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Street Talk

Water Valley’s Own, Leigh Ann Black, Earns ‘Emerging Professional Award’  


This column may seem like a repeat from last week. The Farmers Market was rained out again. This time Tropical Storm Cindy just rained and rained, though the forecast was actually a bit gloomier than the actual results. But the Friday afternoon plan looks good this week, with cooler temps and drier air. See you under the big magnolia on Friday from 3 to 6:30 pm for a fresh start to a long Fourth of July weekend. I did have some special delivery tomatoes from Tony Chandler, they’re huge and often the big ones aren’t so tasty. Not with Tony’s Mudline monsters. Pure tomato sandwich heaven. 


Like last week’s column I’m talking about architects again this week. Water Valley presented an overview of the last 10 years on this Main Street to the American Institute of Architects, the Mississippi chapter, annual conference. The talk and images were well received. The presentation showed before and after images of 17 of the 30 buildings that have been renovated downtown.  


Half of those 30 were reclaimed from empty structures to once again alive with people. We listed individually and thanked the 20 architect professionals who have helped us. The thing about getting downtown back is not only getting buildings functioning again, but getting people back in buildings. So that architecture is not the art of making structures, but how we fit into them.


One of those pros we thanked and who was also recognized by the AIA was Water Valley’s own Leigh Ann  Black. She was awarded the “Emerging Professional Award” for her hard work and serving her community through design. It is a serious award, a recognition by her senior colleagues of her dedication and effort and results. You may not know this, but just graduating from college with an architectural degree does not make you a bona fide architect. 


Nope, you still need to work and draw and get some time in the field before you can say you are officially one. It is not easy. Leigh Ann has been working all over the United States the last decade-plus and she is now back in Mississippi making a positive difference.


There’s two music events this week bringing people into reclaimed spaces. Both on Saturday. 


At the Old School Theater on South Main the band La Fusion plays and really makes the place vibrate and shake like you like it.  The action starts at 7 pm. 


And at the Hendricks Machine Shop, home to Yalobusha Brewery, there is music and beer and a celebration starting at 4 pm. Effective this Saturday, July 1st, the brewery has the legal right to be a brewpub. It has been a several year statewide legal effort to get the law passed to where Mississippi can be like the other 49 states in having such a combination. Head out to both and celebrate the return of these two spaces, the effort to bring them back, and start your Independence Day weekend a good way.

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