I grew up in the old Fondren. Not the old old true Fondren in its Duling days, when its quirky mid-city personality was budding, but the early 90’s Fondren. Before the rekindling. Pre Fondren after 5 and pre Ann Herlihy’s gathering of local art under one roof. Years before Byron Knight sneakily, one bean at a time, created a gathering spot for hipsters, business types and children coexisting over coffee, computers, or story time.

A day here can involve a children’s story read by our own Mike Peters, unofficial father of Fondren followed by a Fondren Express trolley ride. An afternoon study hour nursing a frozen Sneaky B special can lead into setting the sun, drinking a Lazy Magnolia beer and taking in the music of soulful Wooden Finger or the heartfelt anthems of Taylor Hildebrand. The businesses now are likely to display the proprietor’s name…not calculated names created to look eye-catching in the Sunday flyers. But the names of the people inside, greeting you with a smile and knowledge of their wares. Places like Fischer Gallery. Marcy Fischer Nessell loves art. All art of all sorts from around the globe, yet this shop – ahem – gallery – hangs our art. When Mississippi, and more exactly, Fondren artists create,

Marcy embraces. She honors them with a true gallery style space; clean lights, bright walls, and a smile that outshines them both. Even those of us on teacher salaries are swept into the magic of the evening and the art of Puckett, Goodman, Lott and Williams.

Each weekend in Fondren is filled with options, too. Fondren Corner alone is home to high end apparel, home accessories, unique local t’s, and the sizzle of burgers on the griddle. But twice a year, Fondren’s vitality is amped up higher than Patrick Harkins’ Fondren Guitars. Fondren Unwrapped, a community open house party, allows the neighborhood to dress up, and usher in the holidays. And in the spring, music, creativity, and an appetite for fun, all can be quenched with Arts Eats & Beats, the season’s biggest street party. It’s the perfect opportunity for shopping for a love, Nina Jane bracelet at the Treehouse Boutique, a Roz Roy from Brown’s Art or trend setting furnishings at Glo or Nancy Price. The streets are abuzz with music and conversation, as we invite our neighbors from around Jackson to enjoy our renaissance. As the shops close, it’s cocktail hour with Mississippi’s Cathead vodka at Nick’s or Walker’s followed by a chef created dinner.

I still live in Fondren, but I don’t always call it Fondren. I call it home. Come see me.

Revisiting earlier issues of Find It In Fondren™ as we work to bring you the next one, on stands June 11. We love this timeless piece from Laura Blackwell.