AY Magazine Features Delta Cultural Center Event

AY Magazine recenlty listed "Faces of the Delta: The Art of AJ Smith" as the #1 thing to do in Arkansas during the month of May!

Autumn Across America

If the RV lifestyle has taught you anything, it’s that there’s always a surprise around the next bend in the highway. As with any trip, discovering something new is what the journey is about. Here, we’ve handpicked 10 far-ranging regions that will leave you feeling like you found more than just a great place to soak in the colors of fall — although you’ll find plenty of those, too! Buckle your seat belt because you’re in for a memorable ride to these eclectic RV destinations from Nevada to New Hampshire.

King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas

King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas

If music is a must for your leaf-peeping RV tour and you have an interest in the blues, make plans to attend Arkansas’ King Biscuit Blues Festival (www.king in Helena. One of the nation’s foremost blues showcases, the festival takes place every Columbus Day weekend (October 8 to 11, 2014) in the only downtown area between Memphis and Vicksburg that’s directly on the Mississippi River...


Renovations add energy to sluggish Helena-West Helena downtown

Honestly, Matt Inman has no idea what sort of financial reward might be generated by the three buildings he now owns on Cherry Street in Helena-West Helena. Inman, a 27-year-old native of the Phillips County town, lives in a downtown apartment above a building he renovated last year. Below him is a nearly 1,900-squarefoot space that he hopes to market as a possible coffee shop or restaurant location. Since finishing that building, he has purchased two additional properties on Cherry Street with plans of turning them into retail and residential space paid for with his own money and grant funding from Southern Bancorp. This is far from a get-richquick plan for Inman, who is doing much of the renovation work himself. As anybody who has done even minor renovation work on a home or business knows, it is not an easy commitment. “I’m not doing this for me, as much as I am for generating some energy in this town,” Inman said. “I’m not going to get rich off this thing, but as long as there is one less building that is decrepit and in need of repair, then I’m happy.” In the 18 months that followed Inman’s first investment, he estimates that as many as eight additional nearby properties have sold. The 2010 University of Arkansas graduate doesn’t take or want credit for the flurry of activity but notes that other investors and potential investors are likely encouraged to see a local who is willing to do more than just talk about the future of the downtown.

King Biscuit Blues Festival celebrating 29 years

The King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena celebrates 29 years this weekend with Delbert McClinton and Bobby Rush headlining on Friday, James Cotton and Jimmy Vivino on Saturday, and Roy Rogers and Sonny Landreth performing tonight. As part of the Bridging the Blues celebration Clarksdale is also featuring multiple events, including the annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming at Hopson Plantation this Sunday afternoon. Tickets to the main stage on "the Biscuit" are $50 for three days and $30 for one day, but there's also plenty of free music on other stages across town. The festival celebrates the legacy of the KFFA radio program King Biscuit Time, which was hosted by harmonica great Sonny Boy Williamson II beginning in 1941. Today a Mississippi Blues Trail marker is being dedicated in Helena in Williamson's honor. Music starts today at 9 a.m and performers include Chicago harmonica king Billy Branch and the dynamic Guitar Shorty from Los Angeles. Friday's bill includes festival standby Anson Funderburgh, Tupelo's Paul Thorn, and traditional Mississippi bluesmen L.C. Ulmer and Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood.

Long Live King Biscuit!

On a Wednesday in late October of 1986, The New York Times ran an article about a one-day music festival with a funny name that had drawn some 500 people to a Delta town in Arkansas most of the newspaper’s readers likely had never heard of. “When this Mississippi River town decided that a free blues festival might stimulate tourism and downtown business, no one seems even to have considered calling it anything but the King Biscuit Blues Festival,” the piece read. “Live blues, played by artists as extravagantly and demonstrably gifted as Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Lockwood, had become a part of the Helena environment, reaching and influencing whites as well as blacks when ‘King Biscuit Time’ went on the radio here in December 1941.” One Robert Palmer, a legendary Arkansas music journalist who has since shuffled off this mortal coil, penned those words and his article was as much about the history of the “King Biscuit Time” radio show as it was about the festival itself. But it left an indelible impression that this tiny town had found something special...


Like the nearby Mississippi River, the blues just keeps flowing through West Helena , a city that celebrates its musical heritage each year during the second weekend of October. Like the music, it can also vary weather, perfect to warm to cold and stormy. But whatever happens, the blues lovers from all over the worldkeep coming. 

The festival began in 1986 with artists who played on a trailer of a truck and has since become a festival with great reputation among music fans. The visitor numbers are, according to estimates in recent years, above 50,000. More than 60 acts will perform on six stages, which are prepared in various locations on or near Cherry Street, Helena's "Main Street".

The 29th edition of the festival will be held from 9 to 11 October...

Extension Coming for Delta Heritage Trail State Park

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) will partner with the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism (ADPT) to extend the Delta Heritage Trail State Park in southeast Arkansas, according to AHTD officials. Plans were approved in a Minute Order passed by the Arkansas State Highway Commission last week.

The Delta Heritage Trail is a “Rails to Trails” conversion of an abandoned railway line and is used by bicyclists, walkers and joggers.  

The State of Arkansas, through efforts by...


New research shows river and associated natural resources generate $151.7 billion annually

Feb. 24, 2014 - The Lower Mississippi River and its associated natural resources support a diverse and productive regional economy, according to a new profile prepared for the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee. Considered together, river-related economic sectors generate $151.7 billion in annual revenue and employ 585,000 people.

In their research, economists sought to document the values derived from or associated with the Lower Mississippi River and its abundant water, extensive forests, rich soil, diverse fish and wildlife, and other resources. Economists examined 10 sectors: manufacturing, navigation, agriculture, tourism, outdoor recreation, energy, mineral extraction, natural resources harvesting, natural resources services and water supply.

The new report, prepared by Industrial Economics, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Dominika Dziegielewska-Parry, an economist based in Jackson, Mississippi, provides an updated economic profile of the same region economists examined for a similar report released in 2004. Readers are cautioned not to make direct comparisons between the two reports because some data sources used were different.

“The Mississippi River’s economic and environmental values to society are often overlooked,” said Angeline Rodgers, acting coordinator of the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee (LMRCC). “This new report clearly shows that the river and the rich natural resources it supports are the foundation of the regional economy and are of great importance to the nation.”

“Continued conservation management will help ensure that the many benefits derived from the Mississippi River will continue for generations to come,” said James Caudill, chief of the Division of Economics for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the lead adviser for the economic profile.

The LMRCC is a coalition of 12 state natural resource conservation and environmental quality agencies in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. It provides the only regional forum dedicated to conserving the natural resources of the Lower Mississippi River’s floodplain and focuses on habitat restoration, long-term conservation planning and nature-based economic development. LMRCC staff work out of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lower Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

CONTACT: Angeline Rodgers

Arkansas' Mississippi River Delta - Drive Your Chevy to the Levy

From the headwaters in Minnesota, south almost to where the mouth of the Mighty Mississippi opens and dumps into the Gulf of Mexico are blue-line roads along the banks of the river. This collection of roads, referred to as the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, is found in all the states along the Mississippi River. Beginning in the northeast corner of Arkansas, 100 miles above west Memphis, and running all the way down to the Louisiana line are pockets of regional history and delta culture that are rich slices of the American scene. They beg to be discovered, and it was our mission...

Homestyle cooking down in the Delta

It’s kinda steamy down here in the Delta. I drove through 2 hours of intense fog from Little Rock to Helena, Arkansas. I had no idea fog could reach so far inland. Miles and miles of rich delta farm land planted with rice, cotton and corn. This area is known as the rice capital of the U.S. with 50% of nation’s rice grown in Arkansas. The folks down here say the river is a blessing and a curse. If the crop is good it’s a blessing and if there’s a big flood like the flood of 1929...