Hello, I would like to introduce myself I am Jimmy Delery a seasoned community columnist from the New Orleans area. I have been doing the community column for the St Bernard Voice for 11plus years along with several feature articles. I began my journey to Mississippi during the 2020 Covid shutdown. It started with a trip to visit my friend’s evacuation house in Lumberton and to see his property in Hattiesburg. As you may know an evacuation house is a place to retreat to before a hurricane strikes the lower coast. I stayed in New Orleans for Katrina in my home near the Mississippi River levee in Carrollton and it did not flood. I saw the destruction and did the boat recues in uptown New Orleans. After the storm I worked for several months for CNN. We even covered the Gulf Coast of Mississippi for several stories with the team I was on. Too many memories to ever experience again.
My one-day tour of Lumberton and Hattiesburg made me realize fresh air, high and dry land, a well-developed region with a flair of southern charm was a magnet. I began looking for a house to fix up to have for my evacuation house. I found a fixer upper in the eastern side of Hattiesburg in an older neighborhood in January 2021. It needed a good wash and wax as I call it. As I worked painting and cleaning up anticipating a potential rent house. I could feel a sense of a new home and wholesome community. Finally, after an evening at the downtown open house in Laurel I knew the Pine Belt was my new home. I enjoy knowing the people in the region are good honest hardworking individuals with old world southern manners. I tell my friends in Louisiana, my new home is like New Orleans years ago before politics destroyed it charm and safety. I am here to stay and want to be part of this community.
A few weeks ago, I met Valerie Wilson at the farmer’s market. We had a delightful conversation about Petal and her job with the Chamber of Commerce. I offered to write some features on local events, the businesses, and the people who make the community a great place to live.
In time, I hope to meet some of you and learn more about the history of Petal.
Connecting the dots
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