This is the sixth article in a series that highlights places to visit while in Memphis for the IBC. Jimmi Langemo of Jimmi and the Band of Souls used to spend 12 to 15 weeks of the year in Memphis doing diversity and leadership development work.
The Mississippi River, which starts in my state of Minnesota, flows south through Memphis on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. If you’ve never seen the river before, it’s worth seeing while you are in Memphis. If you have seen it before in other areas like Minneapolis or St. Louis, it’s worth checking out while you’re in town. As it comes into Memphis it spreads out into a broad, expansive river. As I watch the water flow slowly by I feel myself relax and time slows. It’s the perfect place if you want to take a break from the bustle of the city.
There are two spots to visit the river near Beale Street. One is Mud Island. Mud Island contains a park that features a scale model of the Mississippi River that you can walk through. The model isn’t just fun, it provides some interesting historical facts of the river. There is also a museum, shopping and a number of restaurants on the island.
The other location to view the river is from Confederate Park, now known as Memphis Park. It is on the corner of Court Avenue and Front Street behind the Spring Hill Suites Hotel. The park itself has historical significance. It is on this bluff that citizens of the city watched a naval battle in which the Union Army destroyed eight Confederate vessels and took control of the Mississippi. The cannon represent cannon that were placed here to aid in the defense of the city during the war. There is a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the center of the park. The legend reads: Jefferson Davis, a true patriot. There are other plaques and commemorations to Confederate war heroes here, including Ginny Moon, the famous spy. I’ll let you wrestle with the reason why the statue continues to stand. (In fact, there is also a statue to Nathan Bedford Forrest in the city.)
Of course, there is a third option too. You could hop on a riverboat and tour the river that way. There’s nothing wrong with floating along on a big ol’ riverboat, hanging out with friends and drinking you’re favorite beverage.
So come to Memphis to listen to great music, eat good Southern food, and take in the sites that mark key moments in our nation’s history and in the evolution of music. And when you’re ready for a quieter way to spend the day, enjoy the mighty Mississippi as it flows toward the Gulf of Mexico.
For more information on Mud Island, go to http://www.mudisland.com/