Mary Margaret Chambliss
Clarksdale, Mississippi, might sing like a sad blues song if not for witty locals, inventive stops, and its most famous supporter, Morgan Freeman. The award-winning actor calls this town cradled between cotton fields and catfish farms on U.S. 61 home.
"The Delta has always been magic," he says. "There's a comfort level forme here that's higher than anywhere else." So investing in the town he loves comes naturally.
At Madidi, a restaurant owned by Morgan and business partner Bill Luckett, patrons feast on entrées fused with French influences. The eatery changes its menu often but always adds snappy twists to Southern staples. Shrimp and grits ($21) boasts caramelized apples and a confiture of cherry tomatoes. The Delta Fish and Chips ($23) includes poached sea bass, smoked salmon, and butternut squash chips.
Madidi isn't Morgan's only favorite stop. During a visit to the Delta Blues Museum, he extols the virtues of two Delta legends. "B.B. King talks about being done wrong by a woman and how she's run off with another man. But Bobby ‘Blue' Bland," he says with a laugh, "would be the guy she'd run off with. Those two guys clearly explain what the blues is all about."