Monday, March 14, 2016

Natchez Mammy

Driving up to Natchez, Mississippi, there’s a roadside attraction along Highway 61 that will make you stop and exclaim, “What?”
It’s Mammy’s Cupboard and the restaurant is built in the shape of an Aunt Jemina-type character, a homage to the nourishing servant made popular in “Gone With the Wind.” The eating area exists within the skirt of an African American servant with the smiling woman’s head resting on top, holding a serving tray. The entire structure is 28 feet tall, enough to make drivers pull over out of curiosity, but leaves only a small space inside.
The restaurant, known to serve delicious lunches and desserts, was built in 1940 during non-political correctness days, meant to encourage people to stop for a bite as they headed over to Natchez and the numerous antebellum homes, not to mention the annual Natchez Pilgrimages in the spring and fall. Later, when PC was coming into vogue and Natchez visitors didn’t quite appreciate the sentiment, the mammy’s skin color was lightened. Today, she could be any race.
            Lots of famous people have graced Mammy’s skirts and the restaurant has become one of the most photographed spots in Mississippi.

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