Woodville, Mississippi: Mammy’s Cupboard


There isn’t a whole lot to see on the 90 mile drive from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Natchez, Mississippi.  US 61 remains flat to gently rolling, with trees on both sides of the road.  There aren’t many towns, either.  So, when I came upon Woodville, Mississippi, I decided to detour into downtown.

Woodville certainly has the look and feel of what I had expected to find in a southern Mississippi town.  This is the deep south, and the town has an old, slightly impoverished feel.

Woodville’s centerpiece is the Wilkinson County Courthouse, surrounded by green lawns and big oak trees.

There are some stores on the town square, including a couple of antique stores, but nothing was open when I visited.

Down the hill from the courthouse, an old gas station is barely standing — but it still displays rusty old Coca-Cola signs.

Sadly, Tyson’s Cafe wasn’t open either.

After wandering around Woodville, I knew I had no choice but to make the final push to Natchez, where I would spend the night.  The rest of US 61 was no more exciting than the previous stretch had been (as you’ll see in the Drivelapse video below), but I did find one reason to slam on the brakes.

Mammy’s Cupboard certainly isn’t your everyday lunch counter.  The tiny restaurant and gift shop is housed underneath the skirt of a 3-story-tall African-American woman, who’s holding a serving tray.  What Mammy serves up (besides good food, apparently, from the online reviews), is an equal serving of racial discomfort and kitsch appeal.  Thankfully, Mammy was built long enough ago that everyone is willing to accept her as a historical landmark, rather than a racial stereotype.

I had arrived far too late in the day to gain access to whatever awaited underneath Mammy’s skirt.  I think she’s only open for lunch, Tuesday through Saturday.

Mammy was much more, umm, black, back in the early 1940’s, when she served as a gas station.  You can see the historic photo taken by Edward Weston here.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the dash-cam time-lapse video of my drive from Baton Rouge, through Woodville, to Natchez:

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