Blues Trail Marker A Possibility For Town
By Mickey Howley
P.J. Blount is a space lawyer. Space as in outer space, the final frontier, space as “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” He works for the University of Mississippi. I don’t know what his job entails, but I do know he travels a lot for work to exotic cold places: Korea, Sweden, Poland, New York City.
He also manages several space law blogs and websites. He even has a website for the renovation work on his house in Water Valley. P.J. is also the vice president of the Water Valley Main Street Association. He just updated the WVMSA website, changing it from a static electronic brochure to constantly changing electronic post board of what is happening in town and on Main Street. This rotating of the home page, where news and events are being often updated is called “churn”. This idea behind churn is to have people checking the website periodically to see what is new. So check P.J.’s work, the website address is the same www.watervalleymainstreet.com. See if this churns for you.
Scott Barretta also works for the University of Mississippi. He is the “Blues Guy” for Ole Miss, for lack of a better job description. That means archival work, research, history, the Highway 61 Blues radio show and investigation for the Mississippi Blues Trail.
It was in this Blues Trail Marker capacity that he was in Water Valley last Monday night. Scott talked about how the Blues Trail is not only about the music but how blues as a distinctly Mississippi based art form came to be heard worldwide. The earliest mechanism for blues distribution was the railroads. Quite literally, blues musicians traveled on the railroads. So there is a real blues connection with Water Valley’s railroad history in general and with the Casey Jones song in particular. This links Water Valley’s railroad museum to the state’s blues heritage. The Blues Marker Trail project helps our state’s economic development. That is why the Mississippi Develop-ment Authority is sponsoring it. The trail map brings tourists to places they would not normally stop in to see.
Scott said blues aficionados’ travel to Mississippi from all over the world, and the trail system gives them a path to see where music and events took place. Prior to the Blues Trail, folks had to find these locations by doing their own individual research. Scott said the Blues Trail also works with museums, from the 15 million dollar B.B. King museum in Indianola to local town museums like ours. Both the Blues Trail project and Main Street work in a similar vein on local, economic, and historic awareness, visibility and development.
And speaking of economic development: Two new businesses opened on Main Street: last week Rounder’s Pizza opened. They are in the old “Pizza Church” building right next to the Main Attraction. This Friday April 8th from 6 to 10 pm Yalo Studio is having their grand opening. They are in the old barbershop building next to the BTC Grocery. Check out both new businesses. It is great to see both buildings back in action and filled with people. More life on Main Street.