May 12, 2011 |
RENA LARA, Miss. - Floodwaters from the bloated Mississippi River and its tributaries spilled across farm fields, cut off churches, washed over roads, and forced people from their homes Wednesday in the Mississippi Delta, a poverty-stricken region only a generation or two removed from sharecropping days. People used boats to navigate flooded streets as the crest rolled slowly downstream, bringing misery to poor, low-lying communities. Hundreds have left their homes in the Delta in the last several days as the water rose toward some of the highest levels on record.
May 11, 2011 |
TUNICA, Miss. - The bulging Mississippi River rolled into the fertile Mississippi Delta on Tuesday, threatening to swamp antebellum mansions, wash away shotgun shacks, and destroy fields of cotton, rice, and corn in a flood of historic proportions. The river took aim at one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the country after cresting before daybreak at Memphis just inches short of the record set in 1937. Some low-lying neighborhoods were inundated, but the city's high levees protected much of the rest of Memphis.
May 11, 2011 |
TUNICA, Miss. - The bulging Mississippi River rolled into the fertile Mississippi Delta yesterday, threatening to swamp antebellum mansions, wash away shotgun shacks, and destroy fields of cotton, rice and corn in a flood of historic proportions. The river took aim at one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the country after cresting before daybreak at Memphis, Tenn., just inches short of the record set in 1937. Some low-lying neighborhoods were inundated, but the city's high levees protected much of the rest of Memphis.
May 7, 2011 |
MEMPHIS - The Coast Guard closed a stretch of the swollen Mississippi to barge traffic Friday in a move that could cause a backup along the mighty river, while police farther south in Memphis went door to door, warning thousands of people to leave before they get swamped. Emergency workers in Memphis handed out bright yellow fliers in English and Spanish that read: "Evacuate!!! Your property is in danger right now. " All the way south into the Mississippi Delta, people faced the question of whether to stay or go as high water rolled down the Big Muddy and backed up along its tributaries, breaking flood records that have stood since the Depression.
April 4, 2010 |
I stopped my car on the tabletop of the Mississippi Delta. A blistering sun bore down on fields that stretched for miles. Stepping out onto the blacktop, I mopped my forehead. It was mid-June but the Delta sweltered. Here I was in the land of B.B. King, yet the thrill was gone. When I arrived in Mississippi, the thrill of being in "the land where the blues began" soothed my airport blues. But now, as bluesmen often sang, the minutes seemed like hours and the hours seemed like days.
August 31, 2005
HURRICANE KATRINA, deadly and destructive, has disrupted U.S. oil supplies, sending the worldwide price of oil over $71 a barrel on Monday. The hurricane shut down major deep-water ports in the Mississippi delta - which account for about a quarter of U.S. oil. If rivers are clogged with silt stirred up from the storm, it's going to be more expensive to transport oil in the near term. But even if the oil tap gets turned back on quickly, cheap gas isn't coming back. Ever. So we're even more thankful that the Rendell administration last spring found a way, however imperfect, to keep 16 public-transit systems in Pennsylvania from having to drastically increase fares and cut services.
August 5, 1999 |
There is a passage early on in North Toward Home where Willie Morris, then 22, finds himself in Paris and telephones the writer Richard Wright. Morris introduces himself as a "white boy" from Yazoo City, the town on the edge of the Mississippi Delta that both Morris and Wright called home. "We went out to an Arab bar and got a little drunk together, and talked about the place we both had known," Morris wrote. "I asked him, 'Will you ever come back to America?' 'No,' he said. 'I want my children to grow up as human beings.
February 26, 1999 |
Mose Allison, to paraphrase one of his songs, doesn't worry about a thing, 'cause he knows nothing's gonna be all right. That's the bluesman in Mose talking, the guy who grew up in Mississippi during the Depression and actually picked cotton. But the real Mose Allison, the Long Island country squire, amateur ornithologist, science buff and stand-up guy, doesn't share such a fatalistic view. Life has been good, said Allison, who has been married for 46 years, has four children, and has recorded 30 albums.
January 10, 1999 |
It's a big, plain hand-painted sign on the side of an old barn. The words on the ramshackle building, on a country road a few miles east of U.S. Highway 61 outside Cleveland, Miss., are easy to spot. They say: "DOCKERY FARMS, EST. 1895. " This was the source, the cotton plantation, where, in the early part of the 20th century, Charlie Patton, the first great Delta bluesman, worked and lived - and influenced generations of blues musicians. Robert Johnson, a key figure in early Delta blues, learned from him. His music also inspired Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and others who moved to Chicago in the 1940s, where their music became the "electric urban blues" that were the headwaters of rock and roll.
October 20, 1996 |
I agonize over going to Mississippi. Whenever I schedule a trip to the Magnolia State, I feel a sense of muted dread, a dull foreboding that steals sleep in the nights leading up to the trip. As a black Southerner, my psyche is simply too laden with the weight of that state's history. It's a historical perspective shared by many African Americans, and one the state earned, dating to the days of slavery. The unending rigors of clearing the Delta's wilderness to get at the rich farmland, the unrelenting whips of many plantation overseers and the unabated spread of diseases made an already hellish life even more so. Slaves dreaded being sold to the Delta plantations more than just about any of the myriad horrors that could befall them, according to James C. Cobb's book, The Most Southern Place on Earth.