“Harlem, Hollywood, Jackson, Mississippi.”
Out of the mouth of Bruno Mars (Mark Ronson – I know, I know) so it’s gotta be true. Love me some Bruno.
He’s got a point, though, and it’s one thing I do love about Jackson. I’ll be more precise and say “North Jackson” because this is where I’ve lived and come to love the past 4 years. One T-shirt by Chane sums it up nicely: “Jackson doesn’t suck anymore.” Until I lived here I’d only heard bad things about “that dangerous, racist city” from sheltered Madisonites or people who have never been to Mississippi a day in their lives. So I’ve made my own opinions.
Yes, Jackson has a difficult history that has definitely made its mark, but, like the rest of the South, it has started to rise again. Not in its old ideals or policies. Not in hatred. It is rising in art, diverse culture, academic achievement, great music, and just the best food. Fondren and Belhaven are two neighborhoods in North Jackson that have more and more people falling in love with this area. Both places have a strong medical community with the 4 large Jackson hospitals nearby.
Fondren prides itself as Jackson’s hip art district. To quote Chane again, “Fondren isn’t just for crack and hookers anymore.” Sure isn’t! There are historical restaurants like Brent’s Drugs and Walker’s and new, unique ones like Babalu and Saltine. Super great bars like Fondren Public and The Apothecary. Fondren after 5 is a monthly favorite, bringing out the entire eclectic neighborhood, young and old. There is a band on every corner and artists everywhere.
Belhaven also has a strong art community with a lot of college students from Belhaven University and Millsaps College, young families, and medical professionals. The neighborhood has movie nights and the annual festival Bright Lights Belhaven Nights. Baptist Medical Center has helped to bring even more attention to the area with The Belhaven, which houses doctor’s offices, restaurants, and new townhomes surrounding the parking garage.
Yay! Things I love about Jackson! Stay tuned though, because I know I need to write down some issues I have with Jackson. Reasons I go back and forth about wanting to stay here.
I’ll save that for another night. A rainy night, maybe? That sounds appropriate.