Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
Vol 8 No 4 - April 2012
Sent to you courtesy of:
Quapaw Canoe Company
“Serving the Wild Places of the
Lower Mississippi Valley”
Keep Reading Below for:
1) Old Man River Project
2) St. Louis Circumnavigation -- Complete!
4) Friends of the Sunflower River
5) 2012 JUKE JOINT FESTIVAL
(Full Schedule Below)
Old Man River Project:
Hold on tight -- The journey begins! 110 days down the river with Brett Rogers and Old Man River in honor and support of the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper!
Old Man River went online today. A new chapter will be launched every Tuesday for 10 weeks until the entire story is online, for free, forever.
From Brett: “The goal is to share the story of the Mississippi with the world and spread the word about all things fresh water.”
You can watch the web-series on Brett Rogers blog, by going to www.brettonthewater.com or by going to Brett’s vimeo page at https://vimeo.com/channels/omrp.
Day 1 to Day 14: The story begins in Kingston, Ontario. Brett and Cliff build a York Boat named Annie. Brett lays out his plan: with Cliff as First Mate, he will lead a crew 2400 miles down the Mississippi River to reach the Gulf of Mexico and donate their boat Annie to the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper. lmrk.org
It’s August. Brett drives Annie to the Mississippi headwaters. It’s here in Bemidji, Minnesota the 110 day expedition will begin. Brett and Cliff are joined by their recruits, Kyle, Magnus and Sarah. The team pushes off with no idea of the challenges ahead. Premieres April 10th, 2012.
2) Will the circle be unbroken?
Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, Lord, by and by.
There’s a better home awaiting
By the riverside, by the riverside.
Life’s ultimate metaphor is the circle, and so is water’s. Everything that starts in motion eventually comes around on itself, finds itself right back where it started, whether you are on a merry-go-round or the longest river in North America. Natives call it the sacred circle, Christians call it being reborn. Whichever you choose its the same, its like releasing a handful of water. It always returns to from whence it came.
And so three voyageurs return to their beginnings the last day of a thirteen-day expedition around the city of St. Louis, one that took them down the Meramec, up the Mississippi, up the Missouri, across the ridge of land on Highway 47, and down the Bourbese back to the Meramec. 193 river miles total.
For Mike Clark, “Big Muddy Mike,” and his expedition partner John Ruskey “Johnnie Driftwood” every year its a different journey, a different learning adventure, and yet they always find themselves back where they started, back at the edge of the river refreshed, rejuvenated and bone-weary tired.
The last day got rolling the same as all days on this expedition — with a 4:30am owl’s hoot, a rustling of the embers of the fire, and a steaming cup of cowboy coffee, strong enough to chase yesterday’s worries and pains away and help open the imagination to the world revolving upon itself and preparing the scene for the new day. Every day is a new life, you go to sleep aching and confused and unable to do any more, and you wake up feeling like you have been reborn.
Camped above the town of Washington in a willow flats behind which stretches a shallow wetlands full of singing frogs, slithering snakes and duckweed. We repack the canoe, something we have become good at, rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a canoe, and how do you think they fit in there? (with all their gear?). We have been asked more than once if we all fit in this canoe with all the gear we are carrying. Canoes are amazing vessels. They carry many times their weight in gear faster than a man can walk, more efficiently than any other means of travel. If there is any solution to the energy crisis, and you live on water, the canoe is it. It doesn’t require any fossil fuels, there is no mechanics. No moving parts. All you need is a vessel and a paddle. Your body does the rest. its simple and straightforward and elegant. Its as close to flying as most of us will ever get. It doesn’t create smog or smoke. It doesn’t kill animals that get in its way. It doesn’t even kill insects. Whatever is in front of it it gently parts with the water and then allows to rejoin after its passage. It doesn’t deplete the protective atmosphere. No one ever said it was easy. But once you start you forget you’re doing it, like walking, or reading, or meditation. The first step is always the hardest, the first paddle stroke is always the most painful.
But today, the last day to complete the circle, is a special day. We will have to load, unload, and reload the canoe three times. 3 times on the 13th day. It has a poetic ring. Maybe there is some numerology in that. 1st time now to get to town from camp. 2nd time to make the nine-mile portage to the Bourbese River. 3rd and last time to get down the Bourbese River to its confluence with the Meramec, where we commenced this circle 13 days ago.
The Circle is Unbroken, 3rd time in 3 years, a lasso thrown around the homes of 3 million people, if there was previously any question it is now dispelled: St. Louis is an island!
Friday, March 30, 2012
The final link in a long chain around the City of St. Louis, a 16 mile paddle down the Bourbese River from the town of Union to the Meramec River Confluence, where this expedition was commenced 13 days earlier. And now the paddlers have connected back to the beginning, all life moves in circles, it was a little difficult not to keep going downstream again and make another circle, even with all of the hard-paddling and personal compromises involved, such is the joy of the journey. A lasso has been thrown around St. Louis, the third time in three years, once clockwise, two times counter clockwise. How many times will the lives of 3 million inhabitants be loassoed before they shake their heads in recognition and realize that they are living on an island, surrounded by water, fed and drained by the veins and arteries of the waterways,by the life-sustaining vessels of the heart of the river country of mid-America. Isn’t it time to stop abusing and start loving the waters?
For the full story and all of the Toby the Turtle Tales, go to Big Muddy Mike’s Expedition page at:
For photo galleries:
Last Day on Missouri:
Up the Mississippi (St. Louis Harbor)
NATUREFEST! April 14th at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Naturefest at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, Mississippi
April 14, 2012, 10am-5pm
Support the Mighty Quapaws during canoe tours of the Pearl River -- in particular by helping with River Citizen Sign Up and 1 Mississippi Campaign under the shady trees along riverbank. Wonderful setting! Beautiful way to spend the day outside near water!
2 Water bottles, snacks, lunch, sun screen, sun protection, $6 admission to Museum
Go to museum and park your car. Inquire within about directions to Pearl River Landing (Canoe Rides). Walk down the beautiful trail behind museum (LeFleur’s Bluff). Meet at 10am at the Pearl River Landing. Meet and greet people as they walk down trail to landing. Advocate 1 Mississippi. Work with 1 Mississippi Southern Region coordinator John Ruskey and intern Mark Rivers to sign up River Citizens. Enjoy picnic lunch under the beautiful cypress/sycamore canopy or the Pearl River floodplain. Cleanup at 4pm. Walk up trail and 5pm and return to your vehicle.
Canoe ride on Pearl River (if you want). Swim Break in Pearl River on hot day. A day along the river. Experience the beauty of the Pearl River floodplain.
What is Naturefest?
Naturefest is the annual spring celebration of all the wonders of nature, especially tailored for children and families. All aboard the Dinosaur Train Nature Trackers Club Challenge, or try your hand at canoeing, and explore the far reaches of the Museum's nature trails. Meet Leona the Lion, Cat in the Hat, Smokey Bear, and watch Inky the Clown create balloon animals. Touch real sea creatures and see live animal shows, like Rob Mies' BioDiversity Live, featuring Mo the two-toed sloth. Shop for crafts made by the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, outfit your yard with purchases from the Native Plant Sale, and buy a pair of Toms Shoes that local artists can make uniquely yours. Come out to the Museum and enjoy live local music and a beautiful Mississippi day.
1 Mississippi Southern Region coordinator
For directions, description and more information go to:
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science:
Mid-April update for:
Friends of the Sunflower River
$2730 raised so far
for the Weir Project!!!
We’re almost There!
Weir Update: Thanks to recent donations from the below we are within $300 of reaching our $3,000 goal. We will extend this fundraiser through June 1st. All we need are 3 people to commit $100, or 6 people to become Friends of the Sunflower River, or both. Juke Joint Festival Coming this weekend and the riverbank is resplendent with fields of yellow rocket. Maybe the capping will be completed in time for Sunflower Fest? Many thanks to Bill Luckett who sent the first donation. To my wife Sarah’s mother, Emma Crisler, who sent the second donation. And to Shonda Warner who ushered a $500 donation through the George and Lillith Burner Foundation and started tipping the scales towards the halfway point!
April Weir Donations:
John H. Barnes ($100)
Joe & Dorothy Middleton ($50)
Karen Kolhaas ($50)
Cliff & Lucille Ochs ($250)
Tim & Meri Tenhet ($100)
Mrs. Walter Thompson ($100)
Delta Bohemian ($100)
Bob Long ($100)
Tom & Lois Irwin ($25)
Lou & Gary Ruskey-Halsey ($100)
Linda White ($15)
Charlotte Huddleston ($15)
Bo Graham ($25)
March Weir Donations:
John & Susan McKee ($50)
Billy & Madge Howell ($25)
George and Lillith Burner Foundation/
Shonda Warner ($500)
Charles Evans ($100)
Bill Luckett ($50)
Emily Cooper ($25)
Emma Crisler ($100)
Dr. McGee ($25)
John & Sarah Crisler-Ruskey ($100)
Quapaw Canoe Company ($500)
Thanks to the internal support from Quapaw Canoe Company (administrative, staff & structural), all 2012 membership donations to Friends of the Sunflower will be diverted to supporting the completion of the Weir Project, including:
New Members: Bob “Spoonz” Rowell and Jon Popper ($50 total)
Renewals: Laura Barnaby, Guy Malvezzi, Curtis Boschert, Bill Hayden, Bob Long, and Sandra & Charles West, Tom & Lois Irwin ($175 total)
Lifetime Members: Charlie & Henrietta Musselwhite
Memorial: A $25 donation made in memorial of the late Sonia Fox of Sunflower County. Ms. Fox was a founding member of the friends.
WOW! Many thanks to all who have donated so far.
To everyone else, please consider renewing your membership. OR making a one-time donation for this project that will have a positive effect the quality of life in downtown Clarksdale for decades to come.
See below for the reasons you should donate to this project
The Sunflower River Weir needs to be raised another 18 inches -- local support needed to complete project -- $3,000 goal by June 1st.
1. Isn’t the weir project completed? No its not done. It is 90% complete but now it needs to be fine-tuned.
2. Why wasn’t the weir built higher? The engineers didn’t want to cause flooding problems for downtown Clarksdale. But now that we’ve seen the effects of the weir we know 18 inches can be added without future detriments.
3. Why donate? This is your way of participating in the future of Clarksdale, and its a good investment: concrete, steel and rock have longevity!
Friends of the Sunflower River has agreed to spearhead a fundraiser to compliment this project which will provide life-long beauty and promote healthy living to downtown Clarksdale and all the neighborhoods along the Sunflower River including Riverton, Brickyard, Lower Brickyard, West Clarksdale, Duckwalk, Circle Drive neighborhoods, Chancellorsville, Ridgecrest, and anyone else who lives along Sunflower Avenue, Riverside Drive, Cypress Street and enjoys Soldier’s Field Park and the Sunflower River Walk. ($20,000 budget total shared by City, County, and Yazoo Water Management District + contributions).
Send contribution by check made out to “Friends of the Sunflower River” with the earmark “Clarksdale Weir”
Friends of the Sunflower River
291 Sunflower Avenue
Clarksdale, MS 38614
“This river has the blues…”
New Members: Thank you
The past 2 weekends we hosted cleanups of the Sunflower River (from downtown Clarksdale up to Lee Drive) and on the Huskpuckena River (off the old Hwy 61 bridge near the town of Hushpuckena).
Go see pictures of the cleanups at:
Join the Facebook Group for the Friends:
2012 JUKE JOINT FESTIVAL
Please forward, share and post this line-up wherever you like. Still a few more details to come, but plenty of killer blues coming soon to CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI. Also, check out the tons of additional related Thurs-Sun events at www.jukejointfestival.com and www.cathead.biz ("Music Calendar"). Thanks y'all!
THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2012
DELTA CINEMA (11 Third St.) - "Official Juke Joint Festival Kick-off!"
6pm – Delta Cinema Lobby - Cristen Barnard "Juke Joint Festival" art poster signing plus live lobby blues by KM Williams.
7pm – Delta Cinema Stage - Jimbo Mathus live, on-stage -- “Jas. Mathus & his Knock Down Society plays Songs for Rosetta”.
FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012
CAT HEAD DELTA BLUES & FOLK ART (252 Delta Ave.)
2pm – Big John Short
4pm – KM Williams & Washboard Jackson
COMFORT INN (State St.)
4pm - live blues in lobby
DELTA BLUES MUSEM (0 Blues Alley - Arts & Education Room)
2pm-3pm – Conversations with Jimmy “Duck” Holmes and Big George Brock
DELTA CINEMA (lobby & theater - 11 Third St.)
5:30pm – Free hors d'voures & drinks plus live blues by Lil Poochie, Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early.
6:45pm - "We Juke Up in Here" filmmaker thanks and introductions.
7pm - Free theatrical world-premiere of "We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi's Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads" blues film.
SATURDAY, APRIL 14TH
CAT HEAD STAGE (252 Delta Ave.)
10am – Libby Rae Watson
11am – Jimmy “Duck” Holmes
Noon – Terry “Harmonica” Bean
1pm – Lil Poochie & Hezekiah Early
2pm – Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early
3pm – Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood
4pm – Roosevelt Roberts Jr. Blues Band
5pm – Anthony “Big A” Sherrod & Blues Allstars
6pm - Johnny Lowebow
MISS DEL'S STAGE (145 Delta Ave.)
10am – Delta Royals
11am – Cadillac John & the Cornlickers
12 noon – Josh “Razorblade” Stewart Blues Band
1pm – The Beat Daddys
2pm – Cedell Davis & Brethren
3pm – Okratones
4pm – Hal Reed & Bret Dale
5pm – Leaf River Blues Band
YAZOO PARK STAGE (200 block of Yazoo Ave.)
10am – Bloodshot Eyes
11am - Carlos Elliot Jr. Days (from Colombia)
Noon – Superbad String Band
1pm – The Bailey Brothers
2pm – Lucious Spiller
3pm - Low Society
4pm – Jake Leg Stompers
5pm - Little G Weavil
STONE PONY STAGE (Stone Pony Pizza, Delta Ave.)
10 am – Roosevelt “Piano Red” Harper
11am – Pat Thomas
Noon – Eddie Cusic
1pm – Brad Webb & David Hudson
2pm – Blind Mississippi Morris & Brad Webb
3pm – Austin “Walking” Cane
4pm – Chris Gill & “Fingers” Taylor
ROCK & BLUES MUSEUM STAGE (2nd St. near Museum/Hambone Gallery)
10am – Roman Barten-Sherman
11am – Daddy Rich
Noon – Deak Harp
1pm – L.C. Ulmer
2pm – Theo D.
3pm – Heavy Suga & the SweeTones
4pm – Selwyn Cooper
DELTA AMUSEMENT CAFE STAGE (348 Delta Ave.)
10am – Keith Thompson
11am – Pork Chop Willie
Noon – Big Jon Short
1pm – Whirled Boogie
3pm – Lew Jetton & 61 South
4pm – Davis Coen
5pm – Little Johnnie Kantreed
6pm – Blue Mother Tupelo
THE BANK BUILDING (E. 2nd & Yazoo Ave.)
1pm – Bob Long
2pm – Billy Smiley & the Young Guns
3pm – Vintage
4pm – Dr. Feelgood Potts
5pm – Rev. Robert Wilkins Band
SUNFLOWER AVENUE GAZEBO STAGE (200 block of Sunflower Ave.)
10am – Reparation Man
11am – John Horton Blues Band
1pm – Rev. Robert
2pm – Rev. Freakchild
3pm – Jarekus Singleton
4pm – Big Dave Dunavent & Evol Love
WADE WALTON STAGE (317 Issaquena Ave.)
10am – Earl The Pearl
11am – Little Joe Ayers
Noon – R.L. Boyce & Steve Toney
12:45pm - Sharde Thomas & Rising Star Fife & Drum Band
1pm – Robert Kimbrough
2pm – Robert “Wolfman” Belfour
3pm – James “T-Model” Ford
4pm – All Night Long Blues Band
DELTA FURNITURE STAGE (Third St. & Issaquena Ave.)
10am – Mark Miloff
11am – Dicky James & the Blue Flames
Noon – On The Run Blues Band
1pm – Butch Mudbone
2pm – Adam Gussow
3pm – Rotten Belly Blues Band
4pm – Southern Halo
5pm – Earnest “Guitar” Roy
JOHN-ALEX MASON MEMORIAL STAGE (near New Roxy Theater on Issaquena)
10am – Westbound
11am – Mark “Mule Man” Massey
Noon – Steve Kolbus & Clarksdale Blues Revue
1pm – Elam McKnight & Bob Bogdal
3pm – Fiona Boyes
4pm – KM Williams & Washboard Jackson
HONEYBOY EDWARDS MEMORIAL STAGE @ DELTA BLUES MUSEUM (1 Blues Alley)
2pm – Delta Blues Museum Band
3pm – W.A. Higgins Rock Ensemble
4pm – Stax Music Academy
5pm – DSU's Ol’ School Revue
CROSSROADS MARKER (Hwy 49 & 61, near Abe's BBQ)
11am – Mississippi Fred Gee
1pm – Ryan Rigdon
2pm – Husky Burnette
3pm - Rand Mikell
4pm – Jeff Norwood
YAZOO PASS COFFEE HOUSE STAGE (Yazoo & E. 2nd)
8am – live acoustic blues
SATURDAY, APRIL 14TH