art Director Kristin Brenemen is an otaku with a penchant for dystopianism. Her 2012 cosplay plans include ASBOs, Jedi and Rarity the My Little Pony. She designed the cover and many pages in this issue.
Jacob Fuller Reporter Jacob Fuller is a former student at Ole Miss. When not reporting, he splits his time between playing music and photographing anything in sight. He covers the city for the JFP. Send him story ideas at jacob@ jacksonfreepress.com.
Jacob Rowan Jacob Rowan is a writer and artist who lived in nine different places before arriving at Jackson and attending Belhaven University. He wrote an arts feature story.
Whitney Menogan Editorial intern Whitney Menogan is from Madison and holds bachelor’s degree in English from Tougaloo College. She enjoys reading, writing and having mind-blowing conversations with friends. She wrote a food story.
Tam Curley Editorial intern Tam Curley loves telling about her move from liberal California to begin a new life with her hubby and daughter in conservative Mississippi. She is an Arkansas native and enjoys time with her two lab puppies. She wrote the Body/Soul feature.
Greg Pigott Greg Pigott is truly an avid fan of every kind of music. He’s also the guy who takes karaoke seriously. He wrote a music story.
March 14 - 20, 2012
Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who likes yoga, supporting locally owned businesses and traveling. In her spare time, she plots how she can become Michelle Obama’s water holder.
by Donna Ladd, Editor-in-Chief
A Romney Runs Through Us
ampaigning in Mississippi last week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney set off a mini-firestorm in our offices. Sometime between joking about grits and forking up some hay, downsouth style, Romney uttered words that made us nearly sputter in response: “If the federal government were run more like here in Mississippi, the whole country would be a lot better off.” Say what, Gov. Romney?! See, we JFP folks cover the state government, and we watch it very closely up here in the capital city. How can we say this nicely? It’s a bona fide mess. We were so astounded that four of our staffers launched a round of Twitter satire using hashtag #runitlikeMississippi to make the point that this state is no model for running anything, much less the federal government (see page 7 for our favorites). We love this city, and state, and want it to succeed. It is home for many of us, and some of our staff came here precisely because it’s such an interesting place to live and work (and so much journalism left undone). We appreciate our state despite its shortcomings, and we work every day to try to make it better. But to say—even while pandering for votes—that our state is a model of governance is flabbergasting and insulting to our citizens. We have a Legislature spending much of our time trying to figure out unconstitutional legislation to limit the right to an abortion, despite the resounding message Mississippi voters sent last fall on the personhood fiasco. They are scheming to force underpaid police officers to pull over people who look like they might be undocumented immigrants (meaning: Latinos). They ignore the nonpartisan data that show that immigrants, even undocumented ones, actually help our economy. Meantime, we are one of the poorest states in the nation with the resulting crime, and our education system is almost entirely divided between decent schools for the wealthy and continually weakening education for the poor and people of color (especially thanks to No Child Left Behind). Only 42 years after courts forced schools here to integrate, our publicschool system is abysmally re-segregated. State lawmakers won’t take seriously the need to ensure just “adequate” funding of public schools to help make up for the resulting inequities of our Jim Crow years. Instead, they want charter schools, but without enough serious consideration of how to do them well, and what to do with kids who get left out of them. In other words, the (mostly) men running the state Legislature want to dictate from on high what’s good for the rest of us, but without considering the benefit of context, historical lessons or the need to make sure our residents have a level playing field to give them a chance at success. They want to tell women what to do with our bodies, even if it puts our lives at risk. And they continue to push the kind of bigotry against “the other” in the antiimmigration bill that isn’t exactly helping our state look like the kind of state where strong
companies want to come in and set up shop. Diversity is important in the business world; why would companies subject their employees to a state whose leaders push or support stereotypes about “the other,” or whose supporters are more likely than not to believe the president is a Muslim (which is meant as a slur)? This is no way to run a state, or a country, Gov. Romney. Jackson is especially hurt by state leadership and its aversion to (a) a majority-black capital city run by (b) an African American mayor who refuses to pander to them. Last year, Mayor Johnson nearly came to blows with then Gov. Haley Barbour and now-Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves to get them to honor bonds to help this city’s severe water infrastructure problems. It was mortifying to watch the state leadership play a power game with the city where lawmakers make laws (and let’s be honest, party) over something as basic as aging, crumbling water pipes. The victims of this power-dance were the local business and restaurant owners with empty cash registers and refrigerators full of food rotting when we couldn’t flush our toilets for several days. These are not model legislators. Meantime, they introduce bills to require drug testing of Medicaid recipients (and prohibit them to have vanity license plates). They also do everything possible to enact expensive voter ID even without evidence of voter fraud it would stop. Oh, and the chairwoman of the Senate Tourism Committee was the keynote speaker for the white-supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens here in Jackson in 2009—not raising an eyebrow at the capitol. Really, Mr. Romney: Are you positive you really want to run it like Mississippi? Fortunately, we have many people of all
races working to turn Mississippi around and change our reputation (granted, an uphill battle at times). Unfortunately, the folks you pandered to here tend to drown them out. I was honored two weeks ago to be invited to the White House alongside two dozen diverse Jackson business leaders (ranging from Sen. John Horhn and Mayor Johnson to Derek Emerson of Walkers Drive-Inn and Monique Davis of Lumpkins Barbeque). Meeting with the White House Business Council to talk about what the Jackson business community needs, it was apparent that this was a different kind of group than most state leaders. Yes, we talked about the loss of manufacturing jobs in the state and our under-educated work force, but the entire conversation (from both us and the White House team) was grounded in a context of our historical and current challenges as a city and as a state. For five hours, we discussed everything from what we could do about food deserts—entire poor neighborhoods with no access to good food—to the difficulty of educating kids (and thus a good work force) who are growing up in poverty and attending challenged schools. This conversation was real, and it didn’t focus on politics (one attendee brought up politics, and another steered the talk back on topic). It was about how we can and must strengthen the health and potential of our community at large and our local businesses—and about how the two are intertwined. There was no denial in that room that day in Washington. And there was certainly no sense that Mississippi was being run in a way that is going to lift us off the bottom. Gov. Romney, I urge you to find another way to run than by acting like you want to govern like our leaders. It’s just a horrible idea.
Saturday, March 17th, 2012
$5 at the door – Indoor & Outdoor shenanigans RAIN OR SHINE! Professional stage, lighting, and sound
Irish Food, Irish Beer, Irish Fun!
Legacy (Traditional Irish): 2p-4:30p | Otis Lotus (Grateful Dead Tribute): 5p-7:30p Gary Burnside (Hill Country Blues): 8:00p-10:30p 901 E. Fortification Street | 601-948-0055 | www.fenianspub.com
3 Cour se Tradition al Ir ish Din n e r $ 24 Ma
r ch 1 5
Entree C hoices in Pork Ten clude d e rl o i n , R Seared S oasted Lamb, & almon
March 14 - 20, 2012
Fortification Street Bids Coming VIRGINIA SCHRIEBER
ortification Street is a minefield of potholes and cracks and a patchwork of new and old resurfacing. After years of talk, Jackson officials have finally announced that the street, arguably the worst in the city, is getting a much-needed makeover. The stretch of Fortification from Greymont Street to Farish Street is a hilly thoroughfare that commuters use to get to and from the interstate and several local businesses, such as Belhaven University and the Baptist Health complex, as well as residential areas including Belhaven and Belhaven Heights. The only people who might want to see Fortification Street remain in its current condition are the mechanics who fix the cars that frequent the road. â€œSince Iâ€™ve been living in Jackson, Iâ€™ve had to have the front end on my car aligned like three different times, just from driving on Fortification,â€? Fenianâ€™s Pub manager Josh Steights said. Money is the biggest issue with getting the street repaved. Now, Jackson has combined funding from the city, state and federal governments and is ready to get started. Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said he anticipates bids for the project March 27. â€œ(Itâ€™s) a multi-million dollar project. We canâ€™t give you an exact number because itâ€™s still in the bidding process,â€? Johnson said. The proposed plan will include a lot more than just repaving the street. From Greymont to Jefferson Street, the section nearest Inter-
Fortification Street is about to get a facelift. Finally.
state 55, workers will paint new lines and turn the current four-lane stretch of Fortification to three lanes, with the center lane serving as a designated turn lane. New and wider sidewalks and decorative light posts are also part of the plan, as is moving above-ground power lines that parallel the street to an underground vault. â€œItâ€™s going to make that area of Fortification much more pedestrian-friendly, slow
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