Graceland II in Holly Springs, Mississippi

At any hour of the day or night, you can ring the doorbell at Graceland II, at 200 East Gholson Avenue in Holly Springs, and for $5pp get a tour from its owner Paul McLeod. It was close to 1am when we knocked. He answered the door in his bathrobe. Each room of his house was covered from floor to ceiling with Elvis memorabilia, the bookshelves were stacked with VHS tapes of every Elvis performance or even passing mention ever aired. He owns 4 copies of every Elvis record. Needless to say, Paul is quite the character. On proud display is the gold lamĂ© suit he plans to be buried in. It’s sometimes hard to follow the stories he tells, they jump in time and place and subject, and his enunciation is hampered by loose dentures. One of the most curious items on display was the electric chair in the backyard, hooked up to car batteries. Not sure what that had to do with Elvis, but we made our excuses and left soon after.

By: Sarah Landau

Art and Soul of the South

Vicksburg, Mississippi is a treasure all on its own- a town laying aside the Mississippi river near the Louisiana/ Mississippi border. It’s a historic town with battlegrounds and military cemeteries outlining the city, but the downtown is the true essence of Vicksburg. Very small, the downtown encompasses several city blocks, some with brick streets, and all lined with beautifully old buildings-some mimicking the architecture of New Orleans. Much of the town is under construction, being revamped to its original glory, though I feel this only adds to the town’s character. Some buildings appear to still be abandoned and the opened doors and windows swaying solitary and empty in the wind are somewhat haunting and somewhat alluring at the same time.

More unusual though, is the town’s positioning atop a hill that lay beside the Mississippi. Standing on Washington Street (the town’s main shopping and restaurant district), the Mississippi is in clear view at the bottom of a steep hill and followed by a levee adorned in hand painted murals. Confederate flags are still hung outside some of the businesses, which highlights the southern draw the town has.

The streets are lined with amazing antique stores- and when I say “antique”, I’m not referring to musty, Old Fogey-type stores, rather modern takes on beautifully salvaged classics. Continue reading