The county road along I-10E through Mississippi is lined with a whole lot of nothing. In the middle of all that nothing is Telulah, Mississippi, a small town that takes up about one or two miles of road with tiny storefronts. Though most of them are dilapidated and seem to be out of business, their hand-painted signs are 10/10 and all done by one local resident, James Brown.
James Brown has been painting signs (and pictures — note his snowy landscape hanging on his shop) for 40 years. Even the ‘Jesus Today’ guy, Ernest, had an authentic Brown sign. He was marching around the block holding his sign. I left town and came back 20 minutes later to get his picture, which he was very excited about. He says he’s out there every day for at least half an hour.
The US Census named Mississippi as America’s poorest state in 2011. Telulah included an abandoned Coca-Cola factory, a ‘thrift store’ consisting of two racks of old t-shirts in the parking lot of a defunct gas station, two shut-down general stores being repaired, three auto repair shops, James Brown’s sign shack, a handful of collapsing ‘clubs’, one grocery store, a police station, and a bunch of slanty one-level ‘houses’ dotting the stretch of land behind the main road.
A swamp separated all of this from the ‘rich people’ side of town: houses that had two stories and were modern and well maintained. I didn’t explore that area so I can’t really tell you anything about it. I do know that the dogs in this town do not give a single f-ck. The following happened (except it was me instead of a streetcar and a giant rottweiler instead of whatever kind of dog this is):
Hand painted signs by James Brown and non-hand painted signs by Who Cares: