Monday, June 17, 2013

Way Down South

Wanted to check in - I've been visiting family in Natchez, Mississippi, attending a large family reunion.  My mom was one of 14 children, so it's a big deal.

I'd like to share a few photos before I settle back in and start painting.

I stayed out on the family farm with one of my mom's brothers and his wife.  It's heaven on earth, a million miles from any hustle and bustle.   I used to stay there as a little kid when I visited and when the sun went down at night, I was scared to death of the dark.  As an adult, it's paradise.  You can see every star in the sky.  It's just .... heaven on earth.




A fraction of the food brought in for the reunion ...




Under the Hill with the Mississippi River flowing by ....




And Nellie Jackson's famous whorehouse ...




When I was about 12 years old, one of my older cousins drove me by Nellie's on a Saturday night.  It was alive and well back then.  Patrons weren't allowed to come in through the front door, there was a driveway that took them to the back door, where they were greeted by Miss Nellie or one of her girls.

Miss Nellie ran the brothel for 60 years.  It is said she took a roll of film to the local drugstore every week to be developed and those photos were her insurance.  It worked for 6 decades.  In 1990, at the age of 87,  a 20-year old neighbor stumbled to the back door drunk and Miss Nellie refused service and told him to come back sober - it was a house rule.

The young man walked over to a gas station across the street and filled a cooler with gasoline and returned to Nellie's place and knocked on the back door.  When Miss Nellie opened the door, he threw the gas on her and lit a match.  Miss Nellie lived for a week and died from her burns - the man who murdered her didn't realize he spilled some of the gas on himself and suffered burns.

Miss Nellie was loved by a lot of the Natchez citizens for her sweet nature and generosity.  She was an avid baseball fan and was often seen around town with two or three of her white poodles.

Just a little Natchez history.





10 comments:

Sharon Alama Art said...

Wow- What a great story well told... Nellie had
real style.
That photo looks like a hand-tinted postcard.
I'll bet Nellie knows you'll do her proud with a painting of the house. ;)

Leslie Hawes said...

It's all so magical a place.
Thanks for sharing it.

Terri Buchholz said...

What a rich and colorful community that is! And I love that street view facing the river and those great smokestacks of the paddle wheel boat! It's sad that Miss Nellie's story ended so tragically. I can't wait to see the paintings that come out of this visit!

martinealison said...

Un endroit rempli de souvenirs...
Un billet très intéressant...
Je suis navrée pour Nelly, c'est affreux ce qui lui était arrivé.

Gros bisous à vous et bonne peinture !

Barbara Pask said...

Great story and such a conservative little house, you sure wouldn't expect that was going on in there. Love the family farm and I love being out in the country, the night sky is amazing isn't it? Enjoy yourself, I know you will. Food looks great too!

Nancy Colella said...

Great story and well told. Thanks for sharing...it's fun seeing slices of the lives of other painters. It's what motivates us!

suzanneberry said...

Beautiful shots and what an amazing story!!! I

Melisa said...

I have family there, too! I was raised very near there and we did all our shopping there. My cousin, who is a wonderful artist, lives there and we usually have our family reunions at her house. Lots of great subjects for painting there and I've always said I would do some. I even know people who have been to Nellie's but I won't give names, LOL.

Paul's Blog said...

Great story and terrific photos. Nice to visit family and stir childhood memories of places that look so different when we are adults.

Amanda Bilson said...

It certainly looks like heaven on earth. What a great story too. Thanks for sharing.