Grammy museum just one boost for tourism

Published 4:32 pm Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gov. Haley Barbour had a surprise announcement at the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual meeting that could have a big impact on the Delta.

Bob Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, announced the music awards organization will locate its first museum to be outside of California in Cleveland, Miss.

“The state of Mississippi is the cradle of American music,” Santelli said.

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No timetable has been set for the museum, with an estimated cost of $10 million to $12 million.

But Delta officials are excited about the development, just as officials in Jackson are excited over the 2011 Legislature approving a $38 million civil rights museum.

Mississippi’s tourism overall has been hit hard, first by Katrina in 2005, then recession in 2008, then by the BP PLC oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which tainted the region’s seafood and beaches.

Now, of course, the Gulf food is the most tested — and verifiably safe – as any food anywhere, and millions are being poured into boosting Coast tourism.

Barbour’s office announced earlier that a newly formed nonprofit called The Mississippi Coast Regional Tourism Partnership will oversee how $16 million in money from BP will be used to market and promote the Coast. Overall, officials said, the oil company has committed $34 million for tourism in Mississippi.

Casinos in the Delta and the Coast are also working to lure visitors to the state.

This being the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War with the state’s attractions at battlefields and historic sites in Vicksburg, Corinth and Natchez, conditions are ripe for an even bigger tourism draw this year.

In the future, the Grammy museum should boost Delta venues, and the state overall, considering the already existing draws of the Delta Blues Museum at Clarksdale (, the B.B. King Museum in Indianola (, and the Mississippi Blues Trail ( with its sites sprinkled across the state, including Jackson. …