[Moore] One Year Later | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Moore] One Year Later

We understand that Jackson has its problems. Aren't there problems everywhere? Utopia doesn't exist.

The cliché is "time flies when you're having fun." We agree. Don't get us wrong, though; we both have careers that keep us going more than relaxing. But what we do know is that we have arrived at the place that was calling us to have fun, be involved and make a difference. And the time has flown since we landed in Fondren. It's been an entire 12 months.

Before we were married, we spent many weekends in Jackson, the place we never really admitted to each other we wanted to be. We had a roof over our heads across the river and were content for the most part.

However, we knew we did not belong there. Nothing much about that county reflects who we are. The houses mirror each other like reflections in water, the "conveniences" are 15 minutes away traveling by car, and the big-box stores offer us about as much diversity as a bag of Pep-O-Mints.

Our weekends or weekday-off days, we crossed the bridge to Jackson. We carried with us three simple tasks: drive slowly, look observantly and dream endlessly. It paid off. Our dream of living in Jackson is now a reality.

Our choices of homes started with a Belhaven, over-our-heads renovator. We then found a northeast Jackson "fixer-upper" we could have probably handled. But neither felt like home.

The third time was a charm, because when we walked into this house, in an eye blink, it felt like our home.

Let us say this home is on the west side of Fondren. When we told friends, co-workers and family we were moving to Ridgeway Street (God bless Frank Melton), the only thing they knew about Ridgeway was the mayor and the story about the house he destroyed here. We can honestly say, as do they, that after being here a year, the perception they had was sad, wrong and uneducated.

Neighbors welcomed us with open arms, smiles and even warm, fresh-baked cookies when we arrived. The concern on their faces—some folks had lived here for more than a decade and weren't sure how we would fit in—flatlined into "this is going to be good" attitudes after our first brief encounters. And once we gathered together more, we all knew that we are meant to be here in this community.

No formal invitations are ever extended here. Our events seem to just happen. It doesn't matter if it is a front-yard crawfish boil, our kids playing pickup games of baseball and football, or even conversations about days we love and the ones we look forward to. We just congregate unexpectedly. It was and still is the sense of community, after only a year, that makes us get up with excitement each day to know what we are coming home to. We are making a difference and believe that we were "called" here to live.

Our yearning to be a part of this community in Jackson has become a reality. We look forward to any and every opportunity to watch the neighborhood and city grow. We are not just interested in watching, but we are involved in the positive changes we are so fortunate to see on a daily basis. You should be, too. It is every Jacksonian's responsibility to be a part of the community.

The changes we have seen in the last year have been nothing less than amazing. Fondren Park opened, and we can hear the laughter of children daily. New restaurants opened their doors in the city including Fatsumo, Parlor Market, Babalu and Bodega. Not to mention, the state-of-the-art Mississippi Children's Museum has added to the depth of Jackson's museum offerings.

Do not mistake this positive talk as naiveté. We understand that Jackson has its problems. Aren't there problems everywhere? Utopia doesn't exist. If it did, however, we are pretty sure Fondren and this city with all of its multicultural offerings, restaurants, neighbors and hospitality are pretty close to it.

We believe in telling the positive story of Jackson and its rebirth. We have become ambassadors for the city. We wear this story on our sleeves, and we tell it as often as we can. And if you want to hear more, don't log on to www dot anything or even do a Google search of our names. No. Instead, take a drive through Fondren and other neighborhoods in Jackson, and see what is happening.

Even better, drive to Ridgeway Street, and you will probably see us sitting out front, soaking everything in. And if you have time, stop, talk and let us tell you more about this great city.

Langston and Lisa Kennedy Moore are newlyweds who reside in Fondren. Langston works for a statewide non-profit organization, and Lisa works for a national contract office-furniture company.

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