Category Archives: Mississippi
“The Meaning of Tea” by Scott Chamberlin-Hoyt is a beautiful film on the Southern Arts Federation’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. The film visits 7 countries and explores the role that tea plays in various cultural rituals. Chamberlin-Hoyt explores the people, landscapes and rituals of England, India, China, Japan, Morrocco and France. He also includes one sort of embarassing clip about a town called Tea, South Dakota.
He should have included something better about the U.S. There are tea rituals here. I once saw a girl order a shot of vodka in her iced tea during lunch at the Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. There was definitely some kind of ritual involved in that. At the time I took it to be the age old ritual of impressing a guy. But maybe she wanted to impress his grandmother who was also with us. Maybe that’s just what they do at Ground Zero. Or maybe that’s just how Memphis girls do when they get out of town for lunch.
A few weeks ago, a friend and I met Critz Campbell at a cocktail party in New Orleans. When we asked him what he does for a living, he just said he was a sculpture professor at Mississippi State University. When pressed, he said he designs furniture. When pressed further, he showed us this picture on his iPhone. It’s called “The Eudora Chair,” named after Eudora Welty, modeled after 1930’s armchairs, made out of resin-encased fiberglass, illuminated from within, and completely functional as a chair. You can get it covered in your choice of fabric (yes, that’s any fabric you want), but my mother has a couple of old club chairs that were once covered in this chintz, so this is my favorite. Will update when I figure out exactly where to order.
PS–Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum selected it for their Design Triennial, and it’s been covered by Smithsonian Magazine, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Elle Magazine and the Discovery Channel
Tallahatchie Flats is a row of sharecropper cabins for rent on the Tallahatchie River just outside Greenwood, Mississippi. As mentioned in the Lusco’s post below, my friends and I recently opted for a good old country New Year’s Eve. We decided that the Flats would be a great break from the normal hoo-ha.
Our experience: After dinner at Lusco’s, we returned to the Flats to find that our host, the positively genteel Mr. Bubba, had a bonfire burning in the old sugar kettle out front. And it was just for us! He had already gone to bed. So we cooked up some winter punch (recipe is coming as soon as fall festival season gets here), got out the mugs and fireworks, and did it up. After midnight and toasts, we stumbled across turnrows and down to an old churchyard where they say Robert Johnson is buried. They also say he died in Tush Hog’s house, which is the cabin on the far left in the picture above. Who knows if it’s true. Who cares? It was a blast.
Forewarning: Upon check-in everyone is gently asked if they are “familiar with country living.” The floors have cracks and there are newspapers on the wall (which actually makes interesting reading if you’re just standing around bored for a minute or someone is talking too much or something.) There was also a report of mice in the night. But everything is impeccably clean, beds are comfortable, and fireplaces keep things warm in winter. And you couldn’t ask for a more peaceful setting or a more gracious host.
Tallahatchie Flats; 58458 County Road 518, Greenwood, MS; (ph) 662-453-1854 or 866-93FLATS
I think this sounds grand. American Dream Safari tours leave out of Memphis daily in a restored ’55 Cadillac, and include: Delta Day Trip (“Highway 61 blues and blacktop”); Yards, Gardens, and Architecture (in Memphis); Juke Joint Full of Blues (good way to hit the town and cut loose, fee includes entrance to three clubs); Drive by Shooting (not a funny title, but allows one to pretend to be William Eggleston for a day); Road Therapy Tour (if you just need to get away and cruise through the Arkansas countryside); Gospel Church (fee includes tithe and lunch at the fantabulous Gus’s Fried Chicken); and Tupelo Day Trip (to you-know-who’s house.) You just hop in the car and the driver whisks you away. Perfect.
American Dream Safari; 9am – 5pm, 7 days a week; firstname.lastname@example.org; 901.527.8870; PO Box 3129, Memphis, TN, 38173; www.americandreamsafari.com
photo courtesy of Deep Fried Kudzu
This past New Year’s Eve, my friends and I had dinner at this Greenwood, Mississippi, restaurant and it was completely delightful. Housed in a nondescript downtown storefront, Lusco’s serves up steaks, Southern and Creole comfort food, and a few Italian dishes. What makes Lusco’s, Lusco’s, is that each table is set in its own little alcove with a curtain. The alcoves provide a clandestine feeling that’s just sort of exciting and allows everyone to relax, really connect, and cut loose a little more, too. It’s sort of difficult not to go completely Eloise and abuse the doorbell on the wall that calls your server, even though it’s probably not necessary. The service was pretty good for a packed house in a sleepy Southern town on New Year’s Eve. Bring your own wine, but if you forget, there’s a liquor store across the street with an adequate, and only slightly overpriced, selection. You have to make your choice and pay the clerk through a bullet proof glass wall. Just keep your expectations in the right place, and the whole experience is a ball. Read Michael Stern’s colorful and honest review here: www.roadfood.com
Lusco’s Restaurant, 722 Carrollton Avenue, Greenwood, MS, 601.453.5365