Thursday, December 2, 2010


Today, the Mississippi Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission unveiled its new website – – during an event held at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.

Mississippi State University worked with the commission to develop the website along with a logo. The university has also volunteered office space to house an executive director for the commission.

The commission’s mission is the recognition of the enduring legacy of the Mississippi experience in the American Civil War through public education, community participation and civic discussion thus expanding historical perspectives, contemporary relevance and economic opportunity.
Pictured from left to right: Mary Beth Wilkerson, MDA Tourism director; State Senator Lydia Chassaniol, chair of the Senate Tourism Committee; Bill Seratt, chairman of the Mississippi Sesquicentennial Commission; and Sarah McCullough, Culture & Heritage program manager for MDA Tourism.

Stay tuned for news and updates about activities planned around the state between 2011 and 2015. And visit for details.

Monday, November 29, 2010


A diverse crowd including blues artists, tourism officials and community members converged on the site of Bradfordville Blues Club in Tallahassee, Florida, for the unveiling of the newest marker on the Mississippi Blues Trailer on November 20.

Yes, the location was northern Florida, not Mississippi. Why? The musical ties between Florida and Mississippi run deep. North Florida’s urban clubs and rural roadhouses, including clubs that have operated at the historic Bradfordville location, have played an important role in the history of the Gulf Coast “chitlin circuit” for touring African American blues, jazz and R&B musicians. Mississippi-born artists B. B. King, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker and many more have performed and recorded in Florida while some Floridians, including bluesman Benny Latimore, recorded at studios in Mississippi as well.

Also, Florida has long provided work for traveling musicians with its many entertainment centers. Seasonal jobs in agriculture and other fields also drew itinerant bluesmen from Mississippi and other states. Several Mississippi musicians have recorded in Florida: John Lee Hooker and his cousin Earl Hooker, Ike Turner, Johnny O’Neal and Little Sammy Davis. Floridians who recorded in Mississippi include Pensacola bandleader Wally Mercer and Homestead native Tommy Tate, a vocalist/songwriter/drummer at Malaco Records in Jackson, where Miami’s Benny Latimore made many records. The interchange has also been saluted in songs such as “Mississippi Mud” by Ray Charles and “Deep Down in Florida” by Muddy “Mississippi” Waters.

The Bradfordville Blues Club marker is the 119th marker and the eighth marker dedicated outside of the state. Other out-of-state markers are located in Chicago; Memphis; Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Ferriday, Louisiana; Helena, Arkansas; Rockland, Maine; and Grafton, Wisconsin.

For more information about the Mississippi Blues Trail, visit or

(Photos courtesy of Larry Coltharp of Tallahassee, Florida)

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Than a Dozen of the Nation’s Top Radio Hosts and Bloggers Converge on Gulf Coast for Visit MS Coast Talk Radio Row Event

Mississippi Tourism Director Mary Beth Wilkerson being
interviewed by Alan Nathan on "Battle Line with
Alan Nathan" on the Main Street Radio Network
during Gulf Coast Radio Row.

(GULFPORT-BILOXI, MS) – A cutting-edge digital media campaign combining the intensity of some of America’s most influential radio hosts and bloggers will develop excitement and enthusiasm throughout the country this week as they travel to the Biloxi-Gulfport, MS area to interview Mississippians for a Visit Mississippi Coast Talk Radio Row Event.
At the largest radio and social media event in the history of Mississippi, more than a dozen of the nation’s top national and regional talk radio hosts and bloggers are traveling to the Biloxi-Gulfport area. They will be broadcasting live to millions of listeners and readers from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center on the Gulf Coast on Thursday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Nov. 19, 2010. 

MS Tourism with radio celeb Lars Larson
“As part of the Visit MS Coast multi-platform ‘Wish You Were Here’ marketing and public relations campaign, we have invited radio talk show hosts from key markets to broadcast live from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center on the Gulf Coast on Thursday, November 18 and Friday, November 19,” Mary Beth Wilkerson, director of Tourism for the Mississippi Development Authority.
The talk radio and blogger row is hosted by the Mississippi Development Authority and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The hosts and bloggers will help tell the story of how the Mississippi Gulf Coast is back after the Deepwater Spill, andfishing, golfing, hunting, crafts, restaurants, real estate, seafood and other industries are on the rebound and tourism and convention areas back in business.
Beaming hundreds of hours of radio coverage and dozens of online stories across the country on Gulf recovery;radio outlets include nationally syndicated programs: The Lars Larson Show; Doug Stephan's Good Day; Kate Delaney’s America Tonight; Battleline with Alan Nathan; and Talk Radio News’ Ellen Ratner and Lovisa Frost. Regional shows include: WGSO’s Jeff Crouere’s Ringside Politics with in New Orleans, LA; The Martha Zoller Show, heard statewide in Georgia; The Scott Hennen Show on AM1100 WZFG in Fargo, ND; WVVE in Panama City’s Angie Rose and Shawn Wild; Steve Bowers’ Daybreak on WNWS in Jackson, TN; George Russell’s The George Russell Experience from WSMN in Nashua, NH. Bloggers and online commentators and reporters include: Ed Morrissey from; Kerry Picket from The Washington Times; and Rob Port from the in North Dakota.

Hosts and bloggers will talk to business leaders, everyday people, workers, government, and community leaders. These great Mississippians will highlight the inspiring stories of the state emerging better and stronger than ever. More information, contact Sandy Bynum at 769.798.5178.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Washington County Welcome Center

The Washington County Welcome Center recently received a major facelift. But not only is the exterior more aesthetically pleasing, the interior now offers a comprehensive look at life in the Mississippi Delta with the Museum of Attractions and Tours, which officially opened today on the second level of the Welcome Center. Activities are planned all day to celebrate the grand opening. The new museum offers a great starting point for any visitor’s journey through the Mississippi Delta.

Exhibits tell the story of the Mississippi Delta with unique artifacts and memorabilia. One of Mississippi Slim’s colorful stage costumes adorns the exhibit area highlighting the Delta as the birthplace of blues music. (The man himself will entertain visitors this evening at a special edition of Business After Hours hosted at the Welcome Center.) Kermit the Frog welcomes guests with a smile and a wave reminding visitors that the Delta is home to creative geniuses like Muppets’ creator Jim Henson.

Other items like cotton bales, plows and other farm equipment recall the region’s glory as one of the state’s most active agricultural centers and tout the emergence of agritourism in the area. A myriad of photographs from yesteryear offer a glimpse into the Delta’s past and reminds visitors how the region has grown.

The Welcome Center facility is just as interesting as the museum itself. The building is a replica of a nineteenth century steamboat originally built for the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. The replica was taken apart and brought back to Greenville to serve as a tourist center in 1985. It now sits in 18 inches of water for an authentic look.

All aboard at the Washington County Welcome Center for a voyage through Mississippi Delta history!