During my stay in Desha County, I took a road trip to McGehee, about 20 miles south of Dumas. It was rainy mid-week and many of my plans were washed out…..no cotton picking when it is wet. usually, picking starts after 10 am or so, after the dew dries.
From McGehee, I turned north to Pine Bluff. Went to the mall there–one of the more miserable shopping experiences in a while. I was at the Pine Bluff mall a few years ago, and the vacancy rate was alarming. Since then, it has even gotten worse—mostly empty stores, and a few anchor tenants (sears, dillars, jc penny). I purchased a hooded sweatshirt—the rains brought in a cold front I was unprepared for.
On Wed., I traveled further south, into Chicot County. At Lake Village (located on the banks of the biggest ox-bow lakes in the US) I went to the Epstein & Co. Gin.
Well, my tour guide, the plant manager, had called in sick. I was loading up in my car to go, when the big boss, Sam Epstein Angel, yelled out to me….he invited me in, and gave me a good interview and tour. the gin is mostly used for the 21 farms Angel rents out. He is a big time farm operator, who also serves on the federal Mississippi and Tributaries Commission. On the commission, he works with bob portiss, the head of the Catoosa (Tulsa) port—he’s a source who was very helpful to me a while back….