Jackson Mississippi is dynoMITE - Alcorn State marching band (by Sheila Scarborough)I’m fresh off of a short Southern road trip between the Tourism track at BlogWorld and New Media Expo West in Los Angeles, and the Symposium on Social Media in Tourism (SoMeT) in Tunica, Mississippi.

In between LA and Tunica, I landed in Jackson, MS, put on my travel blogger hat and drove north for a few days while working on an article for Automotive Traveler.

Allow me to give a HUGE shout-out and thank you to my hosts at the Jackson, MS CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) especially their Public Relations Manager, Marika Cackett.

Marika, Sophie McNeil and crew went well beyond the call of duty to ensure that I got a well-rounded view of their city, even though I didn’t have much time there. I was on the football field at a Battle of the Bands to hear the Sonic Boom of the South marching band from Jackson State University, I ate one fabulous meal after another all over town, I visited Civil Rights landmarks like Medgar Evers’ home and I heard the Central Mississippi Blues Society at local joint Hal and Mal’s.

The most wonderful moments, however, were with the enthusiastic and fun Marika as she connected me with the people who are creating an incredible renaissance in the historically African-American Farish Street district, and when she and I made happy fools of ourselves singing along with Marvin Gaye and Etta James on the jukebox at Peaches Cafe.

Here’s the above-and-beyond part: I didn’t organize my travel plans as well as I usually do, and I hadn’t properly lined up a FIAT 500 from Jackson’s Enterprise car rental (for the Automotive Traveler story.) I was swamped by BlogWorld preps and just blew it.

Marika said, “Hey, I’ll call Enterprise for you about the FIAT rental.”  I felt like such a disorganized moron that I tried to turn her down, but she cheerfully blew me off and made the call anyway. A few hours later, my phone rings in Los Angeles. “I got your FIAT!” she says. I’ll swear, I could have crawled through the phone and hugged her. She saved my bacon.

Thank you so much, Marika and all of the tourism folks who help us out even when we don’t really deserve it. 🙂

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