Delegating Denver #28 of 56: Mississippi

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Total Number of Delegates: 40 Pledged: 33 Unpledged: 7

How to Recognize a Mississippi Delegate: Due to a prolonged history of ill-timed natural disasters and social injustice, Mississippi today is the poorest state in the nation. Fortunately, that poverty has created a form of super-human state resident. Take, for example, Oprah and Elvis. She is the richest woman alive, and he's the richest dead man in the world. Both natives were able to harness their hardships and use them to become international inspirations. Mississippi is also the birthplace of the blues and the epicenter of the Southern Gothic literary style. Clearly, Mississippians can rely on intuition, irony and social events to transcend the underlying dreadfulness of the American experience! This phenomenon is best illustrated in the 1967 Bobbie Gentry hit, "Ode to Billie Joe." In the song, Mama states that the word from Choctaw Ridge is that "Billie Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge." Then Papa dryly surmises, "Well, Billie Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please." Simply stated, matter-of-fact Mississippians ignore the unsolvable problems and get on with enjoying the simple things in life. It's the mantra of Elvis and Oprah. In Denver, look for Mississippi delegates wherever lemons are being made into lemonade. All Mississipians spend their summers in oversized T-shirts referred to as “Mississippi muumuus.” Favorite graphics will include single images, or combinations, of howling coyotes, Bible passages and patriotism.

Famous Mississippians: Puppet masters Jim Henson and Oprah Winfrey; civil-rights activists Ida B. Wells and Medgar Evers; writers William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty and Muna Lee; musicians John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Sam Cooke, Bobbie Gentry, Jimmy Buffet, Lance Bass and Faith Ford; actors Eric Roberts, Sela Ward and (Mr. Delta Burke) Gerald McRaney; athletes Archie Manning, Walter Payton, Jerry Riceand Brett Favre.

Famous Democrats From Mississippi: Former lieutenant governor Evelyn Gandy and former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry.

Famous Mississippians With Denver Connections: Regis College Old Main "Pink Palace" architect Henry Dozier; American Basketball Association Denver Rocket Spencer Haywood; former astronaut and current director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden Richard Truly; University of Denver creative writing professor Selah Saterstrom.

State Nickname: The Magnolia State (official); The Mud-cat State, The Mud-waddler State, The FEMA-trailer State (unofficial) Population: 2,910,540 Racial Distribution: 59% white, 37% black, 1% Asian, 1% Native American, 2% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $23,448 Unemployment: 6.6%


Most Mississippian Denver Neighborhood: Clayton

Most Mississippian Bar: Ziggie's Saloon 4923 West 38th Avenue This should be the western-most marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail.

Most Mississippian Restaurant: Ethel's House of Soul 2622 Welton Street Come taste why Mississippi native Miss Ethel has been the Queen of Denver's Clean Plate Club for 37 years.

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Best Day Trip: Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Religious belief is not a private matter in Mississippi. Every resident must belong to a church and publicly identify its name and denomination and state the frequency of his or her weekly visits. This information is required on everything from job applications, loan forms and gym memberships to business cards, social networking websites and political campaign materials. To the Mississippian accustomed to the fervent folk-art-covered Margaret's Grocery in Vicksburg and the transcendent solos of the Mississippi Mass Choir's Mother Burke, Denver may seem like a town without Jesus. But fear not. Just raise your heads and drive your cars south on Interstate 25toward Colorado Springs. Colorado's second-largest city is home to dozens of evangelical organizations and mega-churches — not that any visitor would ever know it. This is not a city of personal expression. Devotion to the Lord is shown through the size of glass-coveredoffice buildings and acreage of parking lots. Mississippians should instead take exit 146, turn right onto Garden of the Gods Road and head toward the mountains for 2.5 miles. Turn left at 30th Street. The road will take you to the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. By all means, park the car, get out and go forth, raise your eyes and rejoice unto the power and the glory. In this strange garden of colossal monstrosities, all motionless and silent, with the strange look of having been stopped and held back at the very climax of some supernatural catastrophe, parishioners can contemplate the pale-pink joke of pious pursuit. But it's a lot more fun if you bring a picnic. Just ask Elvis and Oprah. — Kenny Be

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