Poor William’s Whims: Why I Like Being an Innkeeper in Clarksdale, Mississippi


Why I Like Being an Innkeeper in Clarksdale, Mississippi

The pen of Poor William has been silent for a few weeks, the result of having a full house nightly at the Clark House Residential Inn located in downtown Clarksdaleand due to his much needed self-reflection, which has made him acutely aware of areas in his personal and professional life in dire need of improvement. It is a good thing!

Watercolor painting of Clark House Residential Inn in Clarksdale. Painting by John and Emma Lou Ruskey

Watercolor painting of Clark House Residential Inn in Clarksdale. Painting by John and Emma Lou Ruskey

However, the focus of this whim is to share what a pleasure it is to daily serve and visit with folks from all around the world. It is mind-boggling how many people daily descend on our Mississippi Delta Mecca looking for the blues, trying to eliminate the blues, and hunting the “root of real”—the blues!

Clarksdale has its problems and they are legion, but what town in America doesn’t? What we do have is a bevy of folks from young to old, from black to white, from rich to poor and from “something to gain” to “nothing to gain,” who make visitors feel as though they have reached a destination that has been waiting for them all their lives. That is why so many visitors move here full-time or part-time, and that is why they come back in droves, year after year.

I relish sharing with each guest what Clarksdale has to offer: blues music, non-blues music, museums, restaurants, art galleries, cool shops, river activities, bucolic drives, killer festivals and some of the finest, most welcoming folks on the face of the earth and a few under it. Oh yeah, without the bottom-dweller “there ain’t much real!” And, Poor William is a bottom-dweller of epic proportions.

Clarksdale individuals and businesses daily ply their trade, their wares and their desire to welcome the mobile melting pot descending on our fair haven and/or passing through.

Clarksdale is “still happening” and will “continue to happen,” as long as there are people who find value in our heritage and want to visit and as long as there are locals willing to meet their needs.

Whether our service providers—purveyors of Delta Goodness—utilize grant money, private investment or some combination of the two, visitors appreciate our desire and our actions in welcoming them to our home, our village, our town.

One of my greatest pleasures is the amicable, synergistic, non-competitive relationships shared among Clarksdale’s innkeepers: Bubba O’Keefe with the Lofts at the Five and Dime,  Guy Malvezzi and Bill Talbot at the Shack Up Inn, Royce Ader who owns the Big Pink Guesthouse, Toni Nasser with Ground Zero’s Delta Cotton Company Apartments, John Magnussen who manages The Squeeze Box, James Butler at The Loft at Hopson Plantation, and Rat Ratliff at the Riverside Hotel.

We refer guests to each other’s places on a daily basis. We want to make sure that visitors to Clarksdale have the overnight experience they desire. If a guest calls and is looking for a little different experience than we offer, then Clarksdale’s innkeepers will encourage them to stay at the place more perfectly designed for their style and taste.

In summation, Poor William wants to thank every innkeeper, business and individual who caters to the needs of our guests—our lifeblood—and we want Delta Bohemians everywhere and “appreciators “ of Clarksdale to know that we value you, we welcome you and we do not take for granted the monetary and emotional investments you make in one of the most unique places in the world—that’s the whole world folks! pw


Share and Enjoy !

Friends of the Delta Bohemian®


  1. Very nice PW. I enjoy all your posts.

  2. Daddy Rich, the Peerle$$ One! Thanks brother! pw

  3. Billy,

    Thanks for sharin’ the love.


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