Will Phillips Blog: Day 5

Will Phillips
Sunday, November 13, 2011

What a trip!  Our last day began at 9:00 am in Jackson, Mississippi, where we spent some time at the Mississippi State Capitol…

Junior Fellows on the Capitol Steps, in Jackson, MS

and then to a statue of Medgar Evers, afamous black civil rights activist in the 1960’s.  From Jackson we went west for about an hour and a half and came into Vicksburg, Mississippi, where we spent a couple of hours exploring the LARGE Vicksburg Civil War Battlefield.

Junior Fellows at Texas Monument in the Vicksburg Battlefield

We finally came into Huntsville a tad before midnight.

Jackson, Mississippi stands in stark difference to Savannah, Georgia.   Where a lot of homes in Savannah have been renovated, Jackson has a bunch of old houses that appear to be uninhabitable.  Where Savannah seems to carry a lot of wealth, Jackson looks to be poverty stricken.   Where Savannah’s shops all looked beautiful and unique, Jackson’s stores had boarded windows and doors, and, in many cases, high fences with razor wire across the top.

Before we visited the Capitol we ate at Collins Dream Kitchen- Down Home Cookin’.  This was some of the best soul food I have ever had.  Along with my fried chicken I had a fluffy roll, corn, mac n’ cheese, and sweet tea, all of it home made.

After eating some soul food and visiting the Mississippi State Capitol, we trekked westward to Vicksburg, Mississippi where we not only toured the Civil War Battlefield, but we also saw the Vicksburg Old Courthouse and explored the Riverfront Murals.   The Vicksburg battlefield (AKA- Vicksburg National Military Park) was impressive in its beauty, size (16 mile private road), and (of course) its history.   The museum sits on 1700 acres and allows tourists to get a firsthand look at the vast field where the battle for Vicksburg took place.

The Illinois Monument at Vicksburg

The steep hills made it clear why it is tactically beneficial to gain higher ground when engaging the enemy.  Ryan Brim attempted to traverse one of these hills and in the process managed to lose his shoes.    There are hundreds of statues and monuments commemorating the different states and the people that fought in the 47-day battle; this makes the Vicksburg National Military Park one of the most heavily “monumented” parks in the world.

Sadly, the trip has ended, and I have been tasked to calculate my top three of everything:

Favorite Cities:

Third: Montgomery, Alabama; Alabama architecturally was a wonderful city, every building seems to have a unique look that is pleasing, but is also complementary to the whole cityscape.  And if anybody is interested in seeing some of the greatest ironies in the U.S., look no further than Montgomery, where on the same street you have a museum preserving the Confederate Whitehouse; yet no further than a ¼ mile, you have an impressive Civil Rights Museum and Memorial.

Alabam State Capitol

Second: New, Orleans; New Orleans, is just different, and that makes it interesting to see.   Oddly the city’s dirty look is actually its hidden beauty.   The old buildings contrast nicely with the homeless person talking to himself on a bench.  The City has character.  Now I haven’t been to all major cities in the US, but I would be surprised to hear a city that literally takes on a life of its own.   Not only is there a coalescing of races, but you are in a city where religious symbols are omnipresent…right next to fortune tellers, street entertainers, and Bourbon Street. What I am getting at is that New Orleans allows polar opposites to coexist.

First: Savannah, Georgia; I would have loved to have spent more time in Savannah exploring and walking the different parks, but I did get just enough of a taste of Savannah that I can say with confidence that Savannah offers beauty, intrigue, and history that makes it a must for anyone and everyone to come and see.

Favorite Cautionary Tales

Second: When visiting the F. Scott Fitzgerald home (at night), we almost decided to enter the front door, which was unlocked.  Of course, we were also looking in the windows of the home/museum.  It was only later that we saw that two cars were parked in the garage, along with other signs of life (e.g., BBQ Pit).  Apparently, the museum is also a home to someone.

First:While walking through the Louisiana State Museum, Christian Bionat and I came across a display for the LSU Tigers.  LSU the weekend prior had just come off that loss from Alabama Crimson Tide.  Christian, upon seeing the display, mistakenly confused “Roll Tide!” as LSU’s chant. Thankfully, he did not repeat the chant around any of LSU’s more rabid fans, and we were able to escape unharmed.

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