Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Jimmy Buffett Birthplace National Historic Site

Jimmy Buffett's Birthplace at the Corner of Garfield and Roosevelt Streets, Pascagoula, Mississippi

Jimmy Buffett, the greatest singer, songwriter, and calypso poet ever to swim in the Caribbean (not to mention being the permanent mayor of Margaritaville) was born in a humble home in Pascagoula, Mississippi on December 25, 1946.  A few years later, while still in his infancy, this future mega star and environmental advocate moved with his family to near Mobile, Alabama where he was raised.  He never grew up so it can only be said that he was raised.

Now 66 years old his career has spanned all or parts of six decades and his impact on music and on people's outlooks has been almost impossible to quantify.  Despite having recorded more than 300 songs only three of them (Come Monday, Margaritaville, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere) have ever made the Top 10 and the only one to win an award was Five O'Clock and that was a joint award with Alan Jackson. Still despite the greatness of his music making it to the Top 10 only three times he has a following of Parrotheads that has to be the envy of every other singer and band out there.  

Who else but Jimmy Buffett could get people to dress up in coconut shell bras and feel secure in themselves at a concert?

Jimmy has said several times that with fans like Parrotheads who needs awards still the lack of recognition afforded him and his accomplishments borders on criminal.  Johnny Cash, who wouldn't know rock and roll music if it bought him another quaalude has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Jimmy Buffett has not.  The Everly Brothers, who wouldn't know rock and roll if it bit them on the ass have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but not Jimmy Buffett.  Even Bobby Darin has made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but Jimmy Buffett hasn't even been considered.

I think this is a national travesty and a national tragedy and I am determined to fix it and I an going to fix it by proposing that Congress establish the Jimmy Buffett Birthplace National Historic Site in Pascagoula, Mississippi and that they do it soon!  Right now if you stop by the Chamber of Commerce office in Pascagoula and ask for a map of the city bicycle path, the seventh place highlighted on the map is to stop by Jimmy Buffett's birthplace!  Eighth on the list is the former home of William Faulkner - Jimmy is surrounded by greatness in that city.  The city of Pascagoula recognizes his awesomness.  Its time Congress did as well.

Currently there are 79 sites across the United States that have been designated by Congress as a National Historic Site:  Among many others, these sites include Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace, in Kentucky Andrew Johnson's Birthplace in Tennessee, Carl Sandburg's Home in the mountains of North Carolina, and the home of twisted author Edgar Alan Poe in Philadelphia where he concocted the story "The Pit and the Pendulum."  

While I was in Mississippi this week I stopped by the Mary C O'Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education in Ocean Springs where I saw the "Senator Trent Lott Auditorium" on display.  Not far outside of Pascagoula I stopped at the "Trent Lott International Airport" that receives no commercial air traffic whatsoever let alone any from international locations.  It seems that every bridge and every stretch of US highway along the coast of Mississippi is named after some dead soldier or a state trooper killed in action.  Given all of that why can't this humble home in Pascagoula be established by Congress as a National Historic Site to the greatest singer to ever come out of the Mississippi Gulf Coast?  The entrance sign to Mississippi contains the slogan "Birthplace of America's Music"  Its high time Congress took action to codify that statement.

The last Congress that ended in 2012 passed something like 100 bills in two years and the bulk of them were for re-naming Post Office buildings.  Why can't the same thing be done in the current Congress and why can't they start with Jimmy Buffett?

I'm going to begin my letter writing campaign this week and I encourage you to do the same.  Start by contacting these two US Senators from Mississippi:

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
555 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-6253
Fax: (202) 228-0378

Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
United States Senate
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2402

And the person most likely to benefit from the designation is the Congressman from Mississippi's Fourth Congressional District

Congressman Steve Palazzo (R-MS)
331 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5772
Fax: (202) 225-7074

Do it for people like this guy who got in touch with his inner child at a Buffett concert in Tampa and drove around on a bicycle that looks like a shark while carrying a shark fin on his back.  Not many people other than Jimmy Buffett has this affect on Americans and that alone qualifies for his humble beginnings to be forever immortalized in a National Historic Site designation.

Fins Up!