Clarksdale is the county seat of Coahoma County, the big city in the northern part of the Delta. In the early-mid-20th century, it was a bustling and prosperous agricultural, trade, railroad, and mercantile center. Feeding all this commerce were shops, office buildings, railroad repair shops, warehouses, and a thriving music culture. Many people consider Clarksdale to be the home of the Blues, and many famous Blues musicians either came from Clarksdale or got their start there. Clarksdale had a thriving Jewish and Lebanese community in the early 20th century.
Today Clarksdale looks sad and beat-up, like many other Delta towns. The downtown commercial center is almost empty, shops are shuttered, and there is almost no traffic on a Saturday. I only spent part of a cold Saturday there, and surely missed many interesting places, but what I did see shows the town's rich cultural and commercial heritage.
Head north on Desoto Avenue and then turn left on 4th Street (also known as Martin Luther King Blvd.), and you head towards the Sunflower River and the old commercial heart of Clarksdale.
|Unused railroad shed off Leflore Avenue|
These are digital images from a Panasonic G1 camera and the superb Panasonic 20mm ƒ/1.7 Lumix lens. I processed some of the RAW files with Photo Ninja software to render them as black and white.
For older posts on the Mississippi Delta, please click the links below:
- Mound Bayou
- Rolling Fork
- Yazoo City
- Mt. Holly