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Street Talk

Herald Videos Offer View Of Valley Life

By Mickey Howley

Here at the Water Valley Main Street Association we get phone calls. Often they are from other Main Street towns in Mississippi. The great thing about being in a network of 50 other towns through out the state is that if you see something a town is doing that looks like it might work for your town, a helpful voice is just a phone call away.

Last week Pascagoula called us about a few things we have done. Columbia called too. For North Mississippi towns, it is often better to visit and see; a trip to Pontotoc the week before last, and by the time you read this, a ride to Senatobia for an architectural design talk will have just wrapped up. Of course, we are calling people for their ideas; Vicksburg, Port Gibson, Tupelo, and Moss Point.

Often these calls or visits are followed up with an e-mail exchange and with digital links to show what is going on in Water Valley. One of the tools we use to show how life is in Water Valley is the online video resource the North Missis-sippi Herald has been building. These videos are online at and the easiest way I know of to see them is type in the search line “jackgurner”. That’s right, Jack has made well over 100 short videos (usually no more than 90 seconds each) documenting Water Valley life. His latest video is of the just finished ArtCamp for Kids. If you watch this clip you’ll get a pretty good idea that the kids were having creative fun. Plus you’ll get a glimmer of all the prep work that goes into putting this ArtCamp on. There was lots of hard work and planning by a large number of people on the Water Valley Arts Council all working to pull this weeklong event off.  One can always tell people how much effort an event was or how much fun people had, but if you show them, well, they get the idea. And Jack’s videos really do just that; they show the effort and the fun of events the WVMSA and WVAC has sponsored like the ArtCrawl or the Costume Dance or the Farmers Market or the high school pep rallies.

Jack does not have a video on the re-building of the old Parker building into the BTC Grocery. That would have had to been shot over a period of years. The building is one of our three state award winners this year (maybe dear readers you might have guessed by now how pleased I am about the WVMSA winning these three awards) as Best Adaptive Re-Use of a Historic Building. Kagan Coughlin has spent countless hours, quite often alone, working on this building. Working on these old structures is a labor of love (perhaps tough love), but the real dilemma is that these buildings are not a house providing a roof over your head, but commercial buildings, so on some level the restorations have to make economic sense. That’s why next week you will see David Preziosi from the Mississippi Heritage Trust walking about in town. He will document all the structures in our historic commercial district in preparation for our National Register of Historic Places nomination. This status, once we have it, will not eliminate the hard gritty work of renovation, but will provide a long-term economic incentive for those who will continue to save downtown.

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