Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vicksburg Riverfront Murals

The final riverfront mural will be unveiled in front of the floodwall here in downtown Vicksburg completing an eight year project. It will also complete the 32 murals on the floodwall and will honor a grocer, Jitney-Jungle.

"I am so excited, you cannot imagine," said Nellie Caldwell, head of the Riverfront Mural Committee. "To see the whole wall finished and is a marvelous feeling."

Sponsored by the Nosser family and friends, the mural depicts Jitney-Jungle, a first-of-its-kind supermarket to open in Vicksburg in 1933, and the owners who opened it, the late Pete Sr. and Bessie Nosser of Vicksburg.

"The Jitney-Jungle was a lot of things all under one roof," said Rowdy Nosser, a grandson of Pete Sr. and Bessie Nosser. "It was a central part of life in the city. It was a place where people were truly appreciated in that time."

The store housed a cafeteria, which Rowdy Nosser referred to as a "gathering place," a toy store and a delicatessen.

The Nosser family owned and operated four Jitney-Jungle grocery stores in Vicksburg for over 50 years.

The guest speaker will be former Vicksburg Mayor Johnny Holland, and Miss South Outstanding Teen Grace Claire Cordes will sing the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Immediately after the unveiling, a reception will follow at the Art Park beneath a covered tent.

The event will feature foods from local restaurants and door prizes, while celebrating the end of the 32-mural historic Riverfront Mural project.

"We really want all of our sponsors and everyone involved to be in attendance," said Caldwell.

"This is the final thing." Caldwell expects more than 400 people to attend.

Almost all murals in the series were paid for with donations. The project followed a visit to Paducah, KY., where Caldwell saw Dafford's work and suggested a similar project here. Mayor Laurence Leyens agreed and named her chairman of the committee. The Dafford murals cost from $15,000 to almost $20,000 each and the City of Vicksburg landscaped, fenced and lighted the area.

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