The Middle South



St. Louis to New Orleans, back to St. Louis, mostly via back roads with van repairs in Jackson Mississippi.

Observations along the way: 

The System Has Failed Us, Fuck Donald Trump” (Graffiti on side of a house, Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans)

HILLARY NO” (Large sign, rural farm in Mississippi, two days before the Inauguration)

It seems like every town experienced a 20 percent reduction in population since 2010. (In reality, rural and small towns grew 2.6% in Arkansas; .6% in Louisiana; and .2% in Mississippi — compared to 9.7% for the population as a whole between 2000 and 2010)

State borders matter – enter into Mississippi from Louisiana or Arkansas and you enter a new world.

Floods and tornadoes mark much of the landscape in the middle South.

The renewal of the Confederacy is very much on display in the rural south. Flag shops are a significant business. A popular Confederate flag: “The South will rise again.

There is so much natural beauty in unexpected places.

We are sick of being dog-cussed about our education system.” (John Moore, chair of the Mississippi House Committee on Education on the radio)

The physical condition of many public schools is appalling.

I call this Cajun therapy.” (Air Boat captain describing the peace and tranquility of drifting on the bayou)

There is a ton of property for sale along the gulf coast, but at the same time rapid development of new businesses and homes high up on posts.

Parks are virtually empty in the winter – Johnson Shut-ins in Missouri is magnificent.

Best catfish ever at the Chill and Grill in Eudora, Arkansas, the Catfish Capital of the World.

2 thoughts on “The Middle South

  1. Thanks for sharing! Deep dive in rural culture.

    Tonya E. Edmond, Ph.D. (pronouns: she/her/hers)
    Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, Associate Professor
    George Warren Brown School of Social Work
    Provost Faculty Fellow
    Washington University in St. Louis
    Campus Box 1196
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130

    [o] 314.935.8131 [f] 314.935.8511 [e]

    Brown School | Washington University

    “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can”


  2. Eddie and Betsy,

    Thanks for sharing these fascinating glimpses and insights and musings — you had some great experiences on those old blue highways!

    David and Sandi


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