Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oxford, MS

Recently, my son and I spent a weekend in Oxford. We enjoyed visiting the campus of Ole Miss and walking through the town. The square was a wonderful place, filled with pedestrians day and night, filled with beautiful architecture and interesting shops, restaurants and bars. The famous Square Books is there as well as a couple of other expanded bookstores which were open at 9:00 p.m. while we were there, luring patrons from the nightspots around the square.
That visit got me thinking again about small town new/old urbanism again. I remembered summers at my grandmother's house on Canal Street in Thibodaux, LA. She never did learn to drive and we walked everywhere. The cathedral was a block to the west, downtown two blocks east. She picked out her groceries at the store and they were delivered that afternoon. My sister and I walked to the movie theater in the evening and sometimes had dinner in the cafe next to the theater. Thibodaux in those days had a downtown a lot like Oxford's, except that it was intended for the folks who lived and worked there and not tourists.
Brookhaven's downtown is no longer like that wonderful memory from my childhood, but it isn't Oxford's tourist attraction either. It is a place where you see your friends and neighbors as they stop at a cafe for lunch, do their banking or shopping and, most importantly, visit the library. Brookhaven will share its downtown with visitors soon, as the Ole Brook Festival fills the area with music, food and arts & crafts.
And just to make this post at least marginally related to books: I found a great graphic novel at Square Books, Josh Neufeld's A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, which is available on line here. It is a sobering look at some of the lives affected by Katrina. New Orleans was a wonderful city before katrina, and will be once again.

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