Monday, May 3, 2010

AMERICANA

Several special places to write about while we're in the Miss Lou area. (that's what the locals call Mississippi/Louisiana areas) Loved them....right up our alley. Mammy's Cupboard is a restaurant built inside a 28 foot tall black woman's skirt. Mammy's been around dating back to the 1940's and has been many many things - gas station, store, a restaurant several times. At this time it appears she's been spruced up quite a bit, but Mammy's ethnicity is questionable at this time. She may be a Natchez Indian now. To look at her from Highway 61 south of Natchez she reminds you of Mrs. Butterworth.

At this time the menu is so appealing that people come from all over just to eat at Mammy's. Cooking is southern - meat and three; everyday is a different special; however, you can order salads, soups and they are all homemade. The BIG draw is always the desserts - homemade hummingbird cake being at the top of the favorites. There's even the caramel banana pie - you know the one where you boil the unopened can of sweetened evaporated milk for hours and fill the pie crust that has sliced bananas, and then you sprinkle a crushed Heath bar on top of the whipped cream?! You need to get there fast - they're only open from 11 - 2 Tuesday through Friday - and enter Mammy's skirt. Is it worth it? You betcha.

The next "you gotta see this" is in Ferriday, LA, in Concordia Parish, minutes away from Natchez. The Delta Music Museum, previously known as the Ferriday Museum, is housed in the old post office. Ferriday has the distinction of being the birthplace of Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, (all first cousins), as well as blues trombonist Leon "PeeWee" Whittaker. Other notables, also Ferriday natives are Howard K. Smith, newscaster, and Ann Boyar Warner (2nd wife of Warner Bros. mogul Jack Warner). We enjoyed the Star Hall of Fame outside the entrance that recognizes a new musician every year since 2002. Just a few of the list of inductees (all from the Mississippi Delta region) are: Former Louisiana Governor James Houston "Jimmie Davis", Conway Twitty, Aaron Neville, Allen "Puddler" Harris, Percy Sledge, Johnny Horton, Irma Thomas (from Ponchatoula, LA), Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Fats Domino, and a few others I can't remember.

RV and I spent the morning looking at old film clips, listening to performances we had long since forgotten, and thoroughly enjoyed all the items that had been donated by the musicians' friends and families. The museum exists off sales of souvenirs and contributions (I found a guitar- shaped fly swatter!). It was a nice slice of Americana, and we're thankful museums such as this one are tucked all over our country.

Off the subject a little, but also in Ferriday, Jerry Lee Lewis' sister, Frankie Jean, gives personal tours of their still-inhabited childhood home to total strangers...donations expected, of course. Personal photos, bills, momentos, clothes, guns, scrapbooks, posters, all over the house and she gives little snippets of their life. As if that wasn't enough, the house also incorporates a drive-through liquor store at the side (no walk ups). This one is out of the Twilight Zone. In a way it kind of reminded us of Buford Pusser's home tour in McNairy County, TN. sans liquor drive thru.
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