By JACK ELLIOTT JR.
Associated Press Writer
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Blues icon B.B. King usually lets his
music do his talking but even that failed him during a tour of a
new multimillion dollar museum dedicated to his career.
"They tell me that heaven is beautiful. If heaven is more
beautiful than the way I feel then I'm ready to go tomorrow," King
said in September at the kickoff of four days of celebrating the
grand opening of his namesake museum.
The 20,000-square-foot B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive
Center was built in King's hometown of Indianola. It was built
around a cotton gin where King once worked. It features four phases
of King's life, from his years in the Mississippi Delta to the
The $15 million project was mostly paid for with private
donations and was the top entertainment story in Mississippi in
King told reporters that he allowed organizers "to get anything
out of my house that they wanted and they did. When I came home, it
was sort of like Katrina had been through my house. I'm happy they
found things that were useful."
Of course, King's legendary guitar "Lucille" was one of the
most coveted items. King said he donated Lucille gladly because
"my guitar is more popular than I am for a lot of people."
King said the museum will serve as an educational tool as well
as an outlet for blues musicians.
Other top entertainment stories were movie star Morgan Freeman
being injured in a car accident in the Mississippi Delta, teenage
star Jamie Lynn Spears giving birth and the Mississippi Blues Trail
expands with dozens of markers going up to honor the state's blues
The 71-year-old Freeman suffered a broken arm in August
following the accident along a dark stretch of rural Mississippi
Delta highway in Tallahatchie County. A passenger, identified as a
friend of Freeman's, also was hurt but details of her injuries was
never made public.
The star of "The Dark Knight" and "Driving Miss Daisy"
underwent about 4-½ hours of surgery at a Memphis, Tenn., hospital.
In December, Freeman was one of six recipients of the Kennedy
Weeks after giving birth to a daughter, Jamie Lynn Spears - the
TV actress and teenage sister of pop star Britney Spears - showed
off the newborn, sharing memories of a "perfect" delivery.
Spears and fiance Casey Aldridge welcomed Maddie Briann at a
hospital in McComb, Miss., on June 19. The 17-year-old posed with
her on the cover of OK! magazine - as expected, given the fact that
Spears announced her pregnancy through an article in OK! and
reportedly was to receive a large payday for exclusive pictures of
Jamie Lynn and Aldridge, a pipe-layer, live in southwest
The list of those honored with Blues Trail markers grew
dramatically in 2008.
A marker was placed at the birthplace of Elvis Presley in
Tupelo. Mississippi native Muddy Waters was honored with one in
Rolling Fork. Blues musicians Joe and Charlie McCoy, who performed
as the McCoy brothers, were honored with a marker in Raymond.
A marker honoring the Mississippi Blind Boys and Sam Myers was
placed at the Piney Woods school grounds in Rankin County. Others
honored with markers included legendary Delta bluesman Robert
Johnson, Grammy award winner James Cotton and Jimmy Reed.
Other notable entertainment headlines of 2008:
- Less than a year after Bo Diddley received the Lifetime
Achievement Award from the state of Mississippi, the rock pioneer
died of a heart attack in June in Florida. He was 79.
- The Mississippi Supreme Court in November said a trial judge
erred in failing to sanction best-selling author Nevada Barr for
lying under oath about an extramarital affair and destroying
evidence in her divorce case. The Supreme Court left intact the
property settlement from Barr's divorce from Richard Broderick
Jones in 2006. Barr's attorney says Barr shouldn't be sanctioned.
- The Mississippi Arts Commission announced in October that Jazz
singer Cassandra Wilson, best-selling author John Grisham and
visual artist Andrew Bucci are among those who'll receive the
state's top arts honor in 2009.
- Sarah Ellen Gillespie, an arts patron whose extensive
collection will be on display in a special wing of the library at
William Carey University, died in September in Hattiesburg. She was
88. Her collection dated back to the 1940s and included Mississippi
artists such as Kate Freeman Clark and Walter Anderson.
- Kermit Scott, the man believed to be the inspiration for Jim
Henson's Kermit the Frog, died in June in Leland. He was 71. Henson
and Scott grew up as friends in Leland, a small Mississippi Delta
town now home to a Muppets museum.
- Paul Davis, a singer and songwriter whose soft rock hit "I Go
Crazy" stayed at the top of the charts for weeks after its release
in 1977, died in April in Meridian. He was 60.
- Former child actress Mollie Mae Gottschalck Barron, who
appeared in a number of "Little Rascals" films, died in April in
Pascagoula. She was 87. Barron was one of the girls who portrayed
the character "Darla" in two "Little Rascals" movies.