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10 Years Later: Remembering the Storm

Bay St. Louis

Celebrating 10 Years of Katrina Recovery

Gov. Phil Bryant announced the formation of the Katrina Remembrance Commission (KRC) in March 2015 to help mark the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The commission is chaired by Haley and Marsha Barbour and is co-chaired by the mayors and presidents of the boards of supervisors in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

The commission serves as an umbrella organization to help Mississippi Gulf Coast communities plan and promote events commemorating the anniversary of the storm. From Aug. 21-Sept. 12, events will be held along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to celebrate 10 years of recovery. 
Beginning in 2006, a Mississippi Main Street Resource Team was hired to created master plans in seven coastal communities (Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Picayune, and Waveland) devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The resulting development has been more than $300 million in these downtown districts, with an additional $1 billion in reinvestment of several downtown attractions, such as hotels, museums and casinos.

Mississippi Main Street is honored to have been a part of the recovery efforts.



Street Talk

By Mickey Howley, Water Valley Main Street Association
North Mississippi Herald

My brother Tom is a regular visitor to the Valley. And he comes not especially to see me; I think he genuinely likes it up here in the north. We’re having lunch at the BTC the week before last and someone comes up to the table and reminds us that the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is coming up. Tom just looks at them and says matter of fact, “We’re not talking about that”. And we didn’t and we don’t. Usually. But even when that event does come up, we just say “the storm”.

You see, it’s not that we’re forgetting, but it is something we’d not like to repeat.

I rode out the storm in the relative luxury of my front porch here in the Valley. I’d already been living in the hill country for six years. But Tom and my other brother Charlie “worked” it. They’re on the New Orleans Fire Department. Tom was in New Orleans East, Charlie in Mid-City and Lakeview. Flooded areas with 6 to 11 feet of water. And with boats and jet skis, they and their fellow first responders systematically combed their districts for people and brought them to safety. They worked together and saved people. It’s just what firefighters do.

And as you can well imagine, they saw lots of pain, sorrow, and utter destruction. That doesn’t get talked about, but occasionally the humor does. Tom’s crew was swimming through a dark and flooded grocery store, looking for supplies, when one guys yells, “Cleanup needed on aisle six”. Charlie, in the deeper flooded sections of Lakeview (his neighborhood), would use the roofs of flooded houses as loading ramps by powering the rescue flatboat up them. His greeting to those on the roof was, “All aboard that’s coming aboard!” Tom saw a stingray calmly swimming on Interstate 10, Charlie noted Toyotas float, and Buicks don’t.

Enough of the reminiscing, the aftermath of the storm did see many folks moving to Water Valley, not just from New Orleans, but from other places in south Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And for many of those, the storm and possible future storms was a solid reason for leaving, but not the only reason for moving here. Many already had connections in the area. Four people I’d like to highlight who moved here after the storm are Betsy Persons, Bill Warren, Pati D’Amico, and Katrina Geenen. Because they were instrumental in the early Water Valley art scene. Betsy realized there was a wealth of talent in the area and organized art shows at her office. Bill and Pati got others enthused about art as a means to adding life to the town. Katrina brought a rambunctious energy and keen eye for detail to the mix. All bought houses and property in town. Made the Valley their home and joined with like-minded others here in moving the place forward with the attitude that things work best when we all work together.


You can see that work together energy next month September 19 in the 7th Annual Downtown Studio Art Crawl. It’ll be a much better anniversary of sorts to talk about.

Stacy Pair named coordinator of state Main Street Association


Stacy Pair named coordinator of state Main Street Association
The Neshoba Democrat

A former Philadelphia Main Street director has been named coordinator for the Mississippi Main Street Association.

The state organization announced "some exciting restructuring" in its organizational team that included naming Stacy Pair, as director of administration and state coordinator.

Pair was previously the Southern District director, working with about 21 certified Main Street associations from Jackson to the Coast.

In her new job, Pair will oversee administration of the organization as well as act as a liaison to our board of directors, statewide partners and the National Main Street Center. She will also work with the rest of the staff to offer services in the field.

Pair said that the state has one of the strongest Main Street associations in the country.

"I would attribute that to our directors that came before me and our local Main Street managers," Pair said.

She got her start as a local Main Street manager when she answered an ad in the paper for the job in Philadelphia about 15 years ago.

"It doesn't seem like its been that long," Pair said.

Though she was not sure what the job would entail, she knew it would involve making Philadelphia a better place to live.

Both of Pair's parents are from Philadelphia. Though her mother, Kathy Trapp Pair, is deceased, her father, James Pair, still lives in Philadelphia with his wife Ann.

Her father said that he was happy when he heard the news but was not surprised they chose her based on her years of hard work.

"Of course I'm delighted," James Pair said. "I knew she would achieve her goal becauseI knew she was working hard enough to achieve it. I am very proud of her."

Pair is also a nationally certified Main Street Professional and has done work for Main Street associations in other states.

"I hope to take my knowledge and experience and utilize it in Mississippi," she said.

Pair hopes to focus on in-the-field services by working closely with focus groups of experienced and new Main Street directors to identify needs and working closely with investors and partners.

"We have a great team now and I am really looking forward to working with them to better serve our state," Pair said.


MS Main Street Announcement
Aug. 14, 2015

The Board of Directors of the Mississippi Main Street Association is pleased to announce some exciting restructuring in our organizational team.  In order to evolve and better respond to the needs of our member communities and partners, we would like to announce the following positions:

Director of Administration and State Coordinator - Stacy Pair
Stacy will oversee administration of the organization as well as act as a liaison to our board of directors, statewide partners and the National Main Street Center. She will also work with the rest of the staff to offer services in the field.

Director of Field Services - Jan Miller
Jan will work closely with our partners and senior managers to oversee services offered in our member and network communities.  She will oversee projects, technical services and work with the rest of the staff to offer services in the field.

Director of Training and Information - Jeannie Waller Zieren
Jeannie will work with our partners and the National Main Street Center to create and oversee a curriculum of trainings to be offered regionally and in our member and network communities, including conferences and individual community, board and Four Point trainings.  Jeannie will also continue to oversee the disbursement of information for the organization and will work with the rest of the staff to offer services in the field.

Director of Office Services - Denise Halbach
Denise will oversee administrative services of the organization as well as those offered to our communities.  She will act as support to our other directors.  Denise will also help with planning, coordination and execution of our training curriculum and conferences.

We are excited about the new direction the organization is taking and look forward to great things happening in our communities.  Stay tuned for additional updates in the near future!

MMSA Team & Board of Directors

Stacy Pair, 228-365-9090
Jan Miller, 662-364-0435
Jeannie Zieren, 601-941-5409
Denise Halbach, 601-944-0113

Valley Vinyl boasts state’s largest record collection

Valley Vinyl boasts state’s largest record collection


Despite closing his record store, The Alternative, in Natchez more than four decades ago, Port Gipson native Dell Clark never stopped collecting vinyl.

As he traveled the country in a new career, scouring for deals on antiques, invariably vinyl would be a part of the equation. His collection eventually became so big that he persuaded the city of Tunica to build a 30-foot-by-60-foot steel building.

“I put records in there by the beaucoup,” Clark recalled.

Clark said he hosted an invitation-only event to allow people to scavenge his record collection twice a year beginning around 2010. By chance in June 2014, Yalobusha Brewing Co. owner Andy O’Bryan received an invitation to one of Clark’s famous fire sales in Tunica.

“Immediately my gears started turning,” O’Bryan said.

O’Bryan offered to host his next sale at his newly open brewery housed in a historic building on Main Street in Water Valley.

I came over the next week and was awestruck with this incredible building,” Clark said of the facility, which became the fourth Ford dealership in the country in the early part of the 20th Century.

“You couldn’t have a better facility and ambiance. The natural tie-in between the brewery people and record people is a great fit.”

Clark said he was hoping 100 people would show up on the day of the sale. Instead, 450 people showed up, paying $15 just to enter and take a look at his expansive collection, which he says is the biggest in the state. Clark and O’Bryan partnered shortly thereafter, and Valley Vinyl was born.

“I haven’t been in the Little Big Store in Raymond in quite some time, but that’s the only store in Mississippi that can even begin to compete with me, and that doesn’t include what I don’t have in the shop,” Clark said.

Located in 500 square feet of the brewery that O’Bryan said he couldn’t find a use for anyway, sits Clark’s new record store.

“I’m really, really enjoying it,” Clark said of the re-emergence of the vinyl market. “It’s all contingent on having a good system. Vinyl is very high maintenance, and you have to treat it with respect.

“(Vinyl) has warmth, it has vibrato, it has things you’re not going to get from a digital signal because you are chopping off all of the highs and all of the lows, compressing the signal and bringing it back out.”

Since opening in the brewery six months ago, Clark isn’t so concerned about selling records as he is about creating a new culture of music lovers. O’Bryan does not charge Clark for rent or utilities, instead taking a share of record sales.

Walk into his store and you are met by a man who has a love and encyclopedic knowledge of music.

“Have you heard of the band The Joy of Cooking?” he asks me. “They’re from San Francisco at the same time as the (Grateful) Dead and Jefferson Airplane, but they took a totally different style of music,” as he puts on their album “Castles” on his immaculate turntable and sound system.

“There is so much great music that is never going to get on the radio in modern times, so when these younger people come in, I love to introduce them to people like that,” Clark said.

His collection is exclusively vintage. He doesn’t waste his time with new vinyl, which he says isn’t 100 percent plastic and has a higher warpage rate. The store has a lot of jazz, blues soul and classic rock and roll. He pulls three or four records out at random, and they’re all in pristine condition.

In addition to vinyl, Clark sells vintage sound systems and turntables that have been refurbished by his technician.

“Even though it’s 40 years old, once my tech goes through it and takes all the gummy stuff out, lubes it, he puts a belt on it and it’s good to go for another 30 to 40 years,” Clark said.

For now, Valley Vinyl is only open Fridays from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 2-6 p.m. when the brewery’s taproom is open to the public. If you’re a vinyl aficionado or looking for the perfect place to get started, it’s worth a trip to lovely downtown Water Valley. Have lunch at the BTC Grocery or Crawdad Hole, and start searching for vinyl while sipping on some brew.

Contact Jacob Threadgill at (601) 961-7192 or Follow @JacoboLaSombra on Twitter.


Water Valley part of Mississippi’s 2017 Bicentennial Creative Economy Film Project

Blue Mag

Water Valley part of Mississippi's 2017 Bicentennial Creative Economy Film Project

It wasn’t my idea. Nope, I like things to flow on Main Street, especially around lunchtime on a Saturday. Documentary filmmaker Chandler Griffin had this idea about promoting the statewide series of creative economy films, as part of the Mississippi Bicentennial Project. Yes, that’s looking way ahead; Mississippi’s bicentennial year is 2017. There’s a series of 25 films in the works, some already done, the first one was the “85% Broken” film shot here in Water Valley. The idea was to gather 30 some odd folks from the 9 films already shot and put them in a big group promotional photo.  In the middle of Main Street on Saturday when it is packed and busy. And put the photographer in a bucket truck to take the shot.

So that’s what we did last Saturday. In the middle of the road. Clogging Main Street. With the help of Lt. Tony Hernandez and Officer Weaver Cain of the Water Valley Police Department routing traffic and keeping motorist calm and collected. And thanks to Brandon Richardson of the Water Valley Electric Department. With his dexterous bucket truck booming for the shot, it all went smooth and the Main Street was not blocked for any great length of time.

Why here for this promo?  Because Water Valley is the epicenter of creative economy in this state! Okay, that might be an overstatement, but we’re certainly cutting edge and one of the first. Chandler thought as the Valley action was the subject for the first film and there are 2 more based here films to be released and all have connection to our Main Street, it would be great location. And it doesn’t hurt that we have a good-looking Main Street and Mississippi Main Streets in general are the places where most creative economy businesses congregate. So last Saturday coming from Clarksdale were the Sweet Magnolia Ice Cream crew and the Delta Yoga yogis. Blue Delta Jeans came down from Oxford and Art Place rolled over from Greenwood. The Grin Coffee family came up from Hattiesburg. And our Valley crews, well, they just showed up downtown. They’re pretty much there every Saturday anyway.

The photography wrapped up at Yalobusha Brewery, also the subject of the one of the coming films. There is a new bottling line there; the brewery just hired three new people and plans to hire more. Every Coulter Fussell designed bottle label says “Water Valley, Miss” on it. It’s great to see that line in action. Check out the 4 current released films by searching for “Vimeo Blue Magnolia”.

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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
Phone: 601/944-0113
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District Offices:
P.O. Box 445 | Columbus, MS 39703 | 662- 364-0435
426 Northpointe Lake Dr. | Oxford, MS 38655 | 601-941-5409
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