Worst business trip ever. Of all the places my job sent me to, there was none like Jackson, Mississippi. You would think the capital city in a well known state would be interesting but no. The only reason I even know of this state is from school kids learning to spell its name, because there is nothing particularly interesting here.
I was coming in on an evening flight. I flew into the most turbulence I have ever experienced. All around me were older black ladies praying to the lord. The flight attendants did not get up in the aisle, instead, gave the whole tray of peanuts to the passengers and let them fend for themselves. Little did I know at the time, had the plane actually went down I would not have had to endure the rest of this trip.
Upon landing I had a colleague waiting and starving. Apparently the whole airport shuts down around 7 p.m. and we resorted to stopping off at a Sonic Drive-In on the way to the hotel. We stayed at the historic Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Jackson, previously the King Edward Hotel and the original site of the Confederate House. I was fortunate enough to get a room overlooking the adjacent Union Station.
Late Night Timelapse at Union Station
At least the train station remain running late into the night because, like the airport, the rest of the town was shut down. With nothing to do and a shoot early next morning, I tried to get some rest. The town was quiet and the room was comfortable but I remained restless. Since I was only in town for a day, I decided not to waste it away in bed. But what is there to do in this dead town at 3 a.m.? What is Mississippi known for? The river is the only thing I could think of so I hopped in the rental car and drove to a Vickburg National Military Park alongside the Mississippi River about an hour away.
Actually, the park was closed too but it was not like there was anyone to stop me from wandering about. I snapped an eerie twilight shot of the Vicksburg bridge and sense the rising sun. I set up a backlit timelapse of the sun rising over a monumental cannon while I admired the nearby building shaped like a riverboat only to figure out afterwards that it was actually the Ameristar Casino, probably the only thing still open at this hour. Oh well, no time for that now. Had to head back to work.
Sun rising over Vicksburg National Military Park.
I headed back to the hotel for a quick breakfast, completed the task at hand in my half-asleep state, and peruse the historic landmarks until my flight. Before any long flight, I always pick up a hearty local dish. I chose red beans and rice but perhaps I have been tainted by too many visits to Popeye’s to the point where I cannot appreciate authentic southern food.
Modern day view of the site of the “Raising the Stars and Stripes Over the Capitol the State of Mississippi,”
engraving from Harper’s Weekly, 20 June 1863.
While I had a miserable time there, looking back at it, I got some interesting pictures even if they were not technically the best. I cannot expect every trip to be epic but I did survive and come away with some memories of a new place.
Did you have a better experience in Mississippi? I imagine it would be hard not to. Please share your experience in the comments below.