Stories for March 2003


Saturday, March 29

FOOD: Al Fresco Dining: A Sin?

Had God intended us to experience fine dining out-of-doors, he would have created Schimmel's as a group of picnic tables scattered around a vacant lot on North State Street. The mere existence of china, crystal and air conditioning communicate the Almighty's intent as clearly as that burning-bush thing. Civilized people are to eat indoors. Period.

High-Tech Faith

In a stylish suit and tie, the man standing at the front of the sanctuary bore little resemblance to the devil. No horns protruded through his mop of white hair, and no tail was visible. Critics may not accuse former monk John Dominic Crossan of being Lucifer, but they appear to believe the two are on a first-name basis.

Back to the City

At least one business that left Jackson for the suburbs is back. Max Contemporary Furnishings, which in its 28 years of operation has moved from the city to Ridgeland and back to Jackson, opened a bigger, better and brighter showroom in the newly opened Fondren Corner two weeks ago. Owner and interior designer Tommie Goodman said she likes the idea of being based in a community-oriented neighborhood like Fondren. The new store features bright yellow, purple and green walls and tons of trendy furniture throughout its multi-room retails space.

LADD: Talk About Freedom

Join another vigil for peace and safety of the troops Sunday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in front of the Eastland Courthouse on West Capitol Street downtown. This column is dedicated to Todd Allen, who showed up one day to help distribute the Jackson Free Press because he believes in our mission. He is a peace-lover and an Army chaplain who is now en route to the Middle East. Godspeed.

Wednesday, March 26

These Eyes Can See

Another $4,500 is needed to help fund this April's migration project. Please donate to these Lanier High School kids if you can. See LoungeBlog above for details.

Tuesday, March 25

EVERS: ‘I Cannot Support This War'

I'm against the war. I think it's uncalled for, too expensive, and physically, mentally and economically not worth it. The president hasn't proved to me, yet, that we're justified going in and killing innocent people—not only Iraqi women and children, but Americans. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and brothers and sisters will have to fight a war that has not been proven necessary. I've been a Republican since the Nixon administration, but I don't agree with everything Republicans do, or everything Democrats do. Americans have the right to differ with their own party; they don't always have to sing the same tune or dance the same dance.

FOOD: Leave No Sushi Behind

"Don't even try the stuff if you're not gonna be able to afford it," they warned me. Young, brash and eager to experience big-city life, I recklessly plunged into the nether world of the South Florida bar scene. Sushi bar, that is. I had just moved to Miami and was already hooked. While the hoi polloi of Coconut Grove were blowing hundreds of dollars up their snouts, I was developing an expensive sushi habit.

You Can't Play Baseball Without A Cup

Dr. S is weary of hearing sports fans say "Jackson never gets any big-college events." Not true, and tonight's Adjutant General's Cup is another example. Southern Miss, which is ranked No. 24 in the nation will play Mississippi Valley State, a baseball program on the rise, at Smith-Wills Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Call 362-2294 for tickets. This is the kind of game this city has been asking for, so how about putting your money where your mouth is?

Monday, March 24

Love My Labyrinth, Baby

A labyrinth, geodesic dome and solar water pre-heater in Jackson? They are just a few of the exhibits that will be featured at the free Mississippi Vision 2020 Future Fair and Film Festival at Millsaps College Wednesday, March 26, through Saturday, March 29. The Sustainability Film Festival, part of Millsaps' "Green Semester," will kick off the events on Wednesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The films featured will explore our relationship with our planet and how to build a sustainable global environment through communities, companies and economies.

WIGGS: Give T-Shirts a Chance!

Does freedom of expression still exist in the U.S.? Mark Wiggs explores.

Sunday, March 23

Yes, I Am a Smoker

For the last several months, I've been giving you facts, figures, ideas, and arguments about various ailments and health-improvement techniques. This time I want to get up-close and personal. I want to come out of the closet. I want to tell you this: I am a smoker. That's right, I'm a wellness writer who smokes.

TEST DRIVE: Hunting Hybrids

When Mr. K—Ms. D's brother—is in town, he and I have a tendency to disappear for hours at a time. If you happen to reach me by cell phone during one of our excursions, you'd likely find that we're in a new vehicle from a local dealership, one of us manning the controls while the other peppers the hapless salesperson with questions about the mileage, the engine's power, the quality of materials, the mindset of the workers who built the car, the exact chemical composition of the flecked plastic dashboard insets …

Hanging with Artists

"How did you spend your Spring Break?" "I don't know, I slept late, went to the mall, watched TV. How 'bout you?" "In a room with 11 other artists creating artwork all week that will hang at different venues all year. I discovered I really like print-making, and I have some contacts to help me build a portfolio of my graphic art so I can illustrate my own cartoons one day."

Friday, March 21

AVANT GARDENS: Winter Takes on Spring

Norman Winter's idea of a perfect day is my idea of a nightmare. The 51-year-old garden guru enjoys planting, pruning and weeding, and he has a golden tan and wardrobe of his trademark Hawaiian shirts to prove it. I, on the other hand, have nothing to do with plants (particularly ones that are still in the ground), and I have the pasty, pale complexion to prove it. So, at the very least, I knew that getting to know one of the South's most knowledgeable horticulturists was going to be interesting … for both of us.

It Was the Moment

It annoys me when publishers change the cover of a book to match the film adaptation. I know it sells more books ("The Hours" recently shot up to No. 5 on The New York Times bestseller list, and even "Mrs. Dalloway"—the 1925 novel by Virginia Woolf that inspired it—has been hovering at No. 11). The problem is, if the movie doesn't work as an adaptation, then the book covers are cursed with shiny, modern pictures of movie stars.

Navonda Moore

Sitting in McAllister's Deli, with her hair pulled back and up, ponytail style, her elbows on the table and chin resting comfortably on her hands, Navonda Moore looks like an average teenager. She is not. After moving to Mississippi from Kankkakee, Ill., at age 8, Moore later played basketball for Hardy Junior High and Murrah High School. "I always wanted to be around basketball," she says, "but I didn't play organized ball until I was in the 7th grade. I realized I had natural ability, and I wanted to use it." She has. At Murrah she was named All State, three-time Dandy Dozen senior forward, state tournament MVP, and as a senior, she will play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game March 22 in Alabama.

The Greatest Lie

It was press night, and all sorts of people were lining up to ask me stuff so we could put this issue to bed. But I had to leave for a couple hours, to go to Millsaps to hear one of my favorite professors initiate the Medgar Evers Lecture Series. This wasn't one of my Mississippi State profs. This was Dr. Manning Marable, the man who a thousand miles away at Columbia University taught me more about the Southern Civil Rights Movement—or what he calls the Black Freedom Movement—than I ever learned on the home soil. Most importantly, Marable affirmed my belief—the only white woman in his "Black Intellectualism" graduate-school class—that it's right, no, necessary for white people to embrace and understand African-American history. In fact, blacks and whites in this country—not to mention Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and others—have a shared history that cannot be understood if part of it is left out.

Smith-Wills Stadium: Field of Dreams?

Still thinking, "I could be a pro baseball player if I only got a break." Well, put down the box cutter and pick up your glove. The Jackson Senators are holding a tryout. Baseball glory awaits you (maybe).

Marathon Woman

I'm doing a crazy thing this summer. It's a little bit self-serving, but mostly it could benefit a few million people that I will never meet. In January, I joined Team Diabetes, a fund-raising and awareness program sponsored by the American Diabetes Association for folks who want to train to run a full or half marathon while raising funds for the association. Yes, I'm gonna run a marathon. This time last year I believed that one should only run if being chased. Today, I'm already running nine miles. As I train over the next few months, my eyes are on one prize: the Kona Marathon in Hawaii. I am indeed traveling a great distance both physically and mentally to meet my destiny at the end of that finish line.

Thursday, March 20

Saddam: Jackal in Winter

What is going through the mind of Saddam Hussein as he waits for the American avalanche to bury him? Not exile. In this end game, Saddam is trying to come up with a way to enshrine himself as an Arab hero. Like any doomed man, Hussein is probably wondering where it all went wrong. But no one who has spent 35 years at the center of power in a country where the losers usually die can have many illusions. Saddam knows that he and his sons will almost certainly be dead by April.

Tuesday, March 18

Uniform Excellence

Oddly enough, Dr. S has read some of his favorite sports stories in the Village Voice. Nobody has ever quite covered sports the way the Voice does. Much of the "hip" tone and style you read in today's sports sections and magazines was being done in the Voice 20 years ago, particularly in the Jockbeat notes column. The latest issue includes a very interesting story on one of Dr. S' favorite topics: uniforms. (All-time greatest high school uniforms: Laurel High. Blood and gold, baby.) Obviously, Dr. S is not the only sports fan who loves this topic; although some are more obsessive than others. Much more obsessive.

Monday, March 17

Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue?

With the United States under violent assault since Sept. 11, 2001, American citizens have reeled from the size and scope of the assault and wondered whether ours really is a kind and gentle nation. We don't understand the reasons for the attack; in fact, we profess to abhor violence. Are we, at heart, a kind and gentle nation?

MUSIC: Chicks Who Rock

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the works Thy hand hath made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed; then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, how great Thou art. How great Thou Art …

Love, Not Blood

To protest a war on Iraq, on Monday, March 3, Millsaps College joined others in all 50 states and 59 countries in one of 1,004 simultaneous performances of Aristophanes' Greek comedy, "Lysistrata." In the play, the women of ancient Greece protest a war their men are waging by withholding pleasure, so to speak. The men can only take it so long and sign a peace treaty. The play was originally presented in 411 BC when Greece was in the 20th year of a bloody 30-year war to raise public awareness.

Ain't Easy Being Green

Lifelong Mississippian and local folk musician Sherman Lee Dillon made history on the morning of Thursday, Feb. 27, when he filed a statement of intent and announced his candidacy for governor, becoming the first person in Mississippi to run for public office on the Green Party ticket. However, instead of spending the night previous to his big announcement schmoozing with potential donors or hunkered down in campaign headquarters, Sherman Lee and his band, the Tuff Nutts, entertained a crowd at Hal & Mal's, as they often do. Except for a brief, private interview, no public mention was made of Dillon's political aspirations. Even as his campaign manager Landon Huey sipped a non-libation near the stage and wrote out a speech by hand, Dillon went on about the business of giving his fans what they came for…good music.

Sunday, March 16

[JFP Classic] Mississippi: A Sad State for Women?

Sure, it may feel that way for at least one weekend in March in Jackson. But after the parade, "chicks rule" is still not exactly the state of affairs in the Magnolia State—not by a long shot. Just look at the line-up of our Washington representatives. The local political columnists in the daily newspaper. The anti-abortion crosses on the Capitol lawn. The confused looks when we get loud and pushy. We can scream all we want about women's rights, and pay equity, and reproductive freedom, and how great and strong women are here in Mississippi, but the truth stings mightily: Mississippi is not even the 50th worst place in the United States for women. We're No. 51, behind the other 49 states and the District of Columbia.

[JFP Classic] 13 Myths About War in Iraq

The Internet has played a major role in the current debate over war in Iraq. Recently, a group of online "mythbusters" involved in the project went one step further. They posted a summary of key claims made by the proponents of war and then invited hundreds of people to offer suggestions on how to respond. The following is the result of this exchange. The complete document, with more than 120 footnotes from mainstream and primary sources, is online at

Tuesday, March 11

40 Years Ago, Maroons Made History

"Ghosts of Mississippi" is an excellent article in the latest Sports Illustrated on the 1963 Mississippi State basketball team which, backed by a courageous college president, defied a court order and went to play black players in the NCAA Tournament. Even if you think you know everything about this story, Dr. S guarantees that writer Alexander Wolff has unearthed much that you don't know. Check it out.

Monday, March 10

The Chicks' Guide to Living Dangerously in Jackson

Ladies, here's what you need to know to live, drink, eat and shop dangerously in the lovely metropolis of Jackson, Miss. (Guide for chicks 21 and older.) Have fun, and do what you gotta do. We sure won't tell anybody.

FOOD: Bilbo, Castro and Joe DiMaggio

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

I came across a piece recently in the Jackson Free Press about one of the great journalists of our time and geography, Bill Minor. The story reminded me that Bill's first assignment in Mississippi was to cover the Aug. 23, 1947, funeral of the controversial "wiry little senator," Theodore G. Bilbo. The fiery demagogue was to be laid to rest near his beloved Dream House, a mansion of 27 rooms that was built with the sweat and broken backs of the people of Mississippi, to the tune of populism and in the key of white supremacy. In the near-freezing, sleepless dark of last evening, I arose to reread the Bilbo articles from Minor's fine collection of his columns, "Eyes on Mississippi."

Elizabeth Robinson

Elizabeth Robinson did not take art classes while enrolled at the Mississippi University for Women. Until the school featured a 20-year retrospective of her work, she did not even know where the art department was located. In fact, glass sculpture wasn't located anywhere on her personal radar until, in 1980, she needed a job and went to work for Andy Young at the Pearl River Glass Studio, to help manage the place. "You couldn't work in that environment without developing a vocabulary for glass," says the auburn-haired glass artist and entrepreneur. And so, for the next 10 years, Robinson immersed herself in the world of glass, learning from Young and from Susan Ford, a local glassblower.


"It was my first time, I promise," a tearful teenage girl says, as she shifts her eyes everywhere except on the guy sitting beside her. "I swear, I've never done anything like this before," she continues hopefully. He is unmoved by her display of remorse. This is the most common response; she's just been caught attempting to steal clothing from his store. He's heard the same excuses too many times, and he is fed up.

Sunday, March 9

Let's Just Be Friends

Old Mississippi wouldn't have allowed them to be friends. Back in the 1960s, when Cornelius "C" Turner, a black man, was fighting for civil rights in the state, he could have been run out of town for playfully cavorting with a local white restaurateur. The White Citizens Council might have boycotted Malcolm White's business had it been around then and served the likes of Turner. Today, the two men eat, drink, laugh and try to continue healing racial wounds together.

WIGGS: Sweet Potato Power

<i>What one Jackson man gleans from the Sweet Potato madness. </i>

My mother and father each grew up with sisters and started off wanting some boys to balance the genealogical mix a bit. They wound up with four sons. "Be careful what you wish for," my mom was wont to say, especially stuck in the house late on a rainy afternoon with thrown objects whizzing through the air around her. With all those brothers around, my early years at home centered around sports (including our own fraternal version of studio wrestling in the living room), pranks on the unwary, eating everything in sight and other guy-type pursuits. Given these conditions, one might wonder where I first encountered any hint of feminine influence on my worldview. My mother was definitely outnumbered and, sad to admit, all of us guys ignored her good advice every once in a while.

BRUNO: Day of the Diva

From Delilah to Diana Ross, from Salome to Sade, and Helen of Troy to Madonna the Boy Toy, legendary, world-changing women have wielded their feminine power with greatness and relevance. But are they divas? Vanity, narcissism and ego have become synonymous with the word, but diva simply means "goddess." If you're a woman, you're a diva, and in the words of Diana "The Boss" Ross, "We is terrific."

Me and Willie Hoyt

Willie Hoyt was a character. My mom met him when I was in the fourth grade. My father had died a couple years earlier after a long illness, she was lonely, and Willie Hoyt, an enlisted man, was on leave from Vietnam. He was a smooth talker, extremely funny, and a heavy drinker and smoker who had been in the Army since before the Korean War where he had been on the front lines and been awarded a Silver Star. He'd watched his best friend die in Korea by his side. He'd had a tough childhood, never married, and never had kids of his own.

Thursday, March 6

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

OK, Ole Miss basketball fans, you can quit worrying about whether your beloved Rebels are going to the NCAA or NIT. They're not going anywhere. Sure, mathematically, they might still have a chance. But after losing their 10th straight game, 77-64 t0 LSU, Ole Miss' only chance of going to postseason play again is if the Rebels win the SEC Tournament. (Won't happen).

Tuesday, March 4

Catch Lanier and Provine LIVE on ETV !

Top-ranked high schools Lanier and Provine have made it

state champion Lanier, top-ranked in The Clarion Ledger poll and rated17th nationally by USA Today, advanced to 31-3. The Bulldogs aim fortheir 14th state title and Lanier coach Thomas Billups' sixth gold ballagainst fifth-ranked Provine, 25-5. The Rams will be making theirfourth appearance in the state championship game, and first since 1999 whenthey were defeated by Lanier 65-60.

Monday, March 3

FOOD: Monroe's Holey Trinity

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Deadly Weapons

A discombobulated drug addict jumps in an unattended SUV in West Jackson and takes off. Police track the vehicle and then take off in hot pursuit when the criminal flees. Pedestrians and other drivers rush to get out of the way. Driving at dangerous speeds, the SUV hits cars along the side of the road and plows into an embankment, as the police gain on him and eventually apprehend the car thief. The car is totaled.

‘Waited 36 Years'

On Aug. 19, 1966, at 8:30 p.m. the Beatles were at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tenn. I was not. Mama wouldn't take me. I was in the 10th grade at Leland High School, and a group of my friends and I wanted to go. Not a mama from the bunch would take us. We all pitched such a fit that when Herman's Hermits rolled around months later, the mamas loaded us up in Eleanor Fielder's station wagon, the two-tone kind with the wood-grain sides, and hauled us all to Memphis. Since this was my first concert experience, I deemed Herman's Hermits fab, but they were not the Beatles. I promised myself that someday I would see the Beatles perform. Ten days after that Memphis concert, in San Francisco's Candlestick Park, the Beatles performed what would be their last concert. Who knew?

EDWARDS: In Search of Jackson's Black Heritage

IT WAS JUNE 26, 1966, when the "March Against Fear," a protest walk from Memphis to Jackson organized by James Meredith to repudiate violence against blacks who tried to vote, reached its destination in downtown Jackson. This date has shared importance for me because it also happens to be my birthday, so I feel content knowing that on that day tens of thousands of marchers waited to hear from some of the Civil Rights Movement's most influential leaders here in Jackson. Along with Meredith, this list included Martin Luther King Jr. and NAACP leaders Charles Evers and Aaron Henry.

LADD: Hoofbeaters Make It Real

Remember the reception to honor the Murrah Hoofbeat staff Tuesday, March 4, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center (downtown at 528 Bloom Street). Come have cookies and punch, and congratulate these young journalists.