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April 2 - 8, 2014




oseph Moss uses the word “fortunate” a lot. He says it when talking about his parents and how they raised him on a cattle farm in Canton to know the value of hard work and integrity. He chooses the word when talking about his wife, Ashley, and two daughters, and when describing his job as a mid-Mississippi division president at BancorpSouth. Moss is, in many ways, the stereotypical southern man—clean-cut, respectful and Christian. He loves to hunt and fish. Every night, his family sits down together for dinner. “No TV, no electronics,” Moss says. “We talk about the day and get our children to talk to us about what’s going on at school and talk about who their friends are and what they’re doing, the challenges they face at this age and the fun things they are doing.” He’s also a military man, having served in the Air National Guard for 27 years. “One of the greatest opportunities in my life and my career is to be a member of the Mississippi Air National Guard,” he says. “(It gave me) the opportunity to work with some outstanding individuals. The men and women of the 172nd are truly heroes. The men and women that serve the department of defense and the other divisions—anybody that wears a military uniform, I have the utmost respect for.” Moss calls the 172nd, which has its base in Flowood, “unfortunately, one of the greatest-kept secrets in the tri-county area.” He says he wishes more people knew about the guard


and what it does for the Jackson community. For the last several years, the division’s primary missions have involved flying a medevac out of Afghanistan and Iraq. The guard flies cargo downrange, then flies patients back out. “To be a small part of the team that completed so many successful missions in returning people home,” Moss says, “I wish everybody could see what I’ve seen.” Moss retired last year as the Command Chief Master Sergeant. Moss got his work ethic from his parents and lessons learned on the cattle farm. “I was taught about hard work and the rewards that come with it, integrity, how to treat everyone equal. … I rely on the skills (my father) taught me on that small farm every day,” he says. And Moss wants to pass on those lessons to his own kids, too. “Nothing is more important to me than my children,” he says. “Trying to teach them to constantly grow, that you’ve got to focus on education.” He also shares with his daughters how important the military has been to him. “As I was coaching my daughter’s soccer team, the (military medevac) plane flew over head,” he recalls. “I asked them, ‘What do you see?’ They said it was a big plane. I said, ‘That’s not what I see. I see freedom.’” Around Jackson and the metro area, Moss is also involved with the Salvation Army, United Way and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, sharing his good fortune with the community. —Kathleen Mitchell

Cover photos by Trip Burns

6 What the HUD?

Mayoral candidates spar over $2 million in misspent federal housing funds.

31 An Indian and Southern Affair

Setu Raval and Zach Seivers combined their cultures in their “destination” wedding in Jackson.

37 Jimbo Mathus’ Blues Soul

“I will say this: I have friends that live in other parts of the country that can’t make nearly the living I make playing music here in Mississippi. You can make a good living making the music the way it ought to be made right here. Music is social, and Mississippi has that culture where people like to go out and want to be entertained.” —Jimbo Mathus, “Mississippi’s Musical Ambassador”

4 ............................. ENDORSEMENT 6 ............................................ TALKS 14 ................................ EDITORIAL 15 .................................... OPINION 16 ............................ COVER STORY 29 ...... BOJ POP UP BALLOT RESULTS 31 .................................... HITCHED 34 ......................................... FOOD 37 .............................. DIVERSIONS 38 .......................................... FILM 38 .......................................... ARTS 41 ....................................... 8 DAYS 42 ...................................... EVENTS 44 ....................................... MUSIC 45 ....................... MUSIC LISTINGS 46 ..................................... SPORTS 47 .................................... PUZZLES 49 ....................................... ASTRO


APRIL 2 - 8, 2014 | VOL. 12 NO. 30



by JFP Editorial Board

Vote Chowke Antar Lumumba for Mayor Expansion would offer a double benefit—it over the solutions. She rightly points out would help Jackson cover many of its citizens that her ward has experienced a great deal of and increase revenues and growth in our al- development and that she’s represented a diready vital health-care sector. verse ward for a long time. If she isn’t elected This cycle also brought us innovative mayor, we hope she’ll continue her service on thinking in the form of Councilman Melvin the council as a clear voice of reason and a Priester Jr.’s candidacy; Mr. Priester clearly determined advocate for progress. has a strong future in Jackson—and, perhaps Sen. John Horhn is clearly an advocate Mississippi—politics. (An endorsement from for Jackson and already a major driver of sucU.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson doesn’t hurt.) cess for the capital city. We like his idea that We’re pleased to hear him we need to find workhit hard on the idea of able solutions to get past citizen-first development state and federal gridlock efforts and his focus on to get grants and dollars technology—predictive flowing to the capital policing, crowdsourcing, city. His connections, business incubation—for solutions orientation and solving pressing probability to “cross the aisle” lems. We’ve long called would serve Jackson resifor the forward-thinking dents if he’s mayor, and approach to economic will hopefully continue development that he arto serve us if he remains ticulates—build your city a state senator. for its citizens and the We discussed attourists will come; not the Chowke Antar Lumumba torney Regina Quinn a other way around. great deal in coming to If Priester doesn’t our decision; we like Ms. win this seat, we know he will keep fighting Quinn’s no-nonsense leadership style, her for these principles and continuing to push fresh take on women’s economic status (we Jackson to innovate from his first-term seat agree that this is an overlooked and underon the City Council, because these things are appreciated solution to Jackson’s economic clearly in his DNA. future) and her real-world experiences; she’s Councilman Tony Yarber is a formida- handled both challenges and successes. If she ble candidate—a success story on the council isn’t elected mayor, we sincerely hope that the and a powerful, personable leader with good new mayor will reach our to Ms. Quinn as a ideas about bringing more accountability key adviser—we believe she could prove an and transparency to city government and de- extremely valuable asset to City Hall. velopment. He has strong opinions on who In reaching our decision to endorse needs to stay and who needs to go; if he’s not Chowke Antar Lumumba, a phrase we kept elected mayor, we will rely on him to remain returning to was “the will of the people.” a force for Jackson’s future. What his father brought to Jackson in his Councilwoman Margaret Barrett- short time as mayor is hard to quantify—but Simon’s service to Jackson is unquestioned, “hope,” “pride” and “unity” are all words in and admire her skills at getting to the heart the mix. We asked each mayoral candidate to of the problem and bringing people together tell us what they thought Mayor Lumumba TRIP BURNS


he special election to replace Mayor Chowke Lumumba after his untimely passing—just eight months into his term—has been one of the most remarkable Jackson mayoral races in our memory. Perhaps because they’re unfettered from the need to run a long campaign and face the prospect of hundreds of thousands of dollars to be competitive, we’ve seen the most impressive field of candidates for mayor since the JFP first published in 2002. That said, the compressed campaign schedule has meant a lot of work for the JFP staff—knowing that we wouldn’t have long to research each candidate, a service we believe is important for our readers, we set up and recorded personal endorsement interviews with seven of them, which you can see at in their entirety, in order to add to your resources for making your decision. Other candidates were sent a detailed questionnaire; we are adding answers to that link if and as they return them. This wide field of candidates made our decision a tough one. We’ve got youthful candidates, experienced candidates and some serious community leaders who might not otherwise have been interested in running a full-season campaign. Looking back, we realized that this endorsement represents the first time we have ever endorsed a candidate for Jackson mayor other than former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. In his endorsement interview this week, we were reminded again of his knowledge of city administration and his character as a leader. If Johnson isn’t elected mayor, we sincerely hope that whoever is elected will reach out to him for advice and guidance. One of Johnson’s most poignant comments this cycle was one that connects the dots that a “senior statesman” tends to see from a higher vantage point—the need to use the Jackson bully pulpit to convince the State of Mississippi to expand Medicaid.

was doing well and what they would change if elected; most of the candidates pointed to Lumumba’s ability to bring diverse people of Jackson together and to create a sense of unity that was lacking. Most of the candidates— including his son—said they disagreed with some of his hiring and appointments. The Planning Department and Public Works Department came up frequently. The fact that we lost Mayor Lumumba so early in his tenure certainly affected our view on this election. What we were interested in hearing from the candidates is how they would finish his term, and if they could provide continuity, accountability, strong leadership and maybe even inspiration. When we interviewed Chowke Antar Lumumba, we were struck by two strong themes. One, Mr. Lumumba appears to have been raised from an early age to appreciate and model his father’s approach to leadership and decision-making. While only 31 years old, he exudes a discipline and quiet determination that people many years his senior haven’t mastered. His articulation of a framework for a “unity, debate, unity” style of governance is something we appreciated. Second, Mr. Lumumba clearly communicated differences with his father and a strong willingness to make his own decisions if he’s elected mayor. He does represent a new generation of leadership—one firmly rooted in and respectful of tradition—and he affirms he will be his “own man” as mayor. Most importantly, Mr. Lumumba has promised that he is committed to continuing his father’s work in transforming Jackson for all of its citizens. After careful consideration—and recognizing that there is risk in any choice—we’d like to give him that chance. And if the citizens of Jackson agree, the JFP promises to watchdog closely to make sure he keeps that commitment. Vote Chowke Antar Lumumba on April 8, 2014.

April 2 - 8, 2014



R.L. Nave

Haley Ferretti

Trip Burns

Justin Gudger

Ronni Mott

Greg Pigott

Briana Robinson

Kimberly Griffin

R.L. Nave, native Missourian and news editor, roots for St. Louis (and the Mizzou Tigers)—and for Jackson. Send him news tips at or call him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12. He contributed to the cover package.

Interim City Reporter Haley Ferretti is a 2013 graduate of Delta State University. She enjoys traveling, listening to The Strokes and raiding refrigerators. She contributed to the cover package.

Trip Burns is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where he studied English and sociology. He enjoys the films of Stanley Kubrick. He took photos for the cover package and many for the issue.

Justin Gudger is a singer/songwriter and Jackson native, whose hobbies exclude growing up and smiling for photographs. His two favorite subjects are lunch and recess. He wrote a Best of Jackson mini ballot blurb.

Ronni Mott has been a Mississippian since 1997. She’s an award-winning writer and a yoga teacher, just stumbling and fumbling toward bliss like everyone else. She wrote an arts story.

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.

Music Editor Briana Robinson wants to become an expert on all things music. Her other passions include dance and photography. Send her the music scoop at She compiled the Eight Days a Week listings.

Kimberly Griffin is a fitness buff and foodie who loves chocolate and her mama. She’s also Michelle Obama’s super secret BFF, which explains the Secret Service detail.





Friday, March 28 Attorney General Eric Holder extends federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold. Saturday, March 29 President Obama returns to Washington after an overseas trip that included meeting in the Netherlands with allies from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations to discuss Russia and meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on measures to aid the Syrian opposition. Sunday, March 30 A warship with an aircraft black box detector departs Australia to join the search for the missing Malaysian jetliner a day after ships plucked objects from the Indian Ocean to determine whether they were related to the missing plane.

April 2 - 8, 2014

Monday, March 31 The Obama administration’s health care website falls out of service for nearly four hours on the day of the deadline to sign up for private health insurance in the new online markets. ... North and South Korea fire hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters following North Korea’s sudden announcement that it would conduct live-fire drills in seven areas north of the Koreas’ disputed maritime boundary.


Tuesday, April 1 NATO’s foreign ministers order an end to civilian and military cooperation with Russia and tell their generals and admirals to quickly figure out ways to better protect alliance members that feel threatened by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.

by R.L. Nave


n agreement between the city of Jackson and a federal housing agency over the apparent mishandling of $2 million in communitydevelopment block grant money could hamstring small development in the capital city for the next three years and has emerged as a hot issue in the special election for mayor. “The federal government came down and slammed us,� Melvin Priester Jr., who is running for mayor and represents Ward 2 on the city council, told the Jackson Free Press editorial board March 24. Priester, who has also served as council president since the death of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba in late February, provided the JFP with documents from city officials responding to a U.S. Department of Housing and urban Development monitoring report stating that the city allocated $1.9 million in CDBG money that failed to meet federal guidelines. The ineligible CDBG projects included $575,532 for small-business development, $200,000 for the Roberts Hotel, $914,420 for the Electric Building and $250,000 for Metro Market Place, according a letter from HUD dated Jan. 31, 2014, and signed by Lumumba. As a result, the city has also suspended its CDBG small-business grant program, Priester said, “because people were being given money without any sort of accountability with regard to whether they qualified for the money (or) whether they were doing the sorts of things they were supposed to do with the money.� In addition, the city “had to let go a number of people,� Priester said, although he

City Council President Melvin Priester Jr. and several candidates running for mayor of Jackson are lambasting the administration of former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. over the mishandling of federal block grants. Johnson, also running for the seat, defends his record.

declined to name specific individuals. Ward 4 Councilman De’Keither Stamps, who accompanied Priester to a briefing on the status of all HUD programs, called cleaning up the problem a “huge issue.� “It doesn’t get any bigger,� Stamps said, adding that the city council is implementing budgeting policies to keep the mistakes from happening in the future. Priester lays blame for the debacle at the feet of former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. as an example of Johnson’s administration negligence to detail that he, Priester, vows to change if he is elected mayor. Johnson defended his administration’s

Fictional History by Trip Burns DANIEL OGDEN

Thursday, March 27 The Air Force fires nine midlevel nuclear commanders and announces it will discipline dozens of junior officers at a nuclear missile base, responding firmly to an exam-cheating scandal. ... President Obama discusses issues such as economic inequality in his first meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican.

Repayment of HUD Funds Emerges as Election Issue TRIP BURNS

Wednesday, March 26 President Obama and European Union leaders promote adoption of a transatlantic trade to counter Russia’s influence in the region and help Europe become less dependent on Moscow for its energy needs.

J.K. Rowling


.K. Rowling recently told Wonderland magazine that she made a mistake not getting Harry and Hermione together at the end of the “Harry Potter� series. Let’s imagine what other famous authors might change if they had the chance:

handling of the HUD money in a separate interview with JFP editors March 31. “I think a lot of the issue is the city’s view of how funds should be expended, and HUD’s view of how funds should be expended,� said Johnson, who added that some of the funds in question were spent during the Frank Melton administration, between 2005 and 2009. Johnson said the city encountered a “glitch� with a program it implemented to match up to $20,000 for improving business facades, but did not comply with HUD rules. Besides, Johnson said, the grants were reimbursements that the city council

Herman Melville: “I should’ve had

William Golding: “I could have

Ahab kill that damn leviathan at the end of ‘Moby Dick,’ instead of going down in the deep and making it a masterpiece of American literature that people pretend to read.�

written ‘Lord of the Flies’ bleaker than it was. I mean, I dropped a rock on that insufferable Piggy’s head, but I was all caught up in the fear and uncertainty we were all feeling back then. Jack was a tool, though.�

Eudora Welty: “It should have

been ‘The Optimist’s Son,’ but the publisher suggested I change the gender at the last minute to make a better title.�

J.D. Salinger: “I wish I would have

Jordan Belfort: “Change any-

never published that book, if you really want to know the truth.�

thing? Have you read ‘The Wolf of Wall Street?’�

Zadie Smith: “I wouldn’t change

anything. I love all of my essays just the way they are. If I have any regrets it’s that I’m not in the New Yorker enough.�


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permanent reduction by the amount owed, Priester said. “(T)he city’s economic downturn of past years have grossly affected the city of Jackson by reducing the amount of financial resources available to the city to provide the basic municipal services to its citizens,� Mayor Lumumba wrote in his letter to HUD officials. Priester characterizes the episode as a need for the next mayor to pay closer atten-

tion to detail. Johnson countered to say his administration handled approximately $100 million in HUD grants during his three terms as Jackson mayor. Stamps maintains that the $1.9 million the city is paying is not insignificant. “Either you do it right, or you do it wrong,� Stamps said. “When handling public funds, there’s zero margin for error.� Comment at Email R.L. Nave at

Crime’s Down—But Do the Candidates Know It? by Haley Ferretti

process. ‌ The fourth would be the prisoner-housing situation. ‌ I wanted a fund that would provide for jail overcrowding. ‌ The fifth thing is the prevention and rehabilitation piece. We need a re-entry program that speaks to helping young men getting into KENYA HUDSON/FILE PHOTO


ow that we’re in the throes of another city election, it should come as no surprise that Jackson crime has been a major subject of conversation in debates and forums. In talking about their solutions about crime, many of the mayoral candidates have expressed strong views that crime is a major problem. But how bad is it? Jackson Police Department officials and official city crime statistics show that the city’s total local crime rate has significantly decreased in the last three years. “All precincts are down, not just Precinct 1,â€? JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance said. Vance points to Precinct 3 in northwest Jackson, which over the past three years has reported low numbers. Still, the precinct continues to lead the city in crime reduction even thought the precinct has seen lower crime numbers for the last four or five years. When the JFP editorial board asked State Sen. John Horhn about his DUI last year, he turned the topic to his experience as a victim of both violent and property crime. In an interview with the JFP, Horhn said he has plans for both fighting crime and crime prevention. He said he wants to work to figure out if more jail space is needed, put a stop to criminals getting out of jail due to overcrowding, developing more after-school programs and incentivize officers with pay raises. “I had a five-point plan that I introduced into the Legislature this year. ‌ First thing is a comprehensive plan, like the RAND Corporation to come in and do a complete assessment of what’s going on with crime in Jackson and make recommendations that we can follow. “The second thing I had—and I’ve backed off of this a little bit—was a multijurisdictional strike force that would involve federal state and local officials led by JPD. Number three would be a backlog removal

JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance says crime in all precincts is done in the last three years.

that ‌ vicious cycle. What about assisting employers and incentivizing them through a matching grant program to cover half of the wages that their going to pay that ex-offender until he gets on his feet for a certain amount of time?â€? Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester Jr., who represents Precinct 3, has been outspoken about the need for more “predictiveâ€? policing—beyond the crime patterns JPD’s current COMSTAT system projects weekly. He says that Jackson needs to follow the lead of many cities that are using more advanced business analysis tools to help monitor crime. Priester was careful to say that he is not interested in neighborhood or racial profiling, however. He is also a proponent of creating jobs and after-school programs for crime prevention. “One of the great things about these new tools is that they allow for transparency

and accountability in ways that haven’t been done before,â€? Priester said. â€œâ€Ś I’m saying that we’re not doing a good enough job in part because there are more advanced technologies available.â€? Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber talked about his vision for replicating and broadening the work community members in his ward have done to combat crime in Ward 6 and an area of Ward 7 near Terry Road. “When I first got on council, my ward and specifically the precinct was experiencing anywhere from 50 to 56 house burglaries a week—a week,â€? Yarber said. “We have now taken that down to about 10 to 12 a week, and you can go and track that. “ Margaret Barrett-Simon, who represents Ward 7, feels strongly that building more jail space is the last thing that Jackson needs. She wants to see more investment in after-school programs to prevent crime. “You can pay now or pay later,â€? Barrett Simon said. “Every one of these kids that’s falling through the cracks is going to end up incarcerated, and I believe that a lot of these kids that are in trouble are in trouble because they’re bored.â€? Vance explained that some of the solutions candidates are talking about are already in the works. He said JPD has been able to chip away at the numbers in all precincts over the last several years through a combination of visibility and quick response time, particularly in South Jackson’s Precinct 1 as well as Precinct 3. “You look at the big numbers,â€? Vance said. “You go to each precinct, and you say, ‘OK, what’s the worst crime in that particular precinct? Vance continued: “Then you look at strategies on how to attack that number, because if you attack that number, that means the rest of your crime is going to go down.â€? Comment at

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approved. “There was ample opportunity for sunshine to come through the process,� Johnson said. Under the agreement the council and Lumumba made with HUD, Jackson will pay about $646,650 each year from its general fund over the next three fiscal years until the debt is settled; the city council could have had the money deducted from next year’s allocation, but doing so would result in a


TALK | city

How to Save a Zoo by R.L. Nave



e’Keither Stamps picked the zoo tation back and make a progress report to support the Jackson community. over the circus—of the Jackson the AZA in six months and, then again in Obtaining accreditation was a big deal mayor’s race. in part because AZA-accredited More to the point, he said zoos have exchange programs for staying on the Jackson City Counanimals, for breeding or healthcil to work out problems facing the care-related reasons, where memJackson Zoo was the reason he deber zoos trade out animals for peclined to enter the fray to become riods of time. the next Jackson mayor. A number of the Jackson Zoo’s “When we came into office in 750-plus animals are on loan from July, we had a financially struggling other zoos or “visiting” for the zoo that was on the verge of losing purpose of mating. If the zoo lost accreditation,” said Stamps, who its accreditation, it would have to represents Ward 4. contact all its affiliated partners Last fall, the national Assoand let them know. ciation of Zoos and Aquariums But the bigger problem for the denied the zoo’s request for reaczoo is dwindling attendance numWard 4 Councilman De’Keither Stamps calls the creditation on the grounds that the bers that do not match up with Jackson Zoo’s retention of its accreditation a Lumumba/ zoo was not financially stable. The its spending on exhibits and staff. Tillman win, referring to late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba city and Jackson and Hinds CounTop zoo officials have pointed out and interim Mayor Charles Tillman. ty leadership pledged to help come that the park has spent $12 milup with the needed funds into the lion on new exhibits in the past zoo’s budget, but the zoo remained 10 years, but has experienced on shaky footing. one year. The accreditation is good until stagnant visitor numbers. That all changed last week with the 2016, zoo officials said. “Everyone can work together, and announcement that the AZA reversed Zoo association officials also pledged to through visiting the zoo, attending events, and that decision. The zoo will get its accredi- continue improving the zoo and to actively participating in programs, I know the Jackson



Zoo will continue to make a turnaround,” said Eric Stracener, president of the zoo’s board of directors, through a statement. Stamps sees an opportunity with the passage of the local-option sales tax referendum, which would give the city between $12 million and $15 million for street upgrades. While the money could not be spent on the zoo itself, Stamps wants to improve the corridors going into the zoo. “I want to change Capitol Street so that you see some lions and tigers and bears,” Stamps said. In addition, he envisions installing green spaces in some of the vacant lots that can be seen from Capitol and other thoroughfares that “would change the whole demeanor of the zoo. In addition, zoo officials said the park would implement a financial plan that consultant Rick Biddle of Shultz and Williams developed. Stamps also wants to work with the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau to better market the zoo to Jacksonians. “When you have an attraction, you have to present it properly,” he said. Comment at Email R.L. Nave at


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April 2 - 8, 2014

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Dear Friends, I hope you’re as excited as I am for what our grassroots movement can accomplish for the Citizens of Jackson in the next three years. The People’s Platform is not just a catchy phrase or vision, it is a tangible plan that has already proven to bring positive change to our great city. Within the principles of The People’s Platform, we fundamentally believe that if we give the people the right information and an opportunity to make a decision, they will make the best decision. The 91% passage rate of the local sales option referendum is a genuine reflection of this philosophy.

Please VOTE on April 8 for Chokwe Antar Lumumba and the People’s Platform

Please send me a message on Facebook at the “Elect Chokwe Lumumba” page, email me at, or call The People’s Campaign headquarters at 601.362.0029 if you want to get involved. If you have a specific interest, such as door-toWe all have the power to change door canvassing, or making calls -- let us know. Jackson if we work together to get it Join the People’s Movement and voldone -- and that belief is at the core unteer today! of our campaign. For we are “One City. One Aim. One Destiny”. Being entrusted as a leader is a sacred responsiBut for the most part, the direction our bility. Leading means understanding that when work takes will be completely in your you hold office, you hold it to the best of your hands -- together, we can and will ability for the people, not for the promise of 4 make Jackson rise and reach more years. Jackson doesn’t need a politician. its potential as the capital city Jackson needs an Advocate. of Mississippi. We need your help to make that a reality.

Thanks, Atty. Chokwe Antar Lumumba



TALK | justice

Court Reverses Byrom Death-Penalty Conviction by Ronni Mott

April 2 - 8, 2014


The Road to the Row Court records reveal that Byrom’s

could use Edward Jr.’s letters to impeach him during cross-examination, but Circuit COURTESY MDOC


ichelle Byrom, 57, has been on death row awaiting execution for the past 14 years. By Monday, March 31, she had nearly exhausted her options. Then, in a surprising decision, the nine justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled to reverse her sentence of death. Byrom, 57, has been on death row awaiting execution for the past 14 years. In the court’s unanimous decision, Justice Josiah Coleman wrote: “The relief afforded herein is extraordinary and extremely rare in the context of a petition for leave to pursue post-conviction relief.” The court also ordered a new trial with a new judge. “This is an astonishing result—wonderful, delightful, so happy about it,” said Warren Yoder, executive director of the Public Policy Center of Mississippi, who had volunteered to publicize the case. Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, who heard Byrom’s previous appeals during his tenure on the bench and wrote a piece for the Jackson Free Press in her support last week, emphasized the unusual nature of the decision. “The whole decision was surprising, from the fact that it was handed down on a Monday, which is very unusual for the court in a non-emergency manner, to the recusal of the trial judge, which is also fairly unusual, through the relief that they granted,” Diaz told the Jackson Free Press. “To reverse the conviction and send it back for a new trial at this stage, the whole scope and breadth of the decision is really surprising at this point. It’s not something that’s normally done by the court.” In her original trial in Tishomingo County, Byrom was convicted in an alleged murder-for-hire plot in the 1999 death of her husband, Edward Byrom Sr. Sentenced to die by lethal injection, Byrom appealed her case to the Mississippi Supreme Court three times, once on direct appeal and twice more in postconviction appeals. Each time, the court upheld the conviction. “People don’t realize it: not only just in death-penalty cases, but in criminal cases overall, it’s very rare to get a reversal,” Diaz said. “… I would say well over 90 percent are affirmed in all aspects, so this is really pretty remarkable.” When the U.S. Supreme Court declined Feb. 24 to hear the case, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood requested a March 27 execution date. That day, Byrom’s attorney, David Calder of Oxford, Miss., received a slim ray of hope when the state court denied Hood’s request.

The Mississippi State Supreme Court handed down two big decisions in separate death-penalty cases this week. In the case of Charles Ray Crawford (left), the court refused to set an execution date, and it overturned the murder conviction of Michelle Byrom (right) and ordered a new trial with a new judge.

original attorneys, who were trying their first capital case, made numerous errors and questionable decisions that ultimately led Byrom to death row. In letters to his mother, Byrom’s son, Edward Byrom Jr., detailed killing his father after Edward Byrom Sr. verbally berated and slapped him around. “As I sat on my bed, tears of rage flowing, remembering my childhood, my anger kept building and building, and I went to my car, got the 9mm, and walked to his room, peeked in, and he was asleep,” Edward Jr. wrote. “I walked about 2 steps in the door, and screamed, and shut my eyes, when I heard him move, I started firing.” Under questioning from Tishomingo County Sheriff David Smith, Edward Jr. made up “a bullsh*t story after another, trying to save my own ass,” he wrote. “… I was so scared, confused, and high, I just started spitting the first thought out, which turned in to this big conspiracy thing, for money, which was all BS.” Based on Edward Jr.’s “bullsh*t story,” the sheriff arrested him, his best friend Joey Gillis and Michelle Byrom as co-conspirators. Allegedly, Michelle Byrom was the conspiracy’s mastermind, hiring Gillis to murder her husband and planning to pay him from the proceeds of Edward Byrom Sr.’s life insurance policy. Gillis was the alleged killer, and Edward Jr. allegedly helped Gillis dispose of the murder weapon, a World War II-era 9mm Luger pistol. Prosecutor Arch Bullard sought to prove that theory of the case in court. Bullard made a deal with Edward Jr. in exchange for his testimony against his mother. Michelle Byrom’s lawyers believed they

Court judge Thomas Gardner would not allow the jury to see the letters. Instead, he admonished the defense for not revealing them to the prosecution earlier. Although Edward Jr.’s letters may have been a surprise to Bullard, the written confessions were not a surprise to Gardner. Byrom’s son had confessed to W. Criss Lott, a court-appointed forensic psychologist. Lott did not include the confession in his report to the court, but he did tell Gardner, who withheld it from the defense and the jury. “I contacted the presiding Judge and asked him what I should do in the hypothetical situation where I had received specific information about the facts and details of a crime during the course of a forensic evaluation for mental competency and sanity,” Lott said in a Feb. 3 affidavit. “The Judge told me I should tell him what I knew and so I told him about Edward Byrom Jr.’s confession to me that he had killed his father.” Without Edward Jr.’s confessions, the jury only heard him accuse his mother of the conspiracy. They returned a guilty verdict. Michelle Byrom’s attorneys then waived her right to have a jury hear the sentencing phase of the trial, and they failed to call any witnesses to corroborate Byrom’s claims of domestic and sexual abuse or the resulting mental illness, although several such witnesses were available. Gardner sentenced her to death. Edward Jr. and Gillis both served time for the alleged conspiracy and are now free men. In a 2001 interview with The Daily Corinthian, Bullard said Gillis was not the

shooter, an admission he now denies. “We are pleased that the Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Michelle Byrom’s request for relief from her death sentence,” Calder said in a statement. “This was a team effort on the part of the attorneys currently representing Ms. Byrom, and we believe that the Court reached a just and fair result in light of the facts presented in this case. We are pleased that Ms. Byrom will now have the opportunity to have a new trial with effective legal representation, and that she will be given the chance to prove that she is not guilty of committing ‘murder for hire.’” The Path Ahead National media attention drew intense focus to the case after the Jackson Free Press broke the story March 19. Outraged citizens began a call-in campaign the governor’s office and volunteered to work on Byrom’s behalf. “It went viral very quickly, once people started paying attention,” Yoder said. “It went down to the very last minute, which was a little scary, but I’m delighted with the result.” Hood released a statement saying that he has asked the court to specify its reasons for the reversal. The court also denied Hood an execution date for Charles Ray Crawford, whose case is on appeal as well. Byrom’s new trial date has not been set. Saying that this was “not your typical case,” Diaz indicated that Byrom’s story could still hold a few surprises. “The fairy-tale ending would be that the prosecutor would review the case and realize that they didn’t have the evidence and drop all charges. The Hollywood ending would be to go back for a retrial and (Byrom) be found not guilty—to have a jury say that she’s not guilty,” Diaz said. “In reality, anytime someone is facing criminal jeopardy, and especially in this case, potentially another death-penalty trial, it’s in everybody’s best interest to work that out if they can. … You can’t gamble with somebody’s life. In a trial setting, there’s so many uncertainties. … If you can strike a deal where everybody goes home, that’s a win.” Oxford lawyer Tom Freeland has written extensively about Byrom’s ineffective counsel on his blog, NMissCommentor. Freeland expressed amazement Monday at the 11th-hour reversal. “This is extraordinary and unprecedented to my knowledge,” he wrote, adding, “Next time someone says that a death sentence is fine because of all the judges who looked at it, remember Michelle Byrom.” Read all JFP stories on Michelle Byrom at

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The Importance of Context by Ronni Mott


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for a timely article rather than a complete one. It is an avoidable problem.â€? Reporters must thoroughly research their stories, he continues, and in the interest of informing their readers, they should provide links and other sources available online. That’s important, “not simply because readers and viewers demand it, but because ‌ it makes our work a clearly superior product.â€? Boom. If a media outlet wants to increase readership, isn’t providing a better mousetrap the way to go? News consumers want interesting, engaging stories. But journalists—and their editors—have a responsibility beyond providing sophomoric entertainment. “Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context,â€? the Pew Journalism Project writes on its website. “Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can–and must–pursue it in a practical sense.â€? Metro dailies like The Clarion-Ledger often neglect to place important stories in context, “Journalism is storytelling which is a grave disservice to its readers. with a purpose. ... In short, it must strive to make the signifistory completely failed to do is provide read- cant interesting and relevant.â€? ers any reason to care. The day after the Ledger published Somewhere around the middle of the Apel’s piece, The Nation magazine also piece, Apel provided statistics: “There have published a story on gender bias. In “A Very been 53 women executed in the United Serious Problem With Very Serious JournalStates since 1900, with only four of those ism,â€? Julia Carrie Wong explored the lack of being in the last 10 years,â€? she wrote. “There women engaged in foreign policy reporting. have been close to 10,000 executions alto- The richly researched piece drew its conclugether in the same amount of time.â€? sions from numerous sources, and provided That’s good information, and it’s im- links to each one. She thoroughly supports portant within the scope of the exploration. her premise: that diversity is fundamental to But Apel stopped there, leaving readers with the debate and to the reporting of it. the impression that, of course, gender bias is “A journalism more aware of the inobvious. Without providing readers any of tersections of race, class and power will be the “whysâ€? for the stats, Apel (and the C-L’s much better equipped to ask the questions editors) turned what could have been a seri- that might not even occur to reporters who ous, informative article into a self-serving bit have never interacted with the state from of inconsequential fluff. a position of weakness—whether that’s as To be fair, Apel isn’t the first journalist a person of color subject to intense police who failed to provide the relevant context, repression or a woman whose access to reand she won’t be the last. After all, adding productive health care is increasingly under the necessary context to a story is time-con- attack,â€? she wrote. suming, painstaking work. Readers may not agree with the premPolitical reporter Sam Stein called his job ise, and certainly, they are free to do further during an election cycle “an unmitigated pro- research and come to their own conclusions. cess of data searches, interview requests, edito- But no one can argue that Wong met the stanrial insights, email exchanges, and ultimately dard of providing “meaningful context.â€? deadline-influenced pieces.â€? Ultimately, journalists and editors Stein’s column, “Fast-Paced Journal- come complete with biases and blind spots. ism’s Neglect of Nuance and Context,â€? But they must demand and do the hard, appears on Harvard University’s “Neiman necessary work of putting their stories into Reportsâ€? website, an outlet devoted to ex- a larger context. Without it, it’s not news; it’s cellence in journalism. The piece addressed just more mindless clutter. online news, primarily, but his conclusion is Ronni Mott first investigated and reportdirectly on point. Lack of context, he wrote, ed the Byrom story, in a story published March “is primarily a function of reporters settling 19. Find it and others at


s part of its coverage of Mississippi’s proposed execution of Michelle Byrom, The Clarion-Ledger’s Therese Apel wrote a puff piece that ostensibly explored whether the United States reserves its harshest punishment mostly for men. Does the criminal-justice system suffer from gender bias? It’s an interesting question to explore. Putting aside the article’s numerous other problems (beginning with its nonsensical headline, “Idea of executing a woman mixed� because, you know, “ideas� are difficult, if not impossible, to “mix�), what the



Big Questions in the Home Stretch by R.L. Nave

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Republican-sponsored bill could high for Jackson. Mayor Chokwe Lumum- controversial language, but instead of agreeclear the way for economic-de- ba’s charm offensive seemed to be working ing to the House’s changes and sending it to velopment projects in Gov. Phil Bryant, the Senate asked downtown Jackson, into negotiate the language. The bill cluding around Farish Street and for also added the phrase “In God We a convention-center hotel. Trust” to the state seal. State Rep. Rita Martinson, Eighteen states have a similar law R-Madison, sponsored House on the books. In an interview with Bill 1358, which expands tourAssociated Press this week, Bryism projects that can participate in ant said he would sign the bill if it a state sales tax incentive program reaches his desk. It remained unclear to include hotels “located within whether either chamber would vote a historic district where the district on the measure before the Jackson is listed in the National Register of Free Press went to press. Watch jfp. Historic Places,” as well as the buildms for updates. ing of hotels with a $10 million or higher price tag. A Deal for Teachers State Rep. Rita Martison, R-Madison, has sponsored Such an incentive package Senate and House conferees came legislation that could be a boon to the capital city. could breathe life into the dormant to an agreement late Monday on Jackson convention-center hotel what turned out to be a surprisingly plan, officials said. The bill is curthorny teacher pay raise proposal. rently in conference and represents hope for early, but his sudden death threw the city’s The conference report, which the the city of Jackson’s legislative agenda. legislative agenda into limbo. House and Senate must agree on, would Walter Zinn, the city’s lobbyist, added On March 25, the Jackson City Coun- give teachers and additional $1,500 starting that the city also secured legislative approval cil voted unanimously to approve a profes- July 1, 2014 and $1,000 starting July 1 of that would give the city an additional two sional-services contract with lobbyist Donna next year. In the third, borrowing from the years worth of bonding authority for the 1- Echols. City officials say the late mayor was Senate proposal, the state would put a meritpercent sales tax, which if projections are ac- working to hire Echols before his passing. based pay system in place for teachers in “A” curate, could draw another $30 million into Zinn, the city’s policy chief, said: “In and “B” schools or any school that improves the city’s coffers. light of the mayor’s passing, it helped having one letter grade in a year. The Legislature will Last weekend, lawmakers agreed to her around,” he told the Jackson Free Press also develop a pay plan for high-performing borrow about $200 million for construction Monday. teachers in “C”, “D” and “F” schools later. projects around the state, including a handEducation leaders such as Nancy ful of organizations based in Jackson. In #msleg We Trust? Loome of The Parents Campaign also reThe Museum of Mississippi History Senate Bill 2681, Mississippi’s version mains worried about a plan to provide and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, which of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, $6,000 scholarships to families of specialbroke ground October 2013, will receive is back before the House and Senate After needs children to use that critics say lack ac$14 million toward construction on the $80 controversy over the proposal has ebbed and countability because the money could go to million project, slated to be completed in flowed, causing several rewrites, the bill is private academy, for-profit virtual school or time for the state’s bicentennial in 2017. back to its original state. other non-public school. In addition, the Museum of Natural The bill met opposition from civil-rights “It does nothing to serve the interests of History in Jackson and the Jackson Zoo, group who said the bill could hark back to children with special needs. It’s still just a bill which recently obtained national reaccredi- Jim Crow by permitting businesses to cite re- to privatize and ‘profitize’ public education,” tation, both got $500,000. ligious beliefs in turning away customers. Loome stated in a letter to supporters. Before the session began, hopes were A House version toned down the most Comment at AMILE WILSON/FILE PHOTO

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We Don’t Need Another Hero, Jackson


am an unapologetic child of the ’80s. Raised in a pretty strict fundamentalist Christian home, I was not allowed to watch many movies. It was a big deal when I was able to watch “Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome� at my aunt’s house. I think I sang “We Don’t Need Another Hero� under my breath for a solid month. Lately, I can’t seem to get that song out of my head as I think about the Jackson race for mayor. In the past, Jackson has fallen for the candidate that campaigned on a platform of saving Jackson from itself, and it didn’t work. Frank Melton was allowed to sell himself as a hero who had a way to save Jackson pretty much all by himself. When I look back at some of the election coverage of that race, it’s almost a campaign for a superhero, not a realistic vision for running a capital city. I was not surprised when his administration was a mess because he had issues coloring inside the lines. He had decided the city was out of control and needed extreme measures to save it. He did things the way he wanted, and we as a city suffered the consequences. Now, as we are faced with the challenge of moving forward after the loss of Mayor Lumumba, I recognize the appeal of being told there is someone who can save us. Yet the truth is, Jackson, we don’t need another hero. We need someone who will engage in listening to citizens and diverse voices and then take all that information, make the tough choices and move us forward. Our next leader needs to use the strengths we have; to build on what is already working while also not being afraid to look at best practices and what is working beyond the city and state boundaries. The next mayor not only needs a realistic approach to crime that shouldn’t make Jackson sound like some lawless Wild West den of death and vice. They should be able to balance new development with the needs for renters and average Jackson residents to not be priced out of their homes and business properties. When it comes to infrastructure, one of our city’s greatest challenges is that we need real plans, not simple claims to make service faster. Jackson, you don’t have to agree with me on who we need to lead our city, but I do challenge you to look closely to ensure that they aren’t selling us a dream of being saved through their sheer awesomeness. We need the reality of hard work toward long-term goals that will set Jackson toward success. It takes all of us to improve Jackson, not just our city government. Tina Turner said it best. “We don’t need another hero, we don’t need to know the way home.�


April 2 - 8, 2014



Why it stinks: It is true that LGBT issues have been in a lot of headlines recently, particularly in Mississippi. Last week, a number of LGBT groups rallied to demand human rights. Earlier this year, a handful of conservative lawmakers tried to sneak through a so-called religious freedom bill that would have turned the clock on civil rights back to Jim Crow times. How can WLOX-TV anchor suggest that the LGBT community take a “gaycation� when Mississippi has yet to recognize the human rights of all of its citizens?

Stop the Death Penalty Now, Mississippi


f you were unsure last week whether Mississippi should immediately declare a moratorium on the death penalty, then now it’s hard to deny the evidence. On Monday, the Mississippi Supreme Court made a highly unusual move in Michelle Byrom’s case: It completely reversed her capitalmurder conviction for allegedly paying a man to murder her abusive husband, it ordered a new trial, and it pointedly said that the same judge could not preside over it. Why? Presumably because the circuit judge in Tishomingo County would not allow several confessions to the murder by her son to go in front of the jury. He even told a psychologist he appointed to examine her and her son to not tell anyone that the son confessed to the murder. That is bad enough, alongside so many questionable legal occurrences (or non-occurrences) in Byrom’s case. And both judges and attorneys are human, and make mistakes and worse. But here’s the real kicker—and the reason we must stop executions in our state—Byrom got within a week of the execution date that Attorney General Jim Hood had requested before the court overturned her whole conviction. Meantime, Byrom has been on death row for a decade. After being sexually and physically abused by her husband. And while confessions existed that might exonerate her—confessions shielded from the jury by the circuit judge. Her status as a convicted killer raised very few ques-

tions along the way and over years, even with the extremely obvious questions around it. She might have died this week had media, led by Ronni Mott in the JFP on March 19 had not created a firestorm around the case. But it doesn’t happen in every case. The criminal-justice system is horribly, disgustingly broken. We know this already from three men on death row in Mississippi that DNA has already exonerated before state employees could kill them. Ask yourself: How many innocent people have already died in Mississippi? And might it happen to you or someone you love? In 2011, Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty because, as Gov. Pat Quinn rightfully noted, the system is “inherently flawed.� Even years before, the state declared a moratorium on using the death penalty after Northwestern University journalism students investigated and proved that Anthony Porter, on Illinois death row for 17 years for a double murder, was not guilty. They proved that the state’s only eye witness was “threatened, harassed, and intimidated� in a 17-hour police interrogation. Bottom line: Police want to get their (wo)man, prosecutors want to win, and judges have their own agendas, often to get re-elected. We simply cannot trust this system to decide who should live or die. Mississippi’s death penalty must end. The people must demand it and right away.

Email letters and opinion to, fax to 601-510-9019 or mail to 125 South Congress St., Suite 1324, Jackson, Mississippi 39201. Include daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, as well as factchecked.


Do It for Jackson

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here’s nothing anyone can do to save Jackson.” “I’m not voting anyway. It’s too many of them.” “There’s nothing to do in Jackson.” “If I want to go to a nice restaurant, I have to leave Jackson to do it.” While I do chuckle at these statements, I hear them often, and it is alarming, to say the least. So, when an election as crucial as this mayoral race happens, those of us who are fighting for Jackson daily (regardless of who sits in a public chair), tend to get a bit territorial and uneasy about statements like those above. Let us spit the actual factual here. The mayor is indeed the leader of this city’s government system. Therefore, it is important that whoever takes the seat following Mayor Lumumba is equipped with non-conventional methods of thinking. Sure, he or she will have to possess a plan. That goes without saying. We’ve heard plans before. We got on board with plans we thought would work. Plans don’t do anything but take up good time in meetings. A plan without action is simply a conversation on paper. Additionally, it’s the camps behind these people who come up with these plans, in some cases. Therefore, the candidate becomes the front person, following the lead of a man/woman we don’t see. Is that leadership? These plans also seemingly just trickle down from one candidate to the next. They simply add something here and there and call it “my plan.” I’m not impressed by that. I’m interested in seeing something that hasn’t been done before. I’m interested in seeing a plan that’s outside the box. Everyone claims to want to see Jackson thrive and become a more suitable reflection of the Jackson of old, so then, how can we see that happen if we repeat the steps that didn’t work previously. Is this not simply common sense? Having said all of that, it’s important that we elect someone who recognizes that it’ll take knowledge, accessibility, planning, originality and transparency, but most importantly, it will take the people. There is nothing anyone can do in that office without the help of the constituents. We have to show ownership for our hometown. We have to love it enough to

hold our elected officials accountable. We have to demand the same diehard respect that our neighboring cities do. We have to take a stand for ourselves. It does us very little good to send the right person into office and still take all our dollars outside Jackson. We have to understand that when we do that, we build up the other cities around us while suppressing the growth Jackson stands to explore. We do a lot of yapping around here about what’s wrong with Jackson. We allow others to do it. We teach it to our children as well. Look, Jackson is now and always will be about us. We are the ones who set the narrative. Yes, I hear all about how the media do that. Well, is anyone holding the media accountable for their reporting? Whose job is that? We have to stop giving ground and begin to stand firm on our belief that Jackson will win. If we do that, and we vote for the person who unselfishly agrees, then together we can all see Jackson be great. That will never happen if our mindset continues to spew negativity about where we are. It is some people’s perception that life is so much better once you leave Jackson. Well, why do they keep coming back? Why do they work here and live somewhere else? If our city is so worthless and full of “thugs,” then why is it so necessary to come here? It’s necessary because all is not lost. Sure, we have an opportunity now to set the course for a new Jackson by selecting a mayoral candidate who can help this city get there. But, I beg you; stop believing that any one person can do this, even the mayor. Please don’t be fooled by that mentality. It has always taken a village, and no matter who wins the next term as mayor, it will be no different. No matter what the platform reads, it’s simply an outline, an idea. It will take complete dedication and determination from the people of this city to see any plan work. Every town that has turned itself around has done so with a strong head and a body of people who believed and put their feet to the ground to save their city. Jackson must do the same. Make a commitment to the city and to the next mayor, even if your choice doesn’t win. That should not be hard if we all do it for Jackson. Funmi “Queen” Franklin is a word lover, poet and advocate for sisterhood.

We have to stop giving ground and begin to stand firm on our belief that Jackson will win.

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Meet Your Next Mayor


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by Haley Ferretti and R.L. Nave

April 2 - 8, 2014



or the second time in less than a year, Jackson voters will head to the polls April 8 to choose a new leader for our city. It is a sobering task. Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who barely edged then-incumbent Harvey Johnson Jr. to force a runoff with a young well-known businessman Jonathan Lee, died unexpectedly in late February. Lumumba passed away Feb. 25 at St. Dominic’s Hospital. Jackson City Councilman Charles Tillman, of Ward 5, was immediately sworn in as acting mayor. After maintaining relative silence until after Lumumba’s funeral, 15 individuals filed petitions to replace. That list was ultimately whittled down to 13 candidates. They are young and old, newcomers and political veterans, African American and white, male and female, and represent all parts of the city. Many of the candidates have sought public office in the past or are current officeholders. At least nine people on the ballot campaigned for city office before. Four currently hold political office. One was been mayor three times. Three are women. Three candidates are under age 40.

Three of the men in the race are named after their fathers. A handful have previously faced each other in a Jackson mayor’s race. Even the 13 individuals who want to replace the late mayor understand that they could never completely fill Lumumba’s shoes. About all they’re promising is to do what they can to pick up Lumumba’s mantle of unity, fair treatment and a new approach to stimulating Jackson’s economy. Selecting a new mayor from such a large pool in a short amount of time is daunting, but Jackson-area organizations are working to introduce folks to as many of the candidates as possible. Takin’ It to the People Thus far, there have been four official mayoral forums in which the candidates fielded questions on major issues concerning the city of Jackson, including the recent approval of the 1 percent sales tax, Farish Street redevelopment, crime reduction, educational advancement, economic development, abandoned property and the metro transit system, JATRAN.

Many of the candidates have also appeared before newspaper editorial boards, including the Jackson Free Press. Visit to see all our videos. The list includes: Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the late mayor’s son and law partner. Former Jackson Public Schools principal and Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber, Attorney and Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester Jr., Former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. Margaret Barrett-Simon, a 29-year veteran of the Jackson city council and representative of Ward 7 State Sen. John Horhn, an actor who ran the state’s film commission. Regina Quinn, an attorney who fared better than most people expected in the last mayor’s election. Any one of these weather-worn vets could slide into the office. Or will the next mayor be one of the feisty upstarts such as John E. Reed, Rodrick Walker, Pastor Francis P. Smith, Albert Wilson or Gwendolyn Ward Chapman? We sent them questionnaires and will post their answers if and when they send them at We’ll have a better picture on April 8 when voters head to the polls.

Candidates You May Not Know

Francis Smith Pastor Francis Smith, 51, grew up in Indianapolis, Ind., but has lived in Jackson since 2002. He is currently the pastor for Total Praise and Worship Church. Smith said that his characteristics of “integrity, ability, experience, and honesty” made him decide that he should run for mayor. His major concerns are education, crime and infrastructure. He said in his interview that he believes education is the key factor in remedying many of Jackson’s problems.

John E. Reed John E. Reed, 62, was born in Fayette, Miss., but has lived in Jackson for more than 40 years. He is a retiree from Delphi Packard Electric and is running for mayor so that he can continue plans that late Mayor Lumumba began, which he says means fixing Jackson streets and water systems, reducing crime and giving more recreation to youth. “My concerns are the same concerns of all the Jackson citizens,” Reed said. “… The concern that I have is to hear what everyone has to say. I can work with people. I can get along with people. I understand their concerns.” Kenneth A. Swarts Kenneth A. Swarts, 57, who was born in Germany but currently lives in Jackson, works as a Pizza Hut delivery driver. Swarts said that he decided to run for mayor because he believes that his job working with the public has prepared him to make decisions for it. He cited increasing tourism, expanding businesses and fixing Jackson streets as his main concerns. He also said that he plans to keep his job as a delivery driver if he wins the election. “Then, I’ll have two jobs that I love,” said Swarts. Rodrick “Rod” Walker Rodrick “Rod” Walker is from Jackson and works as a contractor, but he finds his current job to be “disrespectful and involved in nepotism.” Walker says that he decided to run for mayor because he finds it difficult to

“maneuver through the city with no one being accountable.” Walker stated that he wants to provide a direct line between local college graduates and employment opportunities, but he declined to speak further about his main concerns. “That’s all I can reveal to you today,” Walker said. “I will see you April 4th (at the WAPT mayoral debate), and they better be ready.” Gwendolyn Ward Osborne Chapman Gwendolyn Ward Osborne Chapman, who works as a substitute teacher, is also in the running for mayor but could not be reached for an interview due to nonworking telephone numbers. However, she was present at the mayoral forum Wednesday, March 26, at the Masonic Temple cafeteria where she talked about how if she becomes mayor she wants to return Jackson to a “working order.” Chapman also made an appearance the next day at the WLBT mayoral forum, but organizers told her that she was not listed to participate.

Gwendolyn Ward Osborne Chapman

Tonya Brooks and Tammie Patterson, who were originally listed as municipal candidates, were removed from the running due to conflicts with the signature requirements needed to qualify. Patterson talked to the Jackson Free Press about the matter, expressing confusion. She explained that the reasoning behind her name being cast out was due to many of her signatures being from poor or homeless citizens. “Those who experience poverty—that’s who I’m fighting for,” Patterson said. 17 Written answers will be posted at

Francis P. Smith

John E. Reed

Kenneth A. Swarts



Albert Wilson Albert Wilson, 48, grew up in Jackson and said he felt obligated to enter the mayor’s race because he feels that many issues relating to business are not being addressed. Wilson has a background as a business owner and is the founder and executive director of Genesis and Light Center, a nonprofit community-based organization geared toward addressing obstacles confronting at-risk youth and families in Jackson. He also serves as a motivational speaker and mentor at churches and local schools. Wilson explained that his platform is comprised of three major points: boosting the economy, furthering the development of Jackson citizens and marketing businesses that already exist in Jackson. “What qualifies me to run for mayor is the experience and knowledge I have gained from running a successful business,” Wilson said. “Not only have I written budgets but implemented them, done payroll, developed diversified funding sources,—not just depend on citizens’ taxes and fees—created jobs and services, completed reports, written grants, managed funds and marketed a business.”

Smith participated in the first two mayoral forums. When he made an appearance at the third mayoral forum, located at Rose E. McCoy Auditorium at Jackson State University, organizers told him that he was not listed to participate alongside the seven candidates commonly considered the top seven contenders. Smith said he has filed a complaint with the FCC about WLBT’s decision to remove him from the forum. “WLBT denied me the rights to be a part of that debate,” Smith said. “I am qualified as a candidate to run for mayor, and I also meet the qualifications of their criteria. … I never had contact with WLBT. … I’m not just doing this for Francis Smith—I’m doing it for the other candidates who were not even involved in this debate. I think it has to be fair across the board.” TRIP BURNS


s Election Day draws near to replace late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, many of the official mayoral candidates are doing their best to draw in more supporters, but what about the lesserknown candidates? The number of mayoral candidates finally topped out at 13, with many people are wondering who exactly these other candidates are and the reasons behind their candidacy. Jackson Free Press held a series of phone interviews over the phone with these candidates, and sent them candidate questionnaires.


by Haley Ferretti

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Mayoral Election 2014 IURPSDJH

Margaret Barrett-Simon Age: 69 Experience: 29-year member of the Jackson City Council representing Ward 7 Family: Dr. Al Simon (husband); five daughters: Allison Barrett Manning, Ellen Barrett Simon, Susan Margaret Barrett, Leighton Barrett Strong and Kathryn Meloan Barrett.



Chokwe Antar Lumumba Age: 31 Experience: Freelon, Lumumba & Associates, managing partner Family: Ebony (wife); Alake (daughter)

little over a year ago, when thenCouncilman Chokwe Lumumba decided to run for mayor of Jackson, he and some of his close advisers floated the idea of Lumumba’s son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, running to succeed him on the council. Chokwe Antar passed on the chance. “At that time, my view was that we had leadership in place that could sustain things, in my father,” he told the Jackson Free Press editorial board. Now a year later, in the wake of his father’s sudden death, Chokwe Antar said he believes he is the best person to move forward the principles that his father stood for despite what he calls the sacrifices to his young family, which now includes a newborn daughter. Those principles include continuing People’s Assemblies, community-based meetings that offer up ideas and solutions to government officials, as a key part of the governing process and continuing the work his father’s administration began on creating a different kind of economy that emphasized community ownership of small businesses. Antar, as friends call him to differentiate between his father and himself, grew up in northwest Jackson, attending St. Joseph’s for middle school, Murrah and, ultimately, graduated from Callaway High School. He attended Tuske-

moving along projects such as renovations of the King Edward Hotel, Metrocenter, and JATRAN headquarters, repairs on Fortification and Capitol Street, approval and building of the Jackson Convention Complex, and luring Whole Foods and the Westin Hotel. She seems dismissive of the argument that African Americans, who make up the overwhelming majority of the city’s populace, would shun her candidacy because she’s white. Barrett-Simon considers Ward 7 a racially diverse “swing ward” that she has represented since Jackson switched from a commission form of government to its current council system. If elected, Barrett-Simon says she would strengthen the city’s planning department; after all, a planning dispute over a proposed rendering plant drew her into politics in the 1980s. “I’ve had every job conceivable on that council. There’s not much about city government I don’t know. I’ve worked with five mayors with five very different personalities, five different management styles,” Barrett-Simon told the Jackson Free Press. — R.L. Nave

gee University in Alabama and Thurgood Marshall Law School in Houston before joining Freelon & Associates as the firm’s managing partner, responsible for day-today operations. He and his wife, Ebony, gave birth to a daughter, Alakè Maryama Lumumba, on March 18, 2014. He lives in northeast Jackson. In public appearances, Antar talks of working on big cases, such as the clemency petition for the Scott Sisters, alongside his father, and helping craft the messaging during his father’s successful 2013 mayoral campaign. He also said he was a close adviser of his father’s when he served on the city council, his campaign for mayor and during his seven months in office. “I admired my father most, but I also disagreed with my father at times,” he said, pointing to a disagreement over a development near Lake Hico that the senior Lumumba supported for the possibility of creation of jobs, but that Antar and the People’s Assembly rejected. Antar also said that he might look to shake up city hall and consider rolling back a few of the appointments his father made and work on implementing a citizens review board even though he has not consulted with the police union. “We’re going to fight crime, but we want to responsible in how we do that,” he said. — R.L. Nave 19



was busy” and “Why not?” are the two top reasons Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, a 29-year veteran of the council and mother of five, gave the Jackson Free Press for entering the mayor’s race for the first time since joining the council in 1985. As a councilwoman, Barrett-Simon has been in the middle of every one of the city’s successes and failures. She counts the lagging redevelopment of the Farish Street entertainment district among her top regrets. “We thought we had it right on more than one occasion. If I could name my greatest disappointment, that would be it. And I certainly don’t take responsibility for all that has gone on—how many mayors have we gone through? We just haven’t gotten it right yet,” she said. However, she says her Ward 7, which cuts diagonally across the city and includes Fondren, Belhaven and downtown toward parts of southeast Jackson, is home to the majority of economic development that is taking place in Jackson. Barrett-Simon takes partial credit for



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During high school, I became well known among my peers because of my achievements on the basketball court, on the softball field, and in the classroom. I was the first female athlete from Madison Central chosen to play on the Mississippi All-Star basketball team. Disappointment struck my senior year. During a team practice, I injured my ACL and could not play in the All-Star game. What could have been a traumatic moment instead made me more determined to pursue medicine. Over the years, I have learned so much. Many have asked if I ever felt like giving up. Sure! Perhaps I felt that way after becoming pregnant my senior year

Doctor Amanda Rice and Patient

in college. Or possibly after losing my aunt—my best friend— to breast cancer when she was only 35. Or even while juggling being a medical student, a wife, and a mother of 3 children. However the words of my father echoed in my mind, “make no excuses because anything worth having takes hard work.” My life is not perfect, but it does serve a purpose. I want my life to serve as an example for other young people. As a practicing physician at Quinn Healthcare, I want to spread awareness to our community to help educate others on diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. I want to encourage people to live healthy and provide helpful avenues for them such as the walking program held every Saturday morning at Parham Bridges Park. I want to encourage youth to have yearly physicals, value their education, and realize that achieving their dream requires determination and hard work. From the granddaughter of a housekeeper and a pastor, to the wife of Awia, and mother to Jalin, Jasmine, and Jasleen, I hope my journey will encourage others to strive for their dreams and focus on their spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

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t 5 years old, my call was clear. I experienced illness and death for the first time when my 11 yearold sister passed. It was at that moment I told my parents that I wanted to be a doctor. As a young African American female, attending elementary in West Jackson, the odds did not seem to be in my favor. My parents always instilled values and trained me to believe that “I can do all things through Christ.” Our middle class family moved from Jackson to Ridgeland during my 7th grade year, which was a difficult adjustment. Playing basketball and being active in church helped keep me focused. Singing and worshipping in a church full of my family taught me so many valuable lessons.


Mayoral Election 2014 TRIP BURNS


John Horhn Age: 59 Experience: Director, Mississippi Film Commission; Democratic Mississippi state senator Family: Gail (wife)

M able!

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ississippi Sen. John Horhn officially announced his candidacy for Jackson mayor at a press conference on the morning of Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at Cade’s Courtyard on Mayes Street. Horhn ran for mayor once before in 2009. Horhn grew up in Jackson and has served in the state Senate since 1993. In an interview with the JFP editorial board, Horhn elaborated on how his experience as a senator will translate into an executive position, such as mayor. “I’m not just a legislator. I’m in business. I do business development consulting and affordable housing as well as health care, but I also have a wealth of experience that I came into the Legislature with,” he said. Horhn said that his previous work experience before Senate has helped prepare him to work in an executive position. A few of his jobs included working as a developer for high-school dropouts, running a cultural arts coalition, putting together cultural programs for African American Mississippians, working as a program manager for the Mississippi Arts Commission, working as the film commissioner for the state, and working as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Federal and State Programs. The senator also talked about the recent attention he has been getting for being a victim of armed robbery in his neighborhood and his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. The armed robbery has strengthened Horhn’s drive to combat the city’s crime, while the arrest taught him a valuable lesson.

“It’s a regrettable situation,” said Horhn of his arrest. “… I’ve found it to be transformative. Number one, the response to it was eye-opening in a lot of ways. … In the course of it all, this has a been a blessing to me. … I have a better sense of who my friends are and a sense that in the blink of an eye life can change for you.” During his interview, Horhn said that although he didn’t agree with all late Mayor Lumumba’s appointments, he wants to continue to keep things moving forward for Jackson through “finding the best possible person” to run city programs. Horhn also talked about how he wanted to emphasize better customer service in various agencies that operate the city as well as the need for the development of a master spending plan for repairing city streets. “I think we have to change the culture of the city to the extent that we are more responsive to the customer in a timely, accurate and efficient fashion,” Horhn said. “My attitude is to get things done and get them done now.” Horhn said that he wants to be Jackson’s next mayor because he sees the position of mayor as a way for him to contribute to moving Jackson forward to being a place where people want to come to live, play and work. “Some people see it as a demotion in some ways … but this is the capital city, and that makes it different,” Horhn said. “It’s the largest city. It’s the most urban, nice area of the state that we have. So, for me, I view it as a promotion, and the reason I’m doing it is because I love this city.” — Haley Ferretti


Mayoral Election 2014

Melvin Priester Jr. Age: 35 Experience: Attorney, Priester Law Firm Single

while maintaining older businesses that have “weathered the storm.” Priester wants to continue supporting small businesses but says that it’s time to start “getting things done and fixed” by pushing for more use of technology. “We can’t be pencil-and-paper people anymore…,” Priester said.. “We don’t have accountability, we don’t have transparency, we don’t have checks and balances with regard to how we spend taxpayers’ money on infrastructure repairs. One of the things that I’d very much do differently than the late mayor would be to make sure that we put in systems. … It’s not that we don’t have the resources to get things done, it’s we don’t put the systems in place that things get done.” Priester also wants to better manage local police forces with more use of predictive policing, which he said will allow for better transparency “One of the great things about these new tools is that they allow for transparency and accountability in ways that haven’t been done before…,” Priester said. “I’m saying that we’re not doing a good enough job in part because there are more advanced technologies available. “ U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, whose congressional district encompasses a majority of the Jackson, announced his official endorsement for Priester on Monday, March 31. Thompson cited Priester’s platform for economic development, affordable housing, and infrastructure development and public education advancement as his reason for choosing to support Priester. – Haley Ferretti

Margaret has delivered for her district...

She can deliver for Jackson!

• Jackson Medical Mall • Metrocenter/ City Offices • JSU Parkway • King Edward Renovation • Jackson Square Redevelopment • Baptist HospitalThe Belhaven • Fortification St. Project

• Jatran Headquarters • MS. Children’s Home Services Expansion • Downtown Revitalization • Capitol St. Redesign • Mid-City Improvement • Midtown Revitalization

• Walk/Bike Path • Irby Building • New City Animal Shelter • Whole Foods Development • The District at Eastover • The Westin Hotel Project • Convention Center

Vote Margaret Barrett-Simon

Tuesday, April 8th

Find Margaret Barrett-Simon on: Margaret Barrett-Simon Barrett-simon Margaretbarrettsimon Paid for by Margaret Barrett-Simon Campaign


ackson City Council President Melvin Priester Jr. officially announced his candidacy for the upcoming special mayoral election at a press conference on March 11 at Priester Law Firm. During his time serving on city council, Priester has represented Ward 2 and was instrumental in the work to pass the 1 percent sales tax with late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. He also led the reestablishment of bus services for the City of Jackson’s after-school program. He has worked to improve relations between the Jackson Police Department and neighborhood groups, as well as the city’s budgeting process. Priester has practiced law for 10 years as a member of his family’s firm. The current council president grew up in Jackson and graduated from Murrah High School as valedictorian of his class in 1997. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2001 and received his law degree from Stanford University in 2004. In an interview with the JFP editorial board, Priester explained his reasoning for candidacy and his vision for Jackson as a “new Mecca in the Deep South.” Priester expressed that he strongly feels that it is time for Jackson to rearrange its priorities and stop chasing the city development plans of five years ago and start bolstering young professionals and small business development. He also addressed his plans for Farish Street, which includes supporting the establishment of a production studio for movie producer Adam Rosenfelt and providing entrepreneurial opportunities for new business


Mayoral Election 2014

The Perfect Candidate



Among the top contenders for Jackson’s top job, each one brings a unique set of skills and strengths. If we could combine those into a super candidate for Jackson, here’s how he or she would look. Chokwe Antar Lumumba Has the ability to engage and excite people Represents positive continuity.

John Horhn

Harvey Johnson Jr. A planner, not a politician. Experience would enable him to hit the ground running.

Has strong professional relationships in state government, county and federal government.

Age: 36 Experience: Principal, Jackson Public Schools; Ward 6 councilman

Crosses the political aisle.

Family: Rosalind (wife); Carmen (daughter); Cameron (son); Toni Michelle (daughter)

Margaret Barrett-Simon Possesses institutional knowledge. Exhibits diverse relationships and bases of support.

Melvin Priester Jr. Offers innovative ideas on urban life. Wants to systemize city government.

Regina Quinn Represents a different kind of shift from the status quo. Would bring professionalism to City Hall.

April 2 - 8, 2014

Tony Yarber


Has always been an accessible, transparent leader. Is youthful, energetic, passionate and a good communicator.

Tony Yarber


councilman representing south Jackson since 2009, Yarber gave high praise to late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, whom Yarber said helped citizens have a place and voice in city government. “We listen to those things and push out the best possible product for folks in the city,” Yarber said. Lumumba’s leadership in pushing for water and sewer rate increases presents Jackson with a “golden opportunity to fix roads, repair infrastructure (and) to bring wealth into the city,” and to help small and minority-owned businesses, he said. In his five years as a councilman in a mostly residential ward, Yarber said he has worked with neighborhood associations to expand community watch efforts and generate more interest in community-oriented police (COPS) meetings. Because of increased vigilance and cooperation among neighbors, Yarber pointed to a dramatic decrease in the number of house burglaries in the ward. Yarber also linked unemployment to crime, saying that if elected mayor, he would be careful to award contracts to firms who hire Jacksonians and accept community engagement clauses in their agreements with the city. He also wants to ensure that the jobs that come to Jackson are quality. “Everybody jumps up and gets gungho about hotels,” he said. “A hotel says it’s going to produce 70 jobs, but what you’re not telling me is that, of those 70 jobs, 45 of them are for housekeepers, you’ve got a few cooks, but there is no training program to ensure that housekeeper can one day become the front-desk manager.” With approximately $1 billion going into city projects over the next several

decades, Yarber recognizes that contractors could be interested in currying favor with the next administration. “Contractors are donating,” he said of his campaign war chest. “Everybody who believes the adage ‘You’ve got to pay to play’ applies (is making contributions), and I guess your question is, how do I deal with those allegiances. ... I don’t make promises to people other than to provide good government.” Asked whether he is the preferred candidate of the Jackson business community and Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Yarber replied: “I’ve coached their children. I’ve taught their children. I’ve spoken to them at church camps, all of that. I’m upset if white folks, if business folks, if whoever, don’t support me. I’m offended by that.” “I’m offended if black folks don’t support me, because I’ve represented this city well. I’ve sat on that council, I’ve not embarrassed this city. I’ve represented this city and this council all over the country.” Yarber opened up about having been unfaithful to his wife of 12 years, Rosalind, which he wrote about the experience in a book titled “Man Tips: What She Wants You to Know,” published in 2012. “My wife is an amazing lady. She has shown me a level of grace I ain’t know somebody could give to somebody else,” Yarber said. “We are a team now.” Yarber acknowledged that crime results from poverty, but added that poverty is the result of bad education. Yarber is playing on his background as a former educator and founding member of Alignment Jackson, which he said represents a “marriage” between JPS and the city, as the central component of his candidacy.


Mayoral Election 2014 IURPSDJH



Harvey Johnson Jr. Age: 67 Experience: Three-term mayor of Jackson; Assistant Professor, Jackson State University

April 2 - 8, 2014

Family: Kathy (wife); Harvey III (son); and Sharla (daughter)


he first African American mayor Jackson voters ever selected, Harvey Johnson Jr. likes to say that although Jackson said no to electing him twice, people said yes to his leadership three times. This time around, the 67-yearold Johnson, who says he does a corresponding number pushups each morning, says he is not running as a change agent. “Everybody always wants change because change is part of our everyday existence. The issue is the management of change,” Johnson said. It’s his nuts-and-bolts management experience that Johnson is offering as his top asset. Aware of criticism that progress looked slow during his tenure in the office, Johnson defends his economic-development record by pointing to $660 million in building permits shepherded under his administration, the repaving of more than 200 miles worth of streets and getting the ball rolling on the redevelopment of Farish Street, the Iron Horse Grill,

the new Whole Foods at Highland Plaza and Metrocenter. However, Jackson’s streets are still bad enough to remain a top campaign issue, and Farish Street is mired in court battles. Given another shot at the office, Johnson wants to finalize a convention-center hotel deal, help Jackson State University develop a stadium venue and implement the “One Lake” plan for flood reduction and development. “I know that we can’t maintain the status quo in the city of Jackson. I’ve never run on a status quo platform,” Johnson said. “What the voters need to decide is if they change the leadership, is that going to bring about the kind of change in the quality of life, service delivery, safety, economic development. I’m suggesting to them it does not,” Johnson added. Johnson is a Vicksburg native and attended Tennessee State University and earned a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Mayoral Election 2014

Where All are BEST OF #JXNMAYOR TWITTER SoFo Mama @audiowido

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By the end of the week, 3 big #JxnMayor forums/debates will have taken place in W Jxn. Nothing wrong with that, but So/No Jxn where you at? Dustin Barnes @DustinCL

Barrett-Simon: We are all Jacksonians. We are all connected. And we bring a part of the solution - each of us - to the table. #JxnMayor LaurieBertramRoberts @smartstatistic

A mentor told me once “great leaders know when to follow” the #peoplescampaign is abt following the ppl’s lead @ChokweLumumba #jxnmayor

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Why did #TonyYarber take down several of his man tip videos on Youtube @DonnerKay did you notice this? #Jxnmayor Darius (Fo) @Fo4short

Rather be overwhelmed with multiple qualified candidates than campaign for “the one I like.” #jxnmayor Blake Case @Bakey_Jo

He (Yarber) seems to really be out talking to folks too. Saw him talking to LOTS of people @ St. Pat’s parade. Long conversations. #jxnmayor Vince Falconi @vincefalconi

With this thunder, I assume Thor joined the #jxnmayor debate? Sorry y’all but thunder god gets my vote. Bad Wolf @TheGrimMeeper

Experience doesn’t necessarily mean that you would make a good mayor. #jxnmayor Bad Wolf @TheGrimMeeper

Regina Quinn @Regina4Mayorr

“When women are paid the same pay for equal work as men, poverty is cut in half.” #jxnmayor Jackson Free Press @JxnFreePress

BREAKING: Ward 1 Councilman to Run (Another) Write-in Campaign for Mayor? #chatsnap #JxnMayor

Did Lumumba just compare himself to Joshua and his father to Moses? #jxnmayor


Mayoral Election 2014


ttorney Regina Quinn, former general counsel for Jackson State University, is running again for mayor after making a good showing in last year’s election. Quinn finished in fourth place in last year’s Democratic mayoral primary. When the race came down to a runoff between then-Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba and businessman Jonathan Lee, Quinn threw her support to Lumumba. Many of her supporters also got behind Lumumba; currently, several members of her campaign staff hold positions in city government. That sets up an interesting race given that Lumumba’s son, Chokwe Antar, is seeking the seat and is expected to draw much of his late father’s political base. “I’ve worked so closely with Chokwe and, honestly when Antar said he wanted to run, I kind of felt like I’d be running against my nephew. But then I really started thinking about what Jackson needs and what I could bring to the table to get that done,” Quinn said. Quinn also stressed that her candidacy does not mean she has doubts about the leadership potential of Chokwe Antar or anyone else who is running. She said that Lumumba’s push for a

water and sewer rate hike was premature. “I would have first started with the local option sales tax referendum,” said Quinn, who said she helped broker a deal with the city and Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce to give the city to give input into who would sit on the 10-member commission, which has been at the center of controversy since the Legislature passed the law in 2011. “I thought it would be tough to get done, but it was not,” she said. One of three women who will appear on the ballot, Quinn said that she plans to galvanize renewed support and excitement from women this year that she believes was absent from last year’s bid. One of the parts of late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s agenda that appealed to her most involved equal pay for men and women in both city employment and in awarding city contracts. “In Mississippi and in Jackson and across the nation, that’s an issue. If we can really address that issue we can go a long way helping to in eradicate poverty,” Quinn said. To watch all the candidates’ full interviews with the Jackson Free Press editorial board, visit Many stories about the candidates are posted at



Regina Quinn Age: 53 Experience: Attorney; former general counsel for Jackson State University Family: John Richard May, Jr. (husband); Niijor May (daughter); John Richard May III (son)

BEST OF #JXNMAYOR TWITTER Jamie Rasberry @Jamieraz

I think I know where my vote is going now. Great debate. #jxnmayor

Rosetta Stoned. ™ @MissIDGAFawk

DUI coming from a crime summit but you tell a story for sympathy, Horhn? #jxnmayor Bad Wolf @TheGrimMeeper

Interesting that Yarber is apparently only running for men. #jxnmayor Trip Burns @Trip_JFP R.L. Nave @rlnave

Gwendolyn Chapman showed up and is being told she’s not on the list to appear. #jxnmayor

Quinn makes direct appeal to women voters #jxnmayor Rod Walker @rwalkeradvocate K. Wright @iam_kwright

Can we elect a Mayoral Team? What about Co-Mayors? LOL but really, these young candidates are beating the old candidates tonight #jxnmayor

Sorry. Can’t make it. @DustinCL Seven of the 13 candidates will be speaking at @MPBOnline #JxnMayor forum. Dustin Barnes @DustinCL

April 2 - 8, 2014

LaurieBertramRoberts @smartstatistic


Jxn leadership is often unaware when it comes to class, gender, and race oppression intersections which is unacceptable #jxnmayor

This 1 cent sales tax is by far the question every candidate has a strong opinion about. #JxnMayor Beth Alexander @BethWJTV

R.L. Nave @rlnave

Antar: ‘When you have high poverty, you have high crime’ #jxnmayor

Regina Quinn tells me she’s running for Mayor. More at noon. #JxnMayor

As the medical director of Quinn Healthcare, Timothy Quinn is a firm advocate for removing the fear of visiting the doctor and maintaining good health and wellness. Practicing medicine in Jackson since 2003, Quinn feels an important responsibility to his community as an African American physician. “Disproportionately we, in my community, suffer at a greater extent from medical conditions that are terminal in presentation, such as cancer, that were not diagnosed early,” Quinn says. “I feel like my responsibility in my community is to try to encourage others to go out and get pre-screenings and not be afraid to go to the doctor Quinn, who was born in Chicago and grew up in McComb, attended Jackson State University and Belhaven University. He received his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. When he began his practice, Quinn focused on physical fitness and has continued to lecture and write about the importance of being fit and preventing obesity. In the past 10 years, he has published work in the Jackson Free Press and other publications, and he has worked as medical expert for WLBT, WAPT and WJTV. In 2009, Quinn was featured on the BET news exclusive, “Heart of the City: Dying to Eat in Jackson.” —Mark Braboy Best Doctor Second Place: Justin Turner / Third Place: Scott Kelly / Finalist: Alan Rathburn

Best General Practitioner


Second Place: Scott Kelly / Third Place: Justin Turner

Best Cosmetic Dentist: Jim Ed Watson

Jackson Center for Smiles (1437 Old Square Road, Suite 203 Crescent Court, 601-366-7645,

Through his practice at Jackson Center for Smiles, Jim Ed Watson strives to provide his patients with the type of care and education that exceeds standards and expectations. A Yazoo City native and graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, he is certified in several subareas including periodontal therapy, endodontics, implant dentistry, prosthodontics and others. Watson himself has a bright and inviting smile, and a gallery of his work shows that he is more than capable of getting similarly radiant results for his clientele, whether they require straightening, whitening and otherwise renewing teeth from a variety of conditions. —Justin Gudger


Quinn Healthcare (768 N. Avery Blvd., Ridgeland, 601-487-6482,

Best Dentist: Paula Stewart

Paula Stewart DMD & Assoc. (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 235, 601-987-8722,

Dentistry runs in Paula Stewart’s family. “I was the first one to get into dentistry, being in dental hygiene back in 1981, and then my brother went out to be a dentist,” she says. “I married a dentist (Thad Strange), and now we have two kids (Stewart and Matthew) that are dentists.” Stewart, a Raymond native, graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry in 1995 and is involved in many dental organizations such as the Mississippi Dental Hygiene Association, Mississippi Association of Women Dentists and American Dental Hygiene Association House of Delegates. With 19 years of experience under her belt, Stewart, along with her staff at Paula Stewart DMD & Associates, offers top quality services to her patients. She is willing to create one-on-one treatment plans catered to an individual’s dental health. “I want to be a caregiver first of all,” Stewart says. “I enjoy taking care of people, and I enjoy working with people.” Follow Paula Stewart on Twitter @DoctorP2003, and find Paula Stewart, DMD & Assoc. on Facebook. —Mark Braboy Second Place: Jim Ed Watson / Third Place: Kalil Abide / Finalist: Rusty Riley



Best Doctor; Best General Practitioner: Timothy Quinn

Best Nurse Practitioner: Geraldine Young

Quinn Healthcare (768 N. Avery Blvd., Ridgeland, 601-487-6482,

Geraldine Young’s passion in life is people. She currently works as a nurse practitioner at Quinn Healthcare and is an assistant professor, lecturing on subjects such as theory of advanced nursing practice, at Alcorn State University. “My life goal is to educate others, and care for and cure others,” Young says. When she talks about her work, you can hear the passion in her voice. Young has a nursing doctorate from University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Greenville native is a certified diabetes educator and is certified for Lower Extremity Amputation Prevention, a program designed to prevent the need for foot amputations. At Central Mississippi Health Services in 2010, Young established Mississippi’s first accredited diabetes education program in a federally qualified health center. In 2012, she conducted Greenville Health Initiative, which she says had more than 300 participants and 30 vendors and health professionals. She’s a member of many organizations, including the American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and an inductee and member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. —Amber Helsel Second Place: Louis Greg Ross / Third Place: Kenyatta Moore

Jolly Orthodontics (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7201, Ridgeland, 601-879-4746,

Best Surgeon: Reginald Martin

Martin Surgical Associates (971 Lakeland Drive, Suite 211, 601-200-4350)

Since December 2010, Jolly Orthodontics has been helping smiles all over the metro area. Dr. Priscilla Jolly attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and Millsaps College. Jolly later went to Louisiana State University School of Dentistry to study orthodontics. She returned to Mississippi to open Jolly Orthodontics with her husband of 15 years, Jason, who serves as business manager for their office in Ridgeland. What makes Jolly special in the world of dentistry? “We treat everybody like family,” Jason says. “Because of that, we provide what we believe to be the best customer service in the Jackson area.” —Tommy Burton

The thought of surgery can sometimes be a scary one, so it is always comforting to know you’re in the hands of a good surgeon. Reginald Martin, a surgeon with Martin Surgical Associates at St. Dominic’s Hospital, has 22 years of experience. He attended medical school at Meharry Medical College and served his internship and residency at University of Louisville. He has been practicing in Jackson since 1996 and is a general surgeon, performing a myriad of procedures. A patient review on says, “Dr. Martin is an excellent surgeon! He truly has a heart for his patients, and he has a great bedside manner. He made sure that I was always attended to and had everything I needed.” —Tommy Burton

Second Place: Karl Bierdman / Third Place (tie): Eugene Brown; Ken Walley

Second Place: Greg Fiser

Best Orthodontist: Priscilla Jolly



Second Place: Kalil Abide / Third Place: Paula Stewart



April 2 - 8, 2014

FOOD p 34

by Kathleen M. Mitchell



A Beautiful Blend

Day-of planner/coordinator: Thabi Moyo Officiant: Ron Stacker Thompson Venues: Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-432-4500); McClain Lodge (214 Clark Creek Road, Brandon, 601-672-7999)

Setu’s family in wearing Indian wedding garb. But food was a unifying element throughout the week. “We had people from all over the world—Indian, American, Dutch, Mexican … so we wanted to make sure the food was pretty international,” Zach says. “We had Indian dishes catered by Ruchi India, and then Ruchi has a southern catering partner, so each night we had traditional southern food, too.” The wedding itself was where Zach and Setu really combined their cultures, passions and influences into a ceremony that spoke to who they are as a couple. Setu wore a traditional Indian wedding dress while Zach wore a suit, and they pulled elements of both cultures for the ceremony. “Zach and I both wanted the ceremony to Setu Raval and Zach Seivers’ Jackson nuptials blended multiple cultures into a reflect who we are and meaningful, unique ceremony. what we believe, so instead of having a traditional Indian priest or an American priest, we had our screenwriting eryone that was there was so important to us, so we wanted teacher from school,” Setu says. “He conducted the ceremo- them to be as involved as possible,” Setu says. ny—he wrote this beautiful script.” For the Indian ceremony Most weddings are whirlwinds for the couple, and that elements, Setu and Zach picked a few favorite Hindu tradi- can be especially true for occasions with so many guests comtions, and Setu’s uncle performed them while screenwriting ing from far off, and so much family involvement—Setu’s professor Ron Stacker Thompson translated and described family hosted events, her event-planner friends helped out what was happening for the audience. with details, and Zach’s stepmother did many of the flower “For me, what I love about (American weddings) is that arrangements for the reception and more. your guests are very much a part of the ceremony, and evBut Setu and Zach agree that the moments that stand out the most in retrospect were the quiet ones. “We met at McClain Lodge to do our photos the day of the wedding, and we were walking across this long bridge over the pond. It was very quiet, just the two of us and (the Caterer: Ruchi India (862 Avery Blvd. Invitations: AlphaGraphics photographers),” Zach says. “We noticed our two best friends N., Ridgeland, 601-991-3110), Sugar (115 Metroplex Blvd., Pearl, ... just sitting and talking and enjoying the venue. Magnolia Takery (5417 Highway 601-933-9550) “There was something about two people who were real25, Flowood, 601-992-8110) Music: Narendra Shastri ly close to us, who were instrumental in the whole thing, just Florist: Kitty Seivers Sound: DJ Zee ( hanging out and enjoying the venue. It just kind of slowed Photographer: Danny K Rentals: Mississippi Tent time down and reminded us, (after) so much hustle and Photography (dannykphotography. (384 Church Road, Madison, bustle… it’s all done. Everything is good. Now we can just sit com) 601-853-1698) 31 back and take it all in, which is what they were doing.”

he best weddings combine personal aspects into something fully unique to the couple. When Setu Raval wed Zach Seivers, the occasion incorporated Indian culture, southern family values, cinematic flair, and family and friends from around the world. The couple met while attending film school in their home state, at North Carolina School of Arts. Zach was a senior studying post production and Setu, a sophomore majoring in film producing. Their roommates plotted to set Setu and Zach up. They didn’t think it would be serious—Zach was moving to California after graduating later that year—but quickly found themselves in a relationship they hadn’t quite expected. After two years of long-distance and five more years together in Los Angeles, Zach and Setu got engaged. Because Setu’s parents, who were hosting the nuptials, had moved to Jackson, the couple quickly decided to have the wedding in Mississippi. “It became this destination wedding,” Zach says. “Everyone else, including us, had to fly in.” And while its funny to think of Jackson as a destination wedding locale—a descriptor typically reserved for the likes of the Bahamas and Jamaica—Setu says they found no shortage of highly capable Jackson vendors to pull off their big day. Plus, Zach adds, the geographic location naturally helped them combine their two contrasting cultures. “The Indian side of the wedding is so apparent and so vibrant, that throughout the process (we kept coming back to) how do we include the Zach side of it?” Zach says. “Everything could be a little bit Indian but, because it was in Jackson, everything organically had sort of a southern twist to it.” Indian weddings are, historically and culturally, a big deal, with celebrations include multiple events across several days. “For three days you have three different events, morning and night,” Setu explains. “The first night is the henna ceremony, which is the henna you put on your hands and feet—its kind of bridal makeup.” Another tradition is called a garba, which Setu and Zach held the night before the wedding. “It was one of my favorite things to do growing up, so instead of a rehearsal dinner, we did a garba night. It was a big dance night,” Setu says. The garba was the most traditionally Indian event— Zach, his family and many of the couple’s friends joined




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Paid advertising section. Call 601-362-6121 x11 to list your restaurant

AMERICAN/SOUTHERN CUISINE Primos Cafe (2323 Lakeland 601-936-3398/ 515 Lake Harbour 601-898-3400) A Jackson institution for breakfast, blue-plates, catfish, burgers, prime rib, oysters, po-boys & wraps. Famous bakery! Two Sisters Kitchen (707 N. Congress St. 601-353-1180) Lunch. Mon-Fri, Sun. Koinonia (136 Adams St. 601-960-3008) Coffeehouse plus lunch & more! Broad Street Bakery (4465 Interstate 55 N. 601-362-2900)Hot breakfast, coffee drinks, fresh breads & pastries, gourmet deli sandwiches.

PIZZA 904 Basil’s (904 E. Fortification, 601-352-2002) Creative pizzas, Italian food, burgers & much more. Casual dining in the heart of Belhaven. Sal & Mookie’s (565 Taylor St. 601-368-1919) Pizzas of all kinds plus pasta, eggplant Parmesan, fried ravioli & ice cream for the kids! Mellow Mushroom (275 Dogwood Blvd, Flowood, 601-992-7499) More than just great pizza and beer. Open Monday - Friday 11-10 and Saturday 11-11.

ITALIAN BRAVO! (4500 Interstate 55 N., Jackson, 601-982-8111) Award-winning wine list, Jackson’s see-and-be-seen casual/upscale dining. Cerami’s (5417 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-919-28298) Southern-style Italian cuisine features their signature Shrimp Cerami.

STEAK, SEAFOOD & FINE DINING The Islander Seafood and Oyster House (1220 E Northside Drive, Suite 100, 601-366-5441) Oyster bar, seafood, gumbo, po’boys, crawfish and plenty of Gulf Coast delights in a laid-back Buffet-style atmosphere. Que Sera Sera (2801 N State Street 601-981-2520) Authentic cajun cuisine, excellent seafood and award winning gumbo; come enjoy it all this summer on the patio. The Penguin (1100 John R Lynch Street, 769.251.5222) Fine dining at its best. Rocky’s (1046 Warrington Road, Vicksburg 601-634-0100) Enjoy choice steaks, fresh seafood, great salads, hearty sandwiches. Sal and Phil’s Seafood (6600 Old Canton Rd, Ridgeland (601) 957-1188) Great Seafood, Poboys, Lunch Specials, Boiled Seafood, Full Bar, Happy Hour Specials Shea’s on Lake Harbour (810 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, MS 39157 (601) 427-5837) Seafood, Steaks and Southern Cuisine! Great Brunch, Full Bar Outdoor and Seating

MEDITERRANEAN/GREEK Aladdin Mediterranean Grill (730 Lakeland Drive 601-366-6033) Delicious authentic dishes including lamb dishes, hummus, falafel, kababs, shwarma. Vasilios Greek Cusine (828 Hwy 51, Madison 601-853-0028) Authentic greek cuisine since 1994, specializing in gyros, greek salads, baklava cheesecake & fresh daily seafood.


COFFEE HOUSES Cups Espresso Café (Multiple Locations, Jackson’s local group of coffeehouses offer a wide variety of espresso drinks. Wi-fi.

BARS, PUBS & BURGERS Capitol Grill (5050 I-55 North, Deville Plaza 601-899-8845) Best happy hour & sports bar, kitchen open late, pub food with soul and live entertainment. Cherokee Inn (960 Briarfield Rd. 601-362-6388) Jackson’s “Best Hole in the Wall,” has a great jukebox, great bar and a great burger. Fenian’s Pub (901 E. Fortification St. 601-948-0055)Classic Irish pub featuring a menu of traditional food, pub sandwiches & Irish beers on tap. Hal and Mal’s (200 S. Commerce St. 601-948-0888) Pub favorites meet Gulf Coast and Cajun specialties like red beans and rice, the Oyster Platter or daily specials. Martin’s Restaurant and Lounge (214 South State Street 601-354-9712) Lunch specials, pub appetizers or order from the full menu of po-boys and entrees. Full bar, beer selection. Mc B’s (815 Lake Harbour Dr. Ridgeland (601) 956-8362) Blue plates, amazing burgers, live music, cold beer, reservoir area Mississippi Legends (5352 Lakeland Dr. Flowood (601) 919-1165) American, Burgers, Pub Food, Happy Hour, Kid Friendly, Late Night, Sports Bar, Outdoor Dining Ole Tavern on George Street (416 George St. 601-960-2700) Pub food with a southern flair: beer-battered onion rings, chicken & sausage gumbo, salads, sandwiches. Time Out (6270 Old Canton Road, 601-978-1839) Your neighborhood fun spot! Terrific lunch special and amazing Happy Hour! Underground 119 (119 South President St. 601-352-2322) Pan-seared crabcakes, shrimp and grits, filet mignon, vegetarian sliders. Live music. Opens 4 p.m., Wed-Sat Wing Stop (952 North State Street, 601-969-6400) Saucing and tossing in a choice of nine flavors, Wing Stop wings are made with care and served up piping hot. The Wing Station (5038 Parkway Dr. 888-769-WING (9464) Ext. 1) Bone-in, Boneless, Fries, Fried Turkeys, and more. Just Wing It!


April 2 - 8, 2014

Crazy Ninja (2560 Lakeland Dr., Flowood 601-420-4058) Rock-n-roll sushi and cook-in-front-of-you hibachi. Lunch specials, bento boxes, fabulous cocktails. Fusion Japanese and Thai Cuisine (1002 Treetop Blvd, Flowood 601-664-7588) Specializing in fresh Japanese and Thai cuisine, an extensive menu features everything from curries to fresh sushi Nagoya Japanese Sushi Bar & Hibachi Grill (6351 I-55 North, Ste. 131, Jackson 601-977-8881) Fresh sushi, delicious noodles, sizzling hibachi & refreshing cocktails from one of jackson’s most well-known japanese restaurants.


LATIN/MEXICAN Cafe Ole’ (2752 N State St, Jackson, 769-524-3627 ) Authentic Latin cuisine at its best. Jackson’s restaurateur Alex Silvera combines the flavors of his homeland with flavors from around the world.

VEGETARIAN High Noon Café (2807 Old Canton Road in Rainbow Plaza 601-366-1513) Fresh, gourmet, tasty and healthy defines the lunch options at Jackson’s own strict vegetarian (and very-vegan-friendly) restaurant adjacent to Rainbow Whole Foods.

Barbecue Bliss

by Richard Coupe and Kathleen M. Mitchell


ondren’s new barbecue palace is open and eager to set itself apart in the Jackson culinary world. BThe Pig & Pint opened its doors March 26 after owners renovated the former Mimi’s Restaurant space on the corner of State and Hartfield streets. The Pig & Pint features “competitionlevel barbecue with a chef twist,” says coowner and chef Grant Hutcheson (the Pig guy). The owners compete with the Slapjo Mama Championship BBQ Cooking Team in the Memphis Barbecue Network—many of their trophies are on display at the restaurant. “About half—we ran out of room,” Hutcheson says. Some of Pig & Pint’s classic-with-atwist menu items are baby-back ribs with a Pepsi glaze and pulled pork tacos. And while pork is obviously king, the Pig & Pint isn’t constrained by much—chefs plan to put their barbecue spin on proteins such as brisket, lamb, shrimp, duck and more for both seasonal menu items and specials. Beyond the traditional pulled pork sandwich, too, the boudin burger and a pork belly corndog are popular menu items. Everything is made in-house, including the potato salad, salad dressing and, of course, the barbecue sauce. The staple sauce is tomato based with some sweetness, but the restaurant offers other dipping options to discerning customers, including a sweet potato hot sauce and more vinegar- or mustard-based blends. The group behind The Pig & Pint was originally looking for a place to open a fine dining farm-to-table concept with a wine bar, but when the space became available (but didn’t fit for a wine bar), the partners reconsidered their concept, and realized that “Fondren needed barbecue.” “We couldn’t find a place we were happy with in town. You get spoiled going to competitions and eating all this great barbecue,” Hutcheson says. But, because

of the group’s interest in fine dining, “you’ll see a little more attention to detail in the food and the service,” he adds. Hutcheson has years of experience in the restaurant business, having started at the Parker House Restaurant at age 15. He also worked as a sous chef at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and helped open Parlor Market, TRIP BURNS

Hickory Pit Barbeque (1491 Canton Mart Rd. 601-956-7079) The “Best Butts in Town” features BBQ chicken, beef and pork along with burgers and po’boys.

The Pig & Pint’s sandwich features barbecue-competition-winning pulled pork.

Fondren’s newest restaurant, the Pig & Pint, opened last week.

working as pastry chef there for a time. As the “Pint” part of the “Pig & Pint” indicates, the restaurant also has an extensive beer selection specializing in high-gravity and craft beers, growing to about 60 varieties in bottles and six Mississippi beers on tap. Chris Clark (the Pint guy) is a guild-certified sommelier for wine, and is working on a similar certification for beer. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and, upon occasion, will host live music. The Pig & Pint team participated in the Livingston Farmers Market during the 2013 season, which allowed them to test and hone many of the menu items now offered at the restaurant. Hutcheson says he’s pleased with the first week, and the way the staff has banded together to iron out the details that crop up in the opening days of any restaurant. “Saturday was our biggest day, and the biggest ass-whooping I’ve had in my career,” he says. “And I was loving every minute of it.”

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-Best Barbecue in Jackson- 2003 • 2006 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 1491 Canton Mart Rd. • Jackson • 601.956.7079

ARTS p 38 | FILM p 38 | 8 DAYS p 41 | MUSIC p 44 | SPORTS p 46


A Musical Ambassador by Tommy Burton


imbo Mathus is a living document of our state’s rich musical history. Born in Oxford to musical parents, Mathus, now 46, learned about music at an early age. From playing with one of Mississippi’s earliest punk/experimental groups, called Johnny Vomit and the Dry Heaves, to working with successful swing revivalists Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mathus has really done it all. Mathus recently finished recording “Dark Night of the Soul” with his longtime band, the Tri-State Coalition. Fat Possum Records’ Bruce Watson recorded and produced the album at Dial Back Sound Studios, and the album hit stands Feb. 18. How did “Dark Night of the Soul” come together?

You’ve run a recording studio (Delta Sound) for a long time. What was it like to put your work in someone else’s hands?

It wasn’t too difficult. He uses a similar recording style. He likes to use the ribbon mics and tube pre-amps and recording live. His method is very much like mine. He basically just trusted his studio to me. Sometimes, he wouldn’t even be there. He’d come in after work and just listen. I don’t mind turning the reins over to people that I trust. Somebody like Bruce who has a vision and a plan and knows how to get it done, then all about turning the reigns over to them. You’ve worked with some heavy people in music. What’s the takeaway from working with someone like Buddy Guy?

I did two albums with him on Oxford, then did several years of on and off touring. I learned so much from his time on stage. Just watching him perform. I watched how he regulated his energy. He’s very low-key throughout the day, and you could he was just saving it all for the show. I think it’s a very powerful thing for a musician to have that kind of focus. When he hit the stage, he’d let it all out. It was a great respect he showed the band and the audience. Can we talk a little about your work with the late Jim Dickinson (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, etc.)?

He’s where I got my production style from. I first found out about him through Luther (Dickinson’s son, member of The North Mississippi All-Stars). When we met, he

Oxford native Jimbo Mathus performs at Duling Hall Friday, April 4, to promote his latest release, “Dark Night of the Soul.”

immediately wanted me to play trombone on a track for the album that became “Free Beer Tomorrow.” He started using me for stuff on his records, and then I started using him to help me with stuff I was writing then. We’d go down to his studio in Coldwater called Zebra Ranch, and we’d be popping and always doing something. He really enjoyed the velocity behind recording. He’d call it making your cave painting for the ages. Recording took on a importance rather than just getting through it. At least every week I think of something he would say and remember him. He knew everything about Memphis music. That was his thing. All roads go through Memphis. You’ve represented our state very well to the rest of the country. Do you ever feel pressure as an ambassador of Mississippi music?

We just did the Governor’s Awards in which Gov. (Phil) Bryant has proclaimed this year as “the year of the creative economy.” I don’t know what the hell that means exactly. I will say this: I have friends that live in other parts of the country that can’t make nearly the living I make playing music here in Mississippi. You can make a good living making the music the way it ought to be made right here. Music is social, and Mississippi has that culture where people like to go out and want to be entertained. We may be behind the times in that regard, but for a guitar player, it’s pretty great. I love it. I love reading about and studying the history of it. I love knowing where my music comes from. I love knowing how it influenced other musicians in other places. I have deep ties with it through my family.

Right after “White Buffalo” came together last year on Fat Possum, Bruce Watson just started encouraging me to come by the studio. He’s got his own studio there in Water Valley. He wanted to be start coming by and demoing songs, looking towards a new record. I’d go by about every two weeks and throw out a few ideas and put down sketches. He’d come in and listen. He really took over the job of listening and editing and helping me sift through my ideas, even as far as doing the sequencing and stuff. We’d ended up doing something like 40 tracks. A lot of the stuff that I thought were surefire slam-dunks, Bruce didn’t care for as much, so I ended up trusting him in the role of editor. It was very freeing to let him pick what he liked. A year later, we had songs ready, and it had turned into this really interesting collection.

Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition perform at 9 p.m. April 4 at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave., 601-292-7999). Doors open at 8 p.m. for cocktails. Admission is $10 in advance and at the 37 door. Scott Chism & the Better Half also perform. Visit and

DIVERSIONS | film & stage

Terror in North Mississippi

A local musician and Elvis impersonator, Curtis is a passionately vocal individual. He had an ongoing social-media feud with James Everett Dutschke, owner of a Taekwondo COURTESY PAUL KEVIN CURTIS


n April 15, 2013, an act of terror shocked our nation. Two explosions near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon killed three and injured hundreds. The event triggered contagious talk of terrorism. Less than 24 hours later, a letter addressed to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker tested positive for the toxic substance Ricin. The media were ablaze with speculation that the two terrorist events were connected. Furthermore, as the investigation was underway, another Ricin-laced letter was discovered April 17—this one addressed to President Obama. Both letters were mailed from Memphis, Tenn. In the early evening hours of April 17, a small army of federal, state and local law enforcement officials surrounded the Corinth, Miss., home of Paul Kevin Curtis, and arrested him on suspicion of terrorist activity. Officials transported him to the federal building in Oxford, and after several hours of intense interrogation, authorities knew they had the wrong man. They declined to release any details to the media and even refused to release Curtis. Oxford-based attorneys Christi McCoy Smith and Hal Neilson came to the rescue. As the bizarre story heated up, a group of north Mississippi filmmakers, led by Melanie Addington, quickly decided to start documenting. Curtis and his attorneys were on board, and granted the group full access. Curtis was detained in the Lafayette County Detention Center for six days until his release April 23.

by Jordan Sudduth

A team of Mississippi filmmakers are deep into a documentary about Paul Kevin Curtis, the Corinth man mistakenly accused of sending Ricin-laced letters last year.

business in Tupelo. Curtis’ attorneys shared this information, and after searching Dutschke’s home for evidence of Ricin, federal authorities arrested him April 27. By this time, a third Ricin letter had surfaced, addressed to Lee County Justice

A Creepy

Christie Mystery by Ronni Mott


and inevitable misdirection. No one is innocent—not the old general, not the flamboyant Oxford preppie, not priggish spinster, the giggly secretary, the prim nerve doctor or even the retired judge—not even the bus-

but like spotting the killer, playgoers will not likely pick him out of the cast. This will be the first play Murray has directed in eight years. She brought the script to Black Rose’s play committee and claimed it for her own. “It’s a dark play, and it needs to be done darkly,” Murray says. “It was probably the first mystery I read as a teenager a long, long time ago,” she says. It was the first murder mystery for many of the cast members, as well. The play is very English, and the accents can be challenging. TRIP BURNS

Apirl 2 - 8, 2014


hat outrage is this? Eight people have received invitations to vacation at a remote island guesthouse. All are strangers to one another. Even the cook and butler are new to the house, hired through letters, and, like the guests, they have not met the owner. As the guests start to settle in, they begin to uncover oddities. The owners have not arrived. For some, the people who supposedly extended their invitations are not on the guest list. The boat that brought them to Soldier Island has left the group stranded. Then, as they gather before the first night’s dinner, a voice suddenly rings out. Each one is guilty of murder, the voice accuses. This will be no vacation. Rather, it is to be a trial, in more ways than one. By the end of Act I, one of the guests falls over, dead, poison in his cocktail. “And Then There Were None,” a play based on the best-selling 1939 Agatha Christie novel “Ten Little Indians,” is the newest offering from Brandon’s Black Rose Theatre. In classic Christie tradition, the play promises an evening of mayhem, mystery, murder

Court Judge Sadie Holland—mother to famed state Rep. Steve Holland. Dutschke was immediately charged for all three, and recently pleaded guilty. So we have the true story of a celebrity impersonator framed by a karate instructor for trying to poison the president. As if this wasn’t interesting enough, it gets better. Director Melanie Addington, of Oxford, covered the unfolding story from nearly day one, and has continued to interview and document Curtis’ life. Problems for Curtis run deeper than most realize. He has an inconsistent diagnosis of bi-polar disorder, which the national media used against him. Still in disbelief over last year’s events and why they happened, he struggles with his mind daily. An entertainer, father of four and religious Christian, an embattled Curtis is a skeptic of the world around him. Addington is attempting to tell his complicated story. The team has finished filming the documentary, which they titled “I Didn’t Do It.” Now it’s time for what they call post-production, which includes, among other things, editing, musical scoring and securing rights to costly network video clips. The filmmakers received a grant from the Mississippi Film & Video Alliance and have qualified for the Mississippi Film Tax Incentives, as well as set up a crowd-funding web page: Find the project on Facebook or Indiegogo.

(from left) Dwight Turner, Jordon Hillhouse, Hilton Smith, Tom Lestrade, Charli Bardwell, Heather Barnes, Gina Winstead, Michael Gibbs and Debbi Ethredge star in Black Rose Theatre’s upcoming production of “And Then There Were None.”

tling cook. All are suspect. Who will survive? Who is the killer? Many of the players had roles in previous Black Rose productions, director Tempy Murray says, and most have been on the stage before. One is making his stage debut,

“We’re working on accents,” Murray says. “I told them that if anything, it may be very southern English.” Murray has been involved with Black Rose since its inception in 1991, but while she was raising her family and working full

time at Walmart (where she’s been for 26 years), she rarely had the opportunity to act or direct. Now, she returns to the love of live theater that dates back to her community college days, even if it’s not her day job. Black Rose moved to its permanent location in 1993, she says, but no one seems to know who painted the building its distinctive bubble-gum pink. The company staged its first play in the Brandon courthouse. Her favorite part of “And Then There Were None,” is the “very nice, but creepy scene in Act II between the general and Vera (a former governess),” she says. The third act “builds and builds to the climax,” she adds. Murray has her favorite and least favorite characters, too, another mystery for the audience to explore. Murray loves directing, “seeing it all come together,” she says. There’s always that point when she realizes that the show is solid, though she used to get anxious early in the process. “I try real hard not to panic anymore,” Murray says, and with four weeks of rehearsal, she’s confident. “I think we’ve got a show, and I think we’ve got a good show,” she says, one that is sure to keep the audience “on the edge of their seats.” Black Rose Theatre Company (103 Black St., Brandon) presents “And Then There Were None” April 3-6 and 10-13. Call 601-8251293, or visit for tickets and more information.

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The Laramie Project

MoisĂŠs Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project


3/7/14 8:30 PM













April 2 - 8, 2014

Thanks to our generous corporate sponsors:















Fondren After 5 is from 5-8 p.m. in Fondren.

Sante South Wine Festival is at Renaissance at Colony Park.

Dane Huckelbridge signs copies of his book at Lemuria.

BEST BETS APRIL 2 - 9, 2014



History Is Lunch is at noon at William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.). MDAH historic resources specialist Caroline Gray-Primer presents “The Life and Sacrifice of PFC Milton L. Olive III.” Free; call 601576-6998; … Randy Pierce signs copies of “Magnolia Mud” at 5 p.m. at Lemuria (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 202). Reading at 5:30 p.m. $25.99 book; call 601-366-7619;


DJ Young Venom is one performer at the Crossroads Music Video Showcase at Hal & Mal’s April 3.

is at 7:30 p.m. at Jackson Preparatory School (3100 Lakeland Drive, Flowood). The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra performs. $20; call 601-960-1565;


Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival is today and tomorrow at Renaissance at Colony Park (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland). Free; call 601-519-0900; ridgelandartsfest. com. … Sante South Wine Festival is from 6:30-10 p.m. at Renaissance at Colony Park (1000 Highland Colony ParkBY BRIANA ROBINSON way, Ridgeland). $90 at the door; call 601-987-0020; santesouth. JACKSONFREEPRESS.COM com. … Magnolia Roller Vixens takes on Tragic City at 7 p.m. at FAX: 601-510-9019 Jackson Convention Complex DAILY UPDATES AT (105 E. Pascagoula St.). $12 in JFPEVENTS.COM advance, $15 at the door, $5 children;




Open Studio: Cardboard is from 6-8 p.m. at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). Learn to make freestanding or relief sculptures from used cardboard. For adults only. Registration required. $25; call 601-960-1515; … “Bravo V: Pictures at an Exhibition”

The Laramie Project is at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church (305 N. Congress St.). The play is about the citizens of Laramie, Wyoming’s response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay man. For mature audiences. $17.50, $7 students; call 601-714-1414; … “Don’t Start No Stuff, Won’t Be No Stuff” is at 7 p.m. at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.). The play is about two seniors who compete in a local talent show for cash. $20; call 601-665-5042;


The Art of Kyera Smith Opening Reception is from 6-8 p.m., at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). See the exhibit in the lower atrium. Free; call 601-960-1557. … Taste of Mississippi is from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. at Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N.). Enjoy food from 40 fine restaurants, a silent auction. Hunter Gibson and the Gators and Pryor Graeber and the Tombstones perform. $65; call 601-353-2759;


Dane Huckelbridge signs copies of “Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit” at 5 p.m. at Lemuria (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 202) $25.99 book; … Bridlewood Estate Wine Tasting is at 6 p.m. at Anjou Restaurant (361 Township Ave., Ridgeland). $16; call 601707-0587; … An Evening with Tim Tebow is at 7 p.m. at Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). $20-$75; call 601-826-4110;


Jackson 2000 April Luncheon is at 11:45 a.m. at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Thabi Moyo speaks on the topic “Cultural Dialogue: Creating Safe Spaces Through the Arts.” $12, $10 members; email bevelyn_; … History Is Lunch is at noon at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Stephen Wade, best known for his stage performances of “Banjo Dancing” and “On the Way Home,” talks about banjo tradition in Mississippi and the south. Free;


Crossroads Film Festival starts today at Malco Grandview Cinema (221 Grandview Blvd., Madison). $8 per film, $20 one-day pass, $59 all-access pass; crossroadsfilmfestival. com. … Jackson Transplant Social is from 5-6:30 p.m. at Sal & Mookie’s (565 Taylor St.). New Jacksonians enjoy free food, prizes and music from Physics for Poets. Free; find Figment Jackson on Facebook. … Fondren After 5 is from 5-8 p.m. in Fondren. Free; … Crossroads Music Video Showcase is from 7-10 p.m. at Hal & Mal’s (200 S. Commerce St.). $7;

The Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival is April 5-6 at Renaissance at Colony Park. It features an art show and sale, craft demonstrations, children’s activities, and live music.


*&0 30/.3/2%$%6%.43 WEDNESDAY





5 -9PM











TALENT SEARCH NIGHT Local bands tryout for gigs On stage w/ pro sound & lights Both bars open

1.50 Pick & Grab Beers & 2 for 1 draft TUESDAY

5 - 10 PM


10 - close $1 PBR & Highlife $2 Margaritas 10pm - 12am

UPCOMING SHOWS 4/10: Zoogma 4/11: The New Orleans Suspects 4/18: Dax Riggs (Dead Boy & The Elephant Men, Acid Bath) 4/19: Otis Lotus 4/25: Cary Hudson 4/26: Filthy Six featuring Nick Etwell of Mumford and Sons April 2 - 8, 2014

Sante South Wine Festival April 5, 6:30 p.m.10 p.m., at Renaissance at Colony Park (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland). Sample more than 120 wines and food from more than 20 Mississippi restaurants. The VIP tasting is at 6:30 p.m., and the grand tasting is at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of Mississippi. VIP tasting: $125; grand tasting: $80 in advance, $90 at the door, $20 wine giveaway ticket; call 601-987-0020; Magnolia Roller Vixens Roller Derby: Ex-derbinate April 5, 7 p.m., at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.). The team takes on Tragic City. Doors open at 6 p.m. Doctor Who costumes welcome. $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $5 children; Taste of Mississippi April 7, 7 p.m.-10 p.m., at Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N.). Enjoy food from 40 fine restaurants, a silent auction, and music from Hunter Gibson and the Gators, and Pryor Graeber and the Tomestones. Proceeds benefit Stewpot Community Services. $65; call 601-353-2759; Jackson 2000 April Luncheon April 9, 11:45 a.m., at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Thabi Moyo of speaks on the topic “Cultural Dialogue: Creating Safe Spaces Through the Arts.” Attire is casual or business casual. RSVP. $12, $10 members; email bevelyn_;




Crossroads Music Video Showcase April 3, 7 p.m.10 p.m., at Hal & Mal’s (200 Commerce St.). See music videos featuring local filmmakers and performers. Enjoy music from DJ Young Venom and DJ Sandpaper. $7; email jane@halandmals. com;

5/9: The Quickening 5/10: Sam Holt Band SEE OUR NEW MENU

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214 S. STATE ST. 601.354.9712 DOWNTOWN JACKSON

#/--5.)49 Gateway to History Celebration April 5, 10 a.m., at Town of Livingston (Highway 463 and Highway 22, Madison). The events includes arts and crafts vendors, a ribbon cutting, a daffodil planting, and music from Bogen Ridge and local gospel singers. Free; call 601-898-0212; find Gateway to History on Facebook. Precinct 1 COPS Meeting April 3, 6 p.m., at Jackson Police Department, Precinct 1 (810 Cooper Road). These monthly forums are designed to help resolve community issues or problems, from crime to potholes. Free; call 601-960-0001. Jackson Mayoral Debate April 4, at Mississippi College School of Law (151 E. Griffith St.). Candidates for mayor of Jackson participate in a Q&A session. Free; call 925-7100; Monarch Festival April 5 - 12, at Clinton Community Nature Center (617 Dunton Road, Clinton). The annual event includes a monarch rescue, haiku contest and walkathon. Details pending. Free; call 601-926-1104; email clintonnaturecenter@; NatureFEST! April 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). The annual festival includes exotic animal encounters, a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s collections chats with scientists and prizes. Magician Robert Day performs. Admission includes one free poster per family. $4-$6; call 601-576-6000;

Teaching Across America


emember Forever will host five fun and interactive photography workshops in April. Amazon and B & H Camera store are supporting the weekend event as part of Remember Forever’s Photographing America initiative. Luke Ballard started Remember Forever in 2008 as a boutique portrait and wedding photography service. In 2009, he began teaching novice photographers when he saw the how unethical and unprofessional photographers and photography businesses could be. Ballard, who has more than 20 years of experience, began offering the workshops in Australia and is now offering them nationwide. The company opened in New York City in 2012 and offered its first American workshop in 2013. Remember Forever now has 20 workshops and will offer online photography courses this year. This year, the award-winning photographer and instructor has taken on the challenge of traveling around the country on a 10-month journey to teach photography lessons. Ballard stops in Jackson April 5 and 6 at Smith Park. The topics covered include an introduction to SLR, beginner and advanced travel photogra-

All About Love Seminar April 5, 7 p.m., at Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (1152 Lakeland Drive). Author Tony Gaskins speaks on relationship issues such as finding love, self-love, infidelity and more. Limited seating. $25; call 982-8264; Hinds County Board of Supervisors Meeting April 7, 9 a.m., at Hinds County Chancery Court (316 S. President St.). The board holds its regular meeting, open to the public. Free; call 601-968-6501; Jackson City Council Meeting April 8, 10 a.m., at Jackson City Hall (219 S. President St.). Free; call 601-960-1064; First Time for Everything Seminar April 8, 6:30 p.m., at Flowood Library (103 Winners Circle, Flowood). Pamela Hancock of Hancock Law Firm and Alahna Stewart of McKee Realty give tips on buying a home and setting up a will or trust. Limited seating. RSVP. Free; call 601-331-4045; find “First Timer for Everything!” on Facebook.

&//$$2).+ Taste of Mississippi April 7, 7 p.m.-10 p.m., at Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N.). Enjoy food from 40 fine restaurants, a silent auction, and music from Hunter Gibson and the Gators, and Pryor Graeber and the Tomestones. Proceeds benefit Stewpot Community Services. $65; call 601-353-2759; Bridlewood Estate Wine Tasting April 8, 6 p.m., at Anjou Restaurant (361 Township Ave., Ridgeland). Sample four wines from California’s



Crossroads Film Festival April 3-6, at Malco Grandview Cinema (221 Grandview Blvd., Madison). Enjoy dozens of independent films, workshops and parties during at the three-day event. Discounts for members, students and seniors. $8 per film, $20 one-day pass, $59 all-access pass; call 601-898-7819;

Remember Forever photography program is coming to Jackson April 5-6.

phy, and night photography. He also offers a workshop on photographing people, family and children, during which Ballard teaches the best way to capture portraits of family and friends. Remember Forever Photography Weekend is 9 a.m.-10 p.m. April 5 and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 6. The workshops are $129 per person and $95 for the night photography workshop. The space is limited and registration is required. For more information, email, call 646-7363231, or visit —LaShanda Phillips

Bridlewood Estate Winery paired with a small cheese plate. Reservations recommended. $16 per person plus tax and tip; call 601-707-0587;

30/2437%,,.%33 Louisiana Collegiate Wake Tour April 4 - 6, at Wolf Lake (1224 Erickson Road, Yazoo City). Riders from Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee participate in the wakeboarding competition. Includes meals, awards and the Red Bull Party wit DJ Digital and DJ Beverly. USA Waterski membership required to register. $35 per rider, $75 per new team; find “LCWT - Stop 3 - Yazoo City, MS” on Facebook. Racin’ for the Seed April 5, 8 a.m., at Fannin Landing Park (Fannin Landing Circle, Brandon). The race includes a 5K run/walk and a duathlon (two 5K run/walks with a 15-mile bike ride in between). Proceeds benefit The Mustard Seed. $30 5K only, duathlon: $50 individual; $35 per relay team member; call 601-992-3556; Yogapuncture Class April 5, noon-2 p.m., at Butterfly Yoga (3025 N. State St.). The class includes restorative yoga poses and acupuncture. Registration required. Space limited. $35 through March 31, $40 after; call 601-5942313; Pitch, Hit & Run Competition April 5, 6 p.m., at Traceway Park (200 Soccer Row, Clinton). At Baseball Field 6. The baseball and softball skills competition for youth ages 7-14. Registration required. Free; call 601-924-6082; email

“Last Train to Nibroc” April 1 - 4, 7:30 p.m., April 5, 2 p.m., and April 7, 7:30 p.m., at Belhaven University Center for the Arts (835 Riverside Drive). In Blackbox Theatre. The play is about two strangers who fall in love on a train. Doors open 30 minutes before the show. $10, $5 seniors and students; call 601-965-7026; “Delivered” Dinner Theater April 8, 6 p.m.9 p.m., at Char (4500 Interstate 55 N.). The Detectives present the four-act interactive comedy. Includes a three-course meal. RSVP. $49; call 601937-1752; “La Bohème” April 5, 11:55 a.m., April 9, 6:30 p.m., at Tinseltown (411 Riverwind Drive, Pearl). The Metropolitan Opera presents Puccini’s opera starring Anita Hartig and Vittorio Grigolo. Encore show April 9. April 5: $22, $20 seniors, $15 children; April 9: $20, $18 seniors, $14 children; call 601-936-5856;

#/.#%243&%34)6!,3 Southern Soul Assembly April 3, 7:30 p.m., at MSU Riley Center (2200 Fifth St., Meridian). JJ Grey, Anders Osborne, Marc Broussard and Luther Dickinson make up the Southern soul band. Pre-show party at 6 p.m. $33-$39; call 601696-2200; St. Paul and the Broken Bones April 5, 9 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The soul band from Birmingham, Ala. performs. Door open at 8 p.m. All-ages show; adults must accompany children. $10; call 601-292-7999; email arden@; Anotherfest April 5, 1 p.m., in downtown Cleveland. The sister festival to Otherfest features several bands playing at multiple venues and an art walk. Performers include The Kernal, A Scarlet Empire, Bill Abel, Will Griffith, Water Spaniel, The Red Thangs and Bella Machine. Free (donations welcome) until 10 p.m., $5 after; email

,)4%2!293)'.).'3 Events at Lemuria Books (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 202). Call 601-366-7619; email; • “Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir” April 9, 5 p.m. Frances Mayes signs books. Reading at 5:30 p.m. $26 book. • “Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit” April 8, 5 p.m. Dane Huckelbridge signs books. $25.99 book.

Events at Lorelei Books (1103 Washington St., Vicksburg). Free admission, books for sale; call 601-634-8624; email loreleibooks@wave2lan. com; • “The Reading Circle” April 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Ashton Lee signs books. • “The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Southern Revival” April 5, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Alexe Van Beuren and Dixie Grimes sign books. “In the Belly of the Blues: Chicago to Boston to L.A., 1969-1983” April 5, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., at Delta Blues Museum (1 Blues Alley Lane, Clarksdale). Terry Abrahamson signs books. Free; call 662-627-6820;

#2%!4)6%#,!33%3 Open Studio: Cardboard April 4, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). In the BancorpSouth Classroom. Learn to make freestanding or relief sculptures from used cardboard. For adults only. Registration required. $25; call 601-960-1515; Studio on the Go April 4, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., at Town Square Park (100 Main St., Hattiesburg). The Hattiesburg Arts Council has art supplies available for public art participation and display. Free; call 601-583-6005; Remember Forever Photography Weekend April 5, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.April 6, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., at Smith Park (302 E. Amite St.). At Yazoo Street. Remember Forever founder and CEO Luke Ballard teaches five photography workshops during the two-day program. Topics include an introduction to DSLR, night photography and travel photography. Space limited. Registration required. $95$129; call 646-736-3231; email; Cooking Class April 5, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at Raindrop Turkish House (900 E. County Line Road, Suite 201A, Ridgeland). Learn to make Turkish appetizers, entrees and desserts. Registration required. $15 per session; call 769-251-0074; email;

%8()")4/0%.).'3 In the Belly of the Blues Opening Reception April 3, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., at Delta Blues Museum (1 Blues Alley Lane, Clarksdale). The exhibit features photographs from songwriter Terry Abrahamson’s book. Show hangs through July 31. Includes


Live & Boiled Crawfish! 6600 Old Canton Rd, Ridgeland 601-957-1188

music from Heavy Suga and the Sweet Tones. Free; call 662-627-6820; Blues @ Home Opening Reception April 3, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., at University of Mississippi Museum (University Avenue and 5th Street, Oxford). See H.C. Porter’s 30 paintings of blues legends. Includes live music. $5, members free; call 662915-7073; Scholastic Art Awards Mississippi Regional Competition April 6, 12:30 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). The reception is first, and the awards ceremony follows at 2 p.m. Participants are students in grades 7-12, and Gold Key winners move on to the national competition. Free; call 601-960-1515;

"%4(%#(!.'% Events at Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N.) • Light the Spectrum: Transforming Autism April 3, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Mississippi Children’s Home Services hosts the fundraiser for the Mississippi Center for Behavioral Science. Includes food, a silent auction and music from the Ghost Town Blues Band. For ages 21 and up. $50; call 601-352-7784; • Taste of Mississippi April 7, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Enjoy food from 40 fine restaurants, a silent auction, and music from Hunter Gibson and the Gators, and Pryor Graeber and the Tomestones. Proceeds benefit Stewpot Community Services. $65; call 601-353-2759; Hawaiian Breezes Drawdown April 4, 7 p.m.11 p.m., at Canton Multipurpose Complex (501 Soldier Colony Road, Canton). The fundraiser includes a $5,000 drawdown, dinner and a silent auction. Island attire welcome. Proceeds benefit Our Daily Bread Ministries’ feeding programs. For ages 21 and up. $50 per couple, $25 second chance insurance (optional); call 601-859-9211 or 601-9062617;

Wednesday APIL 2


LADIES NIGHT W/ DJ Stache • Ladies Drink Free

Friday APRIL 4

sun hotel

Racin’ for the Seed April 5, 8 a.m., at Fannin Landing Park (Fannin Landing Circle, Brandon). The race includes a 5K run/walk and a duathlon (two 5K run/walks with a 15-mile bike ride in between). Proceeds benefit The Mustard Seed. $30 5K only, duathlon: $50 individual; $35 per relay team member; call 601-992-3556;


Check for updates and more listings, or to add your own events online. You can also email event details to to be added to the calendar. The deadline is noon the Wednesday prior to the week of publication.

Monday APRIL 7

Saturday APRIL 5

LIVE DJ DANCE PARTY! PubQuiz with Casey & John 8PM Tuesday APRIL 8 2 for 1 Highlife & PBR


with Wesley Edwards

FREE WiFi 416 George Street, Jackson Open Mon-Sat Restaurant Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm & Sat 4-10pm

• “Acts of God” April 3, 5 p.m. Ellen Gilchrist signs books. Reading at 5:30 p.m. $23.95 book.

34!'%3#2%%. Tavern




A Night of Majestic Music and Worship by Greg Pigott



ari Jobe has been ecstatic about releasing her latest project, “Majestic.” In support of the album, which hit stores March 25, Jobe is touring across the U.S. and is stopping in Brandon at Pinelake Church on April 5. Jobe describes her music as “inspirational acoustic rock.” She says she is “really honest with (my) lyrics and found inspiration and hope in difficult times.” “I draw inspiration from other artists that are honest in their lyrics like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift,” Jobe says. “Those are women who speak truth based off of personal experience. I feel like I am the same way in my songwriting, just from an overtly Christian perspective.” Her 2012 album, “Where I Find You,” was highly successful: it peaked at No. 10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart and No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart. It also earned a nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards. With “Majestic,” Jobe took a different approach for writing and recording. “I usually write songs for the radio, but this album is a glimpse of what it’s like to experience worship with us at one of our shows,” she says. Jobe recorded “Majestic” live at the Majestic Theater in Dallas. The accompanying DVD is a new excitement for her as well. “It was a dream of mine to make a live DVD,” she says. “I was inspired by live DVDs when I was younger, so I was glad we were able to capture the experience of the album.”

Contemporary Christian artist Kari Jobe performs at Pinelake Church April 5.

Jobe’s highly personal album is a glimpse into the artist’s life and “the seasons that Christ has brought me through,” she says. “I also wanted to show that you can have a church service anywhere. As long as Christ is there, you can worship him.” Unlike other Christian artists, many of whom take a more indirect approach to their message of Christianity, Jobe makes no secret that her message is explicit and that this album is “even more direct than the last one. This album is made for a church service.” Jobe feels strongly that the performance at Pinelake will affect attendees in a positive way. “Rend Collective is a fun band that may be different than what most people have heard, and then we’ll spend a night worshiping God in a way that anyone can relate to,” she says. “This new album makes sense to my fans because they’ve experienced my concerts, but anyone who wants to experience the truth that the cross of Jesus brings can enjoy our show. You can expect an uplifting and encouraging night. People and expect joy and hope as well as the experience of being encouraged in the presence of Christ.” Kari Jobe performs at 7 p.m. April 5 at Pinelake Church (6071 Highway 25, Brandon, 601-829-4500). Rend Collective also performs. Admission is $24 in advance and $29 at the door. For tickets, visit Kari Jobe’s album, “Majestic,” is now available online and in stores. Visit

in the mix

by Tommy Burton

Broken Bell


pleasure. It is too easy to search websites such as eBay for a desired vinyl record and simply bid on it. It’s always a gamble to get a record based on a photo probably taken with a cell phone camera. I have to take the seller’s word about the condition, and let’s face it: No one is ever going to tell you that their product is really damaged and likely unplayable. When Bebop closed, it left collectors like myself feeling a little like orphaned children. We had nowhere to go. No sense of camaraderie that the staff and rows of CDs provided. Almost a year later, the news came that Jackson was to have another record store. It was going to be located in Fondren at Duling Hall and was called Morningbell Records & Studio. The store specialized in vinyl LPs and offered a recording studio for artists and bands. It also hosted live shows from local and touring groups. I was there the day it opened. My wife and I bought a Mumford and Sons CD. TRIP BURNS

April 2 - 8, 2014


’ve heard this story before. Back in 2011, Then it was gone. Bebop Record Shop closed its doors afLet me allow you a peek inside the ter years of serving the community. At mind of a record collector for a moment. one time, the Jackson music staple ran Finding an elusive record sitting on a rethree stores in the metro area. Those who cord store shelf is like discovering a small frequented the Maywood Mart location during its last couple of years could probably see the writing on the wall and likely weren’t very surprised when its owners announced the closure. Stories like this reverberated throughout the music world by the late 2000s. Brick-and-mortar record stores were dying. People had gone the way of downloading and streaming their music. Places that Morningbell Records & Café will close its doors April 5. sold physical copies of folks’ favorite albums were no longer needed. gem that seems to be waiting just for me Jackson was special in that, in 2010, to uncover. I hold the record in my hand it still had a place for music collectors such and examine the cover, looking at the song as myself to congregate to talk about music titles and credits. Then, I inspect the condiand their favorite bands. I got most of my tion of the vinyl. Does it have any major musical education in that Maywood Mart scratches? Is it dirty? I can clean that. How Bebop, and the staff there became almost much does it cost? like extended family to me. The Internet denies the collector this

Morningbell was quaint, but cool. I knew it wasn’t Bebop, but I looked forward to the ability to shop for music again. After a couple of location changes, Morningbell recently set up shop in a strip mall near Maywood Mart. The recording studio was now gone in favor of a café offering lunch and coffee to patrons. Even though the new location was a little more out the way, I could still manage a trip during a lunch break once or twice a week. Most of the time, I found something worthy to add to my growing collection. On April 5, after two years in business, Morningbell will shut its doors to the public. We can ponder the what ifs and hows that Jackson can’t seem to support a business like this, despite the reports of growing vinyl sales and the comeback of the record store. I prefer to simply say thanks for the awesome memories and the new friends I’ve made because of its existence. Morningbell will still exist, but only as an online shop through For the time being, the nearest place to get a vinyl fix is in Raymond at The Little Big Store. While I won’t be able to make lunchbreak trips out there, the store has an awesome selection, and shoppers never run out of things to find.


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FRIDAY, APRIL 4 NHL (6-9 p.m., NBCSN): Your weekly hockey fix features the New Jersey Devils facing off against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. SATURDAY, APRIL 5 College basketball (5-11 p.m., TBS): A doubleheader will decide which two teams make the championship game on Monday night, with Florida v. Connecticut and Kentucky v. Wisconsin. MONDAY, APRIL 7 College basketball (8-11 p.m., CBS): The winners of Saturday’s games face off in the 2014 NCAA Men’s Tournament


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THURSDAY, APRIL 3 NBA (7-9:30 p.m., TNT): Catch a possible preview of this year’s Western Conference Finals as the Oklahoma City Thunder host the San Antonio Spurs.

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It is time for one of the best sporting weekends of the year, featuring the men’s Final Four and WrestleMania. This time, the showcase of immortals is in New Orleans. Championship Game, and it could be an all-SEC final. MONDAY, APRIL 7 MLB (6-9 p.m., ESPN): This Tuesday night baseball affair features two teams that could be major players in October. as the Texas Rangers travel to Beantown to face the Boston Red Sox. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9 NBA (7-9:30 p.m., ESPN): The Memphis Grizzlies—currently on the outside looking in for the Western Conference playoff—take on LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It will be interesting to see this year’s WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with Scott Hall (as Razor Ramon) in the class. Hall has ruined a once promising career with his personal demons. Follow Bryan Flynn at, @jfpsports and at

bryan’s rant

Bye Bye, College Sports


ast week, the Northwestern football players won the right to unionize when regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, Peter Sung Ohr, ruled that players are employees, not just students. This is a complex issue, and a short column cannot cover all the positives and negatives. I believe the NLRB ruling is troubling. Athletes looking to unionize and get stipends, as well as antitrust lawsuits, all keep moving athletes further from the real reason they attend colleges and universities—to earn an education. One thing you must keep in mind: Not all schools earn billions from athletics. Of the 350 Division I schools, many different economic classes exist A $2,000 stipend doesn’t sound like a lot of money if you are in one of the major conferences (SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big12, Big Ten), but it is a significant amount for struggling conferences like the SWAC, Jackson State’s conference. JSU is suing Grambling not just to be a pain in the you-know-what, but because the Tigers’ athletic program counts on every home football game (especially homecoming) to survive. Conference USA, of which Southern Miss is a member, is better off economically than the SWAC, but not as

well off as the major conferences. CUSA is like the middle class—not doing too badly as is, but more financial strain could send them into ruin. To pay for the extras that college athletes want, such as stipends, would universities increase tuition? The cost of attending college is already pushing college students into debt at record levels. Paying every athlete the $2,000 stipend would place a major burden on conferences such as the SWAC. Schools such as JSU would eventually have to end their athletic programs. Conferences like CUSA might be better off for a while, but eventually would have to cut programs and possibly shut down athletics as well. But the most troubling part is that the whole system is moving away from education and toward a minor-league system with education as an afterthought. Fault lies with universities, the NCAA and fans (that’s a whole another issue). Universities and colleges should just close down their athletic programs. Let the NFL and NBA open their own farm system, like MLB’s minor leagues, or use some type of European soccer system for training and recruiting athletes. It feels like everyone has forgotten that college is for an education, not just for playing sports.


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