Southern Comfort – Our Day in Mississippi

We crossed the world’s longest continuous bridge over water, driving over Lake Pontchartrain, on our way out of New Orleans towards Memphis. One could almost run a full marathon over it, coming in at 23 miles. Don’t you love all the running analogy coming from me!

First real day of driving
First real day of driving

Driving up the highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta, criss-crossing paths with the river, our first stop was Jackson. We must have listened and screamed aloud the Uptown Funk song at least 11 times just to say “Jackson, Mississippi”. Our lunch stop was a very local soul food joint – Bully’s Soul Food, where Ollie and Katie stuck out like sore thumbs, being the only white people in the place and for about 50 miles around. They both swore to get some more tan. The hosts were very welcoming and warm, and despite our unusual request of vegetarian food, they filled our bellies with southern goodness.

Mississippi Delta
Veggie BBQ Soul Food - nom nom
Veggie BBQ Soul Food – nom nom

Our next stop was for coffee in the historic town of Vicksburg. (Notice how our stops are always for food, not sure we look for places to see or places to eat on the way!) This is where the Mississippi meets the Yazoo river. After visiting the museum where the first Coca Cola was bottled, we sat on the shore and watched a patriotic-looking paddlewheel Cruise set sail.

Heading South to NOLA
Heading South to NOLA

Juke Joint is an informal establishment featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking, primarily run by African American people in the southeast America. Po’Monkey’s is one of the last original juke joints, opened in 1963. Our GPS told us to “make a left on the unpaved path” as we drove into a huge cotton field and under a street light, we found the shack. This is actually his house, which he opens up to people every Thursday night. Scared again of standing out in the crowd, we were delighted to meet Willie “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry, who is a very funny 75-year-old man. There was very good music being played while the crowd was being entertained by Po’Monkey himself.

Inside Po' Monkeys
Inside Po’ Monkeys
Katie & I with Po' Monkey
Katie & I with Po’ Monkey

Our night halt, in Clarksdale, MS, was yet another southern gem – the Shack Up Inn. Not easy to find, it was right behind the railway tracks running in the Hopson Cotton Commissary. This was one of the first cotton plantations to move to mechanical means of cotton picking, thus starting the “Great Migration” of 6 million African Americans out of the south and up north in search of more work. Our ‘Sunset’ shack was quite cozy, as we woke up to small airplanes dusting the crops, with our morning coffee on the porch. The otherwise wonderful stay was marred by the sighting of a cockroach, who always make an appearance when Katie is around!

Crop Dusting in Clarksdale
Crop Dusting in Clarksdale
Ollie relaxing outside our
Ollie relaxing outside our “Sunset” Shack
Hopson Plantation Commissary
Hopson Plantation Commissary
Mode of transport for the remainder of our trip
Mode of transport for the remainder of our trip

Could we have asked for more southern charm and quirkiness in one day!? Next stop Memphis!

Places Visited:

  • Jackson, MS
  • Vicksburg, MS
  • Clarksdale, MS

Recommended Vegetarian Eats:

  • Bully’s Soul Food (get all the veggie sides!), Jackson
  • Lost Pizza Co., Cleveland

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