Corinth: Mississippi’s Gateway City

 

“Corinth holds a place in history, but history is only half our story.”

Located in the northeast corner of  the state, Corinth is often referred to as Mississippi’s Gateway City. Southern Roots caught up with Christy Burns, Executive Director with Corinth Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, to find out more about the other half of the story.

“Although our town is rich in Civil War history, we have so much more to offer our visitors,” said Christy. “Our Downtown is an attraction in itself.  We are blessed with many locally owned restaurants and boutique shops that can make any visit worth the time.”

For those with only a few hours to spare, Christy suggests stopping off at the Civil War Interpretive Center.

“The center is a 10 million dollar facility that takes you through how the railroad crossing in Corinth played such a pivotal role in the battle,” she said. “It also talks about the Contraband Camp where freed slaves came to learn skills to equip them to be successful in their new found freedom.”

Plan your few hours in Corinth around lunchtime because dining at any one local spot is a must to enjoy Corinth’s rich culinary offerings.

An overnight trip can start off the the Civil War Interpretive Center, Christy explained. “I would then suggest the Crossroads Museum that is located downtown along with a stroll through our Art Gallery.”

Another “must see” for the entire family is Borroums in Downtown Corinth, the oldest drug store in the state. Borroums is the stop for everything from a slugburger , to cornbread salad or just a milkshake. Former CSA army surgeon A.J. Borroum founded the drugstore in 1865.  It also houses Native American artifact, Civil War relics, and an authentic, working soda fountain.  This business has been owned and operated by the Borroum family since its founding. Another longtime family business is Biggers Hardware, which opened 1918. Its ownership is in the fourth generation of the Biggers family.

If you decide to stay over on a Thursday, Pickin’ on the Square begins at six that night. “People bring lawn chairs or sit on the courthouse steps to listen to local musicians playing bluegrass music.”

The entire year in Corinth is filled with festivals with summer kicking off with the Slugburger Festival. Then, the Alcorn County Fair runs from Tuesday through Saturday every September.

“Hog Wild is a BBQ cooking contest and festival combined into the first weekend of October,” said Christy. “ Changing things up to make our festivals more of a regional pull is what we are trying to do.”

And Corinth has accomplished that with the Slugburger Festival adding the MLE sanctioned Slugburger Eating Contest, which happens the weekend after the MLE Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.

“We get national coverage when they talk about the MLE eaters coming to have a slugburger.”

New art exhibits are on display monthly at the Corinth Artist Guild Gallery.  Every year, the Corinth Symphony Orchestra performs five concerts.  The Crossroads Arena hosts a variety of entertainment events and big-name entertainers.  Art exhibits and educational programs are held at the Corinth Library. The Crossroad Museum, through permanent and traveling exhibits, tells the story of Corinth’s past.  The Corinth Theatre-Arts season offers a variety of productions and readings.

Corinthians never meet a stranger, so when you visit Corinth, you may arrive a visitor, said Christy, but you leave a friend.

For more information, go to our website or download our free app, “Visit Corinth” from your smartphone app store.

 

  • Photo Courtesy of Visit Corinth

CORINTH FACTOID:

Ninety years ago (July, 1924) the palatial, multi-purpose Coliseum Theater celebrated its opening in downtown Corinth. The Coliseum has been and remains today the most monumental theatre space in Corinth, Mississippi and the surrounding area. Built in 1924 by self-styled architect, Benjamin Franklin Liddon, the Coliseum has long been integral to the cultural development of Northeast Mississippi as well as being architecturally significant in its city and state: in the City, as a major congregation space and physical reminder of the richness of the City and County’s past; and in the state, as a breed of shelters for culture built in a day when concern for quality was manifested in people’s reverence of the arts. In its life the Coliseum has served a variety of purposes.

VISIT CORINTH:

Corinth Theatre

Crossroads Arena

Corinth Green Market

Magnolia Car Club

 

 

Yazoo City – Gateway to the Delta

When entering Yazoo City, the Gateway to the Delta,

you feel the Delta Blues slowly start seeping into your soul. It’s a different world, quiet, rural, and yet so vast, the land spreading into field after field of rich farmland.  If you listen, you can hear the Yazoo River as it veers toward the Mighty Mississippi.

Yazoo City began in 1825 as a one-square-mile of land

granted to Choctaw Chief Greenwood LeFlore, who considered the piece of property to be the only location on the Coldwater-Tallahatchie-Yazoo River system perfect for the steamboat shipping of king cotton from Delta fields. LeFlore bought the land with this thought in mind and plans to later sell it for a good profit, which he did in 1828.

The planning of a great port city began.

However, at this time the name of the town was Manchester, not Yazoo City. By 1840 the port town had over 1,000 white and black residents. Every year, 25,000 bales of cotton were shipped from the Manchester docks down the Yazoo River. The River had proven itself to be the lifeblood of the community and in 1841 citizens of Manchester voted to change the town name to Yazoo City.

Yazoo City, being a major port town,

during the Civil War it came under the control of the Union fleet and was occupied and plundered six times, the last being the most destructive. The courthouse was burned along with other buildings.

However, the major burning of Yazoo City happened May 25, 1904

when a little boy was playing with matches and accidentally set fire to his home.  The winds that day carried the brutal flames that completely destroyed downtown businesses and 100 homes.

Again in ruins, Yazoo City residents would not be dismayed or disgruntled. They united and rebuilt their town. Many buildings on Main Street are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yazoo City has been home to some pretty famous individuals, such as Comedian Jerry Clower, author William Morris and Governor Haley Barbour. In 2014, Yazoo County, Mississippi received a Delta’s Best Tourism award from the Mississippi Delta Strategic Compact. Plus,for three consecutive years–2012,2013,2014–Mississippi Tourism Association named it CVB of the Year.

Everyone visiting Yazoo City will want to park their car and stroll

down both sides of Main Street to admire the beautifully painted pastel buildings and browse the shops and surrounding neighborhood where historical homes, including a few antebellum homes that survived both fires, welcome you to the neighborhood.

Don’t miss dining at one of the local  favorites,

like Stubs Restaurant, Tom’s on Main, P-Reaux Cajun Mud Bugs and Shrimp, Clancy’s, Ubon’s and more. In fact, why not just stay overnight and discover some Yazoo City’s attractions.

Here are a few:

  • The Sam Olden Yazoo Historical Society Museum located inside the Triangle Cultural Center, 332 North Main Street. Exhibits include the Civil War era, the fire of 1904, World War I, Main Street School, now the Triangle Cultural Center, the 1927 flood, political history, the daily lives of Yazoo’s early citizens and the contributions of Yazoo County’s famous sons and daughters. The Sam Olden Historical Museum is open weekdays, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and at other times by appointment and admission is free.
  • The Oakes African-American Cultural Center, 312 South Monroe Street. For almost 124 years, the Oakes House was home to the Oakes family and is now the Oakes African-American Cultural Center, which highlights the contributions of Yazoo County’s African-American citizens, from artists and craftsmen to musicians, educators and statesmen. The Cultural center is open weekdays, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon and 1:00p.m.-3:00p.m. and on weekends by appointment. Admission is FREE.

Also, plan your trips around these special Yazoo City events:

Jerry Clower Festival – 1st Saturday in May
Held annually on the first Saturday in May on Main Street in Yazoo City, this event offers something for all ages, including arts and crafts, clowns, children’s games and rides, food and lots more. Stages offer diverse entertainment of local, regional and national musical acts, drama, magic and dance.  For information call Brenda or Colon at 662-746-7676.Gospel Explosion – May
Held annually on a Sunday in May, this event features live regional, local and national gospel entertainment at the New Zion Multi-Purpose Center in Yazoo City. For more information, call 662.571-2269.Bentonia Blues Festival – 3rd Saturday in June
Held annually on the 3rd Saturday in June, this festival celebrates the unique and haunting Bentonia style of country blues, which originated in Bentonia, Mississippi.  Hear from various blues artists including Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, creator of the Bentonia Blues Festival in 1972 and the last artist known to perform the Bentonia blues.  For information visit Bentonia Blues Festival on Facebook or call Jimmy “Duck” Holmes at 662-528-1900.Fire & Feast MBN Sanctioned BBQ Competition  – First Weekend after Labor Day (September)
Held annually in September on the 1st Friday and Saturday after Labor Day, this event features three barbecue competitions and over $20,000 in cash prizes. Presented by the Yazoo County CVB and the Yazoo County Fair Association, this event takes place at the Yazoo County Fairgrounds in Yazoo City.  For more information visit the official Fire & Feast website at www.fireandfeast.org.Antique Days – October
Event held at the Triangle Cultural Center on Main Street in Yazoo City. Features live entertainment, arts & crafts, activities for children, a kibbee cook-off, antique engine demonstrations, cane syrup cooking and much more. www.antiquedays.comYazoo County Fair – October
Known as the second oldest county fair in the state, this event offers amusement rides, exhibits of local canning, arts and crafts exhibits, talent stage, youth exhibits and more.  One gate fee includes all rides.  Free parking.  Visit the Yazoo County Fair on Facebook for dates.Holiday Open House – November
Yazoo merchants open their doors for a preview of their holiday offerings.  Held annually in November. Contact the Yazoo County Chamber of Commerce for more information.Veterans Day Parade – November
The Yazoo County Chamber of Commerce salutes, honors and thanks local veterans for their service to the country with a parade through the downtown district of Yazoo City.Yazoo City Christmas Parade – December
Floats, bands and other entries liven the streets of Yazoo City in a celebration of the winter holidays.   Held annually on the first Tuesday in December.

Discover Yazoo County, Mississippi.  “Colorful. Authentic. Unique. Just like you.” 

Keith and Kathy Thibodeaux – Dancing and Playing in the Spirit

Though born in Memphis, Tennessee, Kathy Thibodeaux spent most of her life training and living in Jackson, MS.

In 1982, Kathy won a silver medal at the II USA International Ballet Competition. For the third contemporary round in that competition, Kathy expressed her faith in a dance to Sandi Patty’s “We Shall Behold Him.” Kathy was one of the first contracted dancers for the Jackson Ballet Company (Ballet Mississippi) and danced with the Company until 1986 when she and her husband Keith formed Ballet Magnificat! Tour Company.

Keith Thibodeaux is the former child entertainer best known as Little Ricky on the “I Love Lucy” television series and Johnny Paul on “The Andy Griffith Show.”


He was a drummer for the rock band David and the Giants, which later became a groundbreaking Christian rock band. Keith left the world of music in 1991 to join Kathy and Ballet Magnificat! and in 1993 became the Executive Director.

About forty years ago, Kathy and Keith met through a mutual friend who was related to a band member of David and the Giants.

“I was dancing with Ballet Mississippi,” said Kathy.

Keith was a musician, so from the outside looking in it didn’t look like a match made in heaven. When talks of marriage began, Keith told Kathy, “You know, let’s just pray about it.  God answers prayer and we’ll just see what He says about us getting married.”

According to Kathy, Keith told her to take the Bible, close her eyes, open up the Bible and point to a scripture. “We’ll just trust in God to give us an answer.”

Keith said a short little prayer and Kathy took a Living Bible and did as Keith said.  Her finger landed in the Book of Ruth where Boaz takes Ruth as his wife.

“That was a pretty clear answer and so we eloped,” said Kathy.

“Everybody thought we would never make it but, thank the Lord, here we are almost forty years later.”

On faith, Keith and Kathy married in October 1976, three months after they met, but how did faith drive them to create Ballet Magnificat!?

“I became a Christian not long after Keith and I were married,” said Kathy. “Ballet Magnificat! is all about faith and the Lord Jesus Christ because we know we wouldn’t be here without Him.”

Kathy was torn about whether or not to continue her dancing career after becoming a Christian because other Christians were telling her to give up dancing, that being Christian and being a dancer didn’t go together.

“But we saw in God’s word where He says to pray in His name with dancing.”

Thankfully, Kathy kept dancing and she and Keith kept praying about what the Lord wanted them to do. Seven years later, they started Ballet Magnificat!. People couldn’t believe she was giving up her career and told her that Ballet Magnificat! would never make it because they’d never find dancers or the support for a Christian Ballet Company.

 

“We really felt that God wanted us to do it so we knew that He would provide and take care of it,” said Kathy. And God has blessed and provided for them.  “We never thought we’d be dancing in Europe or Israel.  We have danced in over 30 countries.”

To Kathy and Keith, dance is important to a child’s physical and mental development.

“Dance is a great discipline and I think dance really helps children mentally. It also gives them poise and presence and helps them to know their bodies and how they move,” said Keith. “Mississippi has a rich cultural arts community. The [Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Center] will be an eye opening place for so many to see the artists and gifted people from Mississippi that they have been unaware of.” 

This interview was first published in the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment newsletter and on its website, where you can read more interviews with Mississippi artists.

Find out more about David & the Giants, including their tour dates!

Visit Ballet Magnificat for information on workshops, performances and the latest news

Play is a Beautiful Thing

As children, we start with a sense of wonder and see the world as our playground.

People like to see children play but only to a point. Too soon, parents, teachers, and other adults told us to calm down, be quiet, and be serious. They told us to act “our age.” Be more grown up. They enrolled us in competitive activities that pit us against our age mates and we began to think us verses them and see these age mates as the enemy or someone we must be against. Before long, we began to take our new selves seriously and forgot how much fun we use to have.

While no one wants children to act out inappropriately

and defy the rules of people in authority, it’s sad to say that many people believe someone who is playful is immature, incompetent or maybe even dim witted. Others believe that if we don’t take ourselves seriously, somehow we are not making the grade. We then grow up with this sense of guilt every time we want have fun. We become boring characters fighting what we know is right on the inside.

Do you remember how awesome it was to be a child?

Before the age of five, we had incredible gifts—curiosity, imagination and a sense of play. Every day was a new opportunity to play, every person was a potential playmate, and every household item, (from paper bags, pots and pans to that cardboard box that contained the toys) turned into something cool and fun and ignited the heights of our creativity. We made things out of nothing. Life is good.

But folks began telling you how to act and what not to do.

As we become adults, these playful qualities were given up for what we’d been told is appropriate behavior. We began to do things we don’t want to do, just for the approval of others. We become uncomfortable with play. We began to hide ourselves so you’d be acceptable to the very people who were criticizing you without knowing that deep down, people who criticize others for being happy are probably miserable and envious.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Ellie Katz, Ph.D., RN, a psychologist,

was known as the first playologist. She began the systematic study of play and the effects play has on the human organism. Katz studied the biochemical process of play and the enormous potential in healing the body and mind. She found that play makes people more socially competent, develops working memory and self-regulation, makes people sharper and better-behaved and Play can be the antidote to isolation, worry, loneliness, fear, and violence. So, ironically, by shortchanging children’s play in favor of academics, we may actually be inhibiting their development.

Dr. Katz taught seminars to help others to learn to play.

She didn’t lecture, and none of her students took notes. Instead, the 40 or so adults in each of her classes were likely to be throwing marshmallows at each other and laughing hysterically.

Dr. Katz didn’t always have such a charmed life. She began using play to cope with the inevitable heartaches that come with aging. Her pain included a divorce, the loss of a child, and addiction. A recovery program and play helped her to pull through. She died at the age of 81, at home in her bed, with her cat sleeping on her lap. What a way to go?

Dr. Katz’s lasting legacy was her conscious choice to live-playfully.

She believed that play is an instinctive. It makes us feel more relaxed, less anxious or angry. Yet, too often, being civilized values stoic, critical, demanding and judgmental people.

What’s a person to do?

  • Pay attention to the babies. Watch an infant trying to walk. There’s no concept of failure, just a joyful exuberance to try and try again. Fear of failure often makes us resistant to trying anything new and we eventually become stale and boring.
  • Try something new, learn something different. And don’t worry about looking or sounding silly as you learn. Kids are usually having so much fun they don’t care how they look. Joy and learning are more important to your psyche than how you look to others.
  • Believe you can do anything but not everything. Pick a few. Observe kids playing and join in. They are pros at playing. And you were too, once upon a time. Engage in the light, buoyant, physical games like hop scotch, holla hoop, tag, jump rope and monkey bars to stimulate your childlike perspective.
  • Have you played today? The Let’s Move! campaign recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous active play every day. How much will you do? Your life is in your playful hands.

© Rachell N. Anderson, Psy. D. June 1, 2015

Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives and writes in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website at WWW.drrachellanderson.com for more articles and books.

Making Music: Lindsey Sapic

An Interview with Lindsey Sapic:

What bands do you perform with?

-Right now I sing with Whatever’s Next, a local cover band. I also sometimes sing at my bandmates’ acoustic shows around town.

When and why did you start playing?

-My first time on a “real” stage was in January of this year. Music has been a huge and important part of my life for as long as I can remember, but I’d never had the guts to really put myself in the spotlight. Luckily, though, I agreed to haul equipment to a Whatever’s Next practice, and I managed to stumble into the most talented, encouraging, varied family of weirdos I could ever hope to encounter. After a month or two, they basically pushed me on stage at their Brewsky’s show, and I’ve been addicted ever since.

Which instruments do you play?

-In high school, I played pit percussion in the band (Shoutout to Mr. Artie Adams and my SJH Band of Braves class of ’03!!), and I took several years of piano lessons. On stage currently, though, I mainly focus on singing. I have a shaker and a tambourine, but I still need practice with multitasking on stage.

What was the first tune(s) you learned?

-The first song I sang with the band was Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Which famous musicians do you admire?

-I admire any musician who puts their soul and love into their craft, so that’s a long list.. But the ones on my playlist the most are Alanis Morissette, Bob Marley, Dessa, MF DOOM, and Chili Peppers.

Why?

-Lyrics (words, in general) are really important to me, so I gravitate towards artists who speak to me.

Do you get nervous before a performance?

-I get butterflies sometimes, but it’s not nearly as bad as when I first started. I’m usually just excited and ready to start the show.

What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

-It definitely helps to be sure of what you’re doing and to be confident in your ability to do it. Being on stage with some of your best friends helps a lot, too.

How often and for how long do you practice?

-The band dedicates one night a week for the eight of us to practice, but I spend the majority of my day singing along to whatever’s coming out of my speakers.

What do you practice – exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?

-When I’m going with a recording, I rarely sing along with the melody. I’m “that girl” who harmonizes to the A&J Rental commercial… So it’s a good thing my friends are tolerant, forgiving souls.

How do you balance your music with other obligations?

-Getting to make music with these talented musicians is an honor and a privilege. It’s also the best way I’ve ever found to relieve stress.. So I always make it a priority.

If someone wanted to book you or your band how could they get in contact with you?

-To contact me personally, email Lindseymsapic@gmail.com. I’m also on Facebook. For the band, email whateversnextband@gmail.com or Facebook.com/whateversnextband  Or contact Scott Pylant directly.

Interview by Jennifer Patrick –  Downtown Music Media

What If All The World Were Laughing?

 

There is a movement sweeping the country that is designed to bring world peace.

Diplomacy, democracy, and religion have not succeeded but comedians believe they can by focusing on something that’s universal, laughter. Groups like Laugh Factory and the Laughter Yoga (among other) movements have organized clubs, festivals and contests hoping to bring the world together through smiles and laughter as a positive manifestation for world peace and to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship. We could use some of that down here.

An article in the Associated Press 10/20/2014 reported that Jamie Masada who owns the venerable Hollywood nightclub, The Laugh Factory, has already seen this approach to peacemaking work effectively. But will it work here? It’s one thing to get a liquored-up audience laughing with one liners but another to bring people from across the divide who dislike each other together — and hope they will laugh at each other. And yet, that’s what Masada is trying to do with what he calls the first Funniest Person in the World competition. “During the latest Palestinian-Israeli tensions, Masada, an Iranian-born Jew, got the idea of defusing the ethnic tension amongst his customers at the night club for at least one night by hosting a comedy exhibition featuring locally popular Jewish comedians sharing the stage with their Muslim counterparts.” According to Masada “It was held in the spirit of a gathering where both sides would learn something about the other. However, initially, what ensued was intense stare downs from two sides of the club. After the comics started performing, sharing jokes and humor from their own experiences, the end of the night saw both sides of the house commingling, hugging and laughing out loud.

Created by Humorologist Izzy Gesell, World Laughter Day 2015 takes place on May 03.

The goal of this day according to Gesell, is to get people to laugh, because “laughter is the best medicine”

With the success mentioned above, Masada decided to host a kind of Comedy Olympics to find the funniest person in the world. He searched comedy festivals worldwide for candidates and had people online vote for them to pare down the list to 10 semi-finalists. Those semi-finalists are scheduled to perform at the Laugh Factory and to an international virtual audience on Oct. 20. On that day, perfomers will be pared down to a group of five finalists will go to the Las Vegas arm of Laugh Factory to compete for the winning spot on Oct. 24.

Those who remember the “I Love Lucy” show, may want to know that the Lucy and Desi Arnez museum in Jamestown, New York is a destination for tourists around the world who come to celebrate the life and legacy of this comedy duo. One venue in the museum is called the Legacy of Laughter seminars, or LOLs. It includes panel discussions with audience interaction that explore and celebrate the value of laughter. People who create or perform comedy, who use it in their work, or who have been healed by comedy are sought. One participant at the center claims she was cured of cancer by watching “I Love Lucy” reruns.

Even the much maligned April Fool’s day can be good for your health because it encourages jokes, hoaxes, pranks, an belly laughs, and brings all the benefits of laughter including stress relief and reduction of strain on the heart.

People scoff when someone says they want “world peace,” as if it’s impossible. The irony is that it’s very possible, even if there are a few people you may want to kill first. HaHa. But seriously, people like to be around optimistic people who make them laugh or make them happy; it’s contagious!  That’s why they say, “Laugh and The World Laughs With You.”

So, the comedians are doing their parts and we could use a few laughs around here. If it’s possible to laugh your way out of a serious illness, why don’t we try it for other things that have gone wrong in the world.

What Can You Do To Brighten Your Surroundings?

  • Laughter can arise from such activities as being tickled, or from humorous stories or thoughts. Share one with a friend or stranger.
  • Tell a joke or two. Jokes have the power to grab our attention and focus our mind. Laughter from jokes can snap us out of melancholy, put things back into perspective, and provide the momentum to make the best of life.
  • Occasionally, find your inner child. Childlike playfulness is a human need and can help us be merrier. Be playful with others. Develop a comical sense to see absurdity in daily life and before long the smiles will come.
  • Lighten up and simplify your problems. sometimes, the simple and the unexpected can bring genuine smiles and relief to the most serious of concerns.

Have you had your laugh today? If not, hop to it. If so, pass it on.

© Rachell N. Anderson, Psy. D. April 7, 2015

Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives and writes in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website for more articles and books.

 

Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos and chrisroll.