Happy Birthday, Eudora! Here's How To Celebrate Jackson's Beloved Author
Pay homage to Welty in Jackson on April 13 and throughout the year.
Pulitzer Prize winner, literary great, and local legend Eudora Welty would have celebrated her 114th birthday on Thursday, April 13. To commemorate the eponymous writer, the Eudora Welty House and Gardens is throwing a bibliophilic birthday party from 9 am to 4 pm, complete with complimentary cupcakes, front porch lemonade, and free buttonmaking and tours of the home (reservations are encouraged, book at email@example.com).
Read on to learn more about how you can pay homage to Welty throughout Jackson this season and throughout the year.
Visit Her Lifelong Home In Historic Belhaven
A must for any bookworm, Eudora Welty's house and garden are nestled in the Historic Belhaven neighborhood and open for tours weekly. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2004, the 1925 Tudor Revival is one of the most well-preserved literary residences in the country, containing a treasure trove of books, artwork, photographs, and furnishings from the late author.
While most people know Welty as a writer, she was also an avid gardener, with over 150 plant species appearing throughout her novels and short stories. Her gardens are also open for weekly tours, recognized as an official stop on the American Camellia Society Gulf Coast Camellia Trail and a display garden for the American Daffodil Society. If you're in town during the Spring, stop by the Heirloom Plant Sale, where the "Cereus Weeder" volunteers sell propagated native plants to benefit the gardens and the Eudora Welty Foundation.
Explore Her Stomping Grounds & Street Art
Welty has continued to move generations of writers, artists, and creatives with her poignant storytelling about Mississippi and the American South. As someone frequently inspired by the people and places of her neighborhood and city, several artists in the area have paid homage to the late author with mural work in Belhaven and Downtown Jackson. Visit the Eudora Welty portrait mural by resident Laurin Stennis on the side of Corner Market near the Belhaven Town Center and see her likeness alongside other Jackson legends in the 'Jxn Icons' mural across from the Two Mississippi Museums by JSU graduate, local artist, and Visit Jackson team member, Reshonda Perryman.
Sip On Her Inspired Cocktail
At the historic Fairview Inn in Belhaven, the Library Lounge churns out writer-themed cocktails in the hotel's original c. 1908 library. Kick back and sip on "The Belhaven" - a concoction of Cathead Vodka, Cucumber, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda, and Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, while enjoying the intimate and scholarly settings. If the weather's nice, we love to take our drink outdoors under the ancient magnolia and feel the Mississippi breezes pass by.
Read One Of Her Novels Or Short Stories
Round out your Weltian birthday celebrations by picking up one of her classic novels or short stories at Lemuria Books, Jackson's cherished bookstore started by John Evans in 1975. Welty was a supporter of getting Lemuria off the ground during the late years of her life, her quote about her love of books greeting guests on the wall outside the bookshop - “I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them – with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself.”
Lemuria offers a wealth of Welty's classics, such as her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Optimist's Daughter," and collectible and coffee table works like "Eudora Welty Photographs," featuring her captured visions of life in 1930s Mississippi.
Falling in Love With Welty’s Jackson
Jackson is the perfect stop for a literary pilgrimage, one that would not be complete without paying homage to Eudora Welty, one of the city’s most celebrated daughters.