Idea to make Pine Bluff a Blues Hot Spot taking off

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By Richard Ledbetter/Special to The Commercial

(PINE BLUFF, AR) – When it comes to aspirations for the future of downtown Pine Bluff’s Arts District, Jimmy “Catfish” Cunningham and Alderman Rev. Lloyd Holcomb Jr. are like a couple of kids on Christmas morning.

And their excitement is catching.

Asked where the nickname “Catfish” comes from, Cunningham said, smiling, “Because I love it so much. The one most delectable thing on this earth is catfish. Nothing is better or finer. I grew up two blocks from the lake here in Pine Bluff, and fishing was our way of life.”

Cunningham is the founder of a new organization titled the “Delta Rhythm and Bayous Alliance.”

He explained the DRBA and their vision for a tourism triumvirate between Pine Bluff, Greeneville, Mississippi, and Clarksdale, Mississippi.

“We’re a non-profit working to develop a travel corridor to highlight the cultural and geographical distinctions in what has been designated by Arkansas and Mississippi as the ‘Delta Rhythm and Bayous Highway’ along U.S. 65 S. and 82,” he said.

“I’ve written three books regarding Delta Blues, art and the African-American history of this area. I’ve found that the arts are most expansive in three counties across the Delta. They are Coahoma County, where Clarksdale is located, Washington County, where Greeneville is, and our own Jefferson County.

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