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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

There Was... a House... in Natchez...

When we were teenagers, a friend and I would occasionally phone Nellie and ask her if she had anything for sale. She would usually talk to us, and she was never rude.

Nellie offered both black and white women. There was a story that a man once asked for a white woman, and when she came out, it was his wife!

Nellie was a huge baseball fan. I heard that, for a long period of years, she attended every single World Series game.

At the time of her death, Cal Adams, who also grew up in Natchez, had a talk show on WJNT-1180AM here in Jackson (in addition to his job as a commentator on WAPT-Channel 16). Cal was fascinated by the story and devoted considerable time to it on his radio program.

The following is a reprint from the Houston (Texas) Chronicle of July 22, 1990:


If you wanted a girl at Nellie Jackson’s place, you arrived before midnight and you arrived sober.

They were simple rules, but effective ones. For the better part of 60 years they had helped Nellie Jackson stay in business as the best-known madam in this Mississippi River town.

For that long, the city fathers – police chiefs, mayors, aldermen – had turned a blind eye to the goings on in the nondescript frame house with the red striped awnings on North Rankin Street.

Madam with a heart of gold

In that time, Nellie Jackson, with her heart of gold, bug white Lincoln and small French poodles, became arguably the most colorful and best known person in town, loved by mayors and doctors, saloon owners and neighbors.

Last week, at age 87, they laid Nellie Jackson to rest. They laid her to rest because a 20-year-old kid would not play by the rules.

He didn’t take kindly, the police said, to being told by Jackson to go home when he stumbled up the stairs to her porch in the early hours of July 5 and banged on her door.

He went to a nearby gas station, filled an ice cooler with gasoline and returned. There, police said, he doused Nellie Jackson and her front porch and in the process spilled gasoline on himself. When he struck the match, all three burned [Nellie's dog was killed instantly].

For the next week, Jackson languished in a nearby hospital, slipping in and out of consciousness, while in Natchez they said prayers for her at church and the mayor was among many who donated blood.

She was severely injured, with third-degree burns over 100 percent of her body. She died July 12, 1990.

The suspect, a business student from the University of Mississippi, was badly burned. He is in critical condition. Criminal charges are pending [he died at the Greenville (Mississippi) Burn Center].

Four women and a child living at the house were not injured.

"She was special to anyone who knew her," said Andre’ Farish, a close friend of Jackson’s. "I guess it’s the circumstances, more or less. If I had heard she had just up and kicked the bucket, I’d say ‘Well, she lived a good life.’ It’s just the damned..." Read more>>>>


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