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Mitchell: My First Experience in the Mississippi Delta

Pictures from the Delta
Pictures from the Delta

The Delta nourishes creativity and puts a taste of wonder on the tongue of all those who experience it.
The Mississippi Delta is one of those experiences that could not be easily replicated elsewhere, as even arguably some of the greatest travel journalists have pointed out. It is the true embodiment of blues and bears with it a very rich cultural intrigue. All of this is artistic valor and cultural insight is tucked away in good ol’ Clarksdale, Mississippi, unbeknownst to even some of the most versed travelers of the state.
I received the superb pleasure and opportunity of sitting right in front of the Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Magazine, Mr. Keith Bellows himself, during the bus ride over to the Delta.
I asked him a few questions about his experiences of being involved with such a distinguished and intergenerational travel publication along our journey, and he aspired to mention his passion for, “Having a deeper connection and intricacy to the culture and seeing life in a new and interesting way.”
I watched him as his face lit up like a child at Christmastime when we reached our destination at the Delta, and it was truly awe-inspiring to see a man of his caliber still find passion and inspiration in such a quaint, yet historical niche in the cohorts of Mississippi.
When we reached the Delta, one of the first sights we came upon was the notorious “Shack Up Inns.” They were all sorted in a delightfully natural and rustic fashion across seemingly small plots of farmland, affixing them to their roots of historic sharecropper land. Travelers of the Delta are allowed to stay in these “shacks” overnight and enjoy the Delta in all its natural beauty. Since its inception, the shacks have had over 30,000 guests stay overnight on its premises. The bottle tree was one of my favorite sites located outside of the Shack Up Inn and was accompanied by various shades and colors of bottles.
We then moved on to one of the more recent additions to the Delta, otherwise known as the Delta Blues Museum. It holds beautiful artifacts of both the culture and the musical intricacies of all things Blues and Jazz. It even contains memorabilia of Muddy Waters, the famous musician, himself. What was the most astonishing and captivating lure of the entire museum to me, however, were the young boys playing their guitars with what seemed to be their grandfather and mentor. It was relayed to me that the youngest musician was only eight years old, but all played with the vitality and spirit of musicians who had played in the throngs of the inception of the Blues.
We moved on to what has now become the most famous portion of the Delta and top five Blues Clubs in the world; Ground Zero. Not only is it famous for its musical talent and spirit that is experienced in its very essence, it also happens to be co-owned by the notorious talent, Morgan Freeman, himself. The other co-owner of the Blues Club also happens to be the Mayor of Clarksdale, Bill Luckett. I received the distinguished pleasure of meeting and speaking to Luckett firsthand, and he told me about his voyages of being a former attorney and political actor, as well as his intrinsic passion for the Delta and the promises it offers. Musical talents resounded throughout the night and encompassed the proud spirit of the Delta. Mr. Scott Coopwood, the editor of the Delta Magazine, said it best, however, when he affectionately noted the experience with, “It’s a train-wreck, but we all have a great time.”
Staff Writer Sam Mitchell went to the Delta and took all of these pictures herself. Any additional comments or questions may be directed to her at smitche3@my.olemiss.edu.
Staff writer Sam Mitchell poses under the famous Ground Zero Blues Club Sign in the Delta.
Staff writer Sam Mitchell poses under the famous Ground Zero Blues Club Sign in the Delta.

Pictures from the Delta
Pictures from the Delta

Shack Up Inns are a rustic way to spend the night in the Delta
Shack Up Inns are a rustic way to spend the night in the Delta

Pictures from the Delta
Pictures from the Delta

One of the first signs you see outside of the Shack Up Inn
One of the first signs you see outside of the Shack Up Inn

Pictures from the Delta
Pictures from the Delta

Performers in the Delta
Performers in the Delta

Pictures from the Delta
Pictures from the Delta

The 'Bottle Tree' located outside of the Shack Up Inn.
The ‘Bottle Tree’ located outside of the Shack Up Inn.

The rustic feel of the Delta
The rustic feel of the Delta

The rustic feel of the Delta
The rustic feel of the Delta

The rustic feel of the Delta.
The rustic feel of the Delta.

The Shack Up Inn.
The Shack Up Inn.

The rustic feel of the Delta.
The rustic feel of the Delta.

The Delta Blues Museum.
The Delta Blues Museum.

The sign outside of the Delta Blues Museum.
The sign outside of the Delta Blues Museum.

The notorious Ground Zero Blues Club in the Delta.
The notorious Ground Zero Blues Club in the Delta.

Inside of Morgan Freeman's 'Ground Zero' Blues Club.
Inside of Morgan Freeman’s ‘Ground Zero’ Blues Club.

The stage inside of the notorious Ground Zero Blues Club.
The stage inside of the notorious Ground Zero Blues Club.

Inside of the famous Ground Zero Blues Club.
Inside of the famous Ground Zero Blues Club.

Inside of the notorious Ground Zero Blues Club.
Inside of the notorious Ground Zero Blues Club.

The Mayor and co-owner of Ground Zero, Bill Luckett, addressed the crowd on stage.
The Mayor and co-owner of Ground Zero, Bill Luckett, addressed the crowd on stage.

Scott Coopwood, the Editor of the Delta Magazine, played for the crowd at Ground Zero.
Scott Coopwood, the Editor of the Delta Magazine, played for the crowd at Ground Zero.

Performer at the Ground Zero Blues Club.
Performer at the Ground Zero Blues Club.

Performer at the Ground Zero Blues Club.
Performer at the Ground Zero Blues Club.

Sam Mitchell is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at smitche3@go.olemiss.edu.

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