Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"The Help" Belhaven Photo Tour

My little neighborhood is getting some major publicity these days with the premier of The Help only a few days away. It happens to be opening in Madison on my birthday! But the tickets are $100 and so I think I'll be waiting a little while. The Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation has put together a great self-guided tour through the neighborhood of places mentioned in the book. The PDF can be found here: http://www.greaterbelhaven.com/documents/TheHelpTour.pdf

But for those of you not in our little corner of the world, here's my tour based on the above:

McDades Market No. 14

McDades Market No. 14 (formerly Jitney Jungle) began as a local grocery store in 1919 by the Holman and McCarty families. This market has been made famous by both Eudora Welty and Willie Morris--making it Mississippi's most literary supermarket!

"See, Miss Leefolt, she dress up nice ever day. Always got her makeup on, got a carport, double-door Frigidaire with built-in icebox."

I imagine I have very rarely gone into McDades with makeup on--it's usually on Sunday morning for the paper and sausage, or while I'm walking in the afternoon to grab whatever I need for dinner.

North State Street

North State Street (Hwy 51). It kinda amazes me that I get on the same street every morning on my way to work and if I just followed it north for long enough I'd end up in the middle of Senatobia. This picture is of City View - home to Laura and Thomas. The building is art deco in style and was around during the era of The Help. 

Fairview Inn

"I was thinking next year we might do a Gone With the Wind theme for the Benefit," Hilly says, "maybe rent the ol Fairview Manison." The Fairview looks exactly like something from Gone With the Wind and houses Sophia's Restaurant - one of my favorite places to eat in Jakson. It also a really fun places for parties or wedding receptions.

Bailey Magnet High School

This building reminds me of a Soviet prison, but it's apparently won all sorts of architecture awards. In The Help era it was the junior high school for Belhaven. "My favorite photograph is of the three of us (Hilly, Elizabeth and Skeeter) sitting in the football stands in junior high, all jammed together, shoulder to shoulder."

Myrtle Street

This is my friend Ashley's house (well it was until about a month ago when they moved, but I'm still in denial about that). It's a great example of the houses on Myrtle Street. It's where the evil Hilly supposedly lived. Ashley strongly identified with Skeeter's character in her determination to do what she thought was right and not exactly caring about being popular.

1123 Pinehurst Street

"When Kathryn was born, Demetrie, dressed in her white, starched uniform, carried the baby from the hospital after our five-day stay, leading me and a host of our family members...like a procession...to our home." This is Kathryn Stockett's parent's home on Pinehurst Street when she was born. She spent the first two months of her life as a neighbor to Eudora Welty - no wonder she grew up to be a writer!

What did you think of the book? I met Kathryn Stockett when she came to Millsaps' Arts & Lecture series. I really liked talking to her behind the stage, but I felt her talk had a little bit too much of a PR-prepped feel.

Overall, I loved the book--the characters just came to life and I loved reading about my grocery store and knowing exactly where Myrtle Street is located. It was one of those books that you just couldn't quit thinking about. Sandra, my black friend from work, and I read it together and it was really interesting getting her take on things. For instance, she asked me if there really were girls at Ole Miss looking for a MRS degree (yes) and she taught me about CP time. I'm usually the only white person in the room that laughs when that's mentioned!

Here's the trailer:

For pictures of me stalking Emma Stone when the movie was being filmed in Fondren, click here. There's a great interview that Southern Living did with Kathryn Stockett in the August issue.

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