Known for the writers who grew up or lived here -- ranging from Shelby Foote to Walker Percy to Muppets creator Jim Henson -- Greenville calls itself "the Heart and Soul of the Mississippi Delta," which writer David Cohen said "begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg."
There are 35,000 residents in Greenville, which is on Ferguson Lake, formerly part of the Mississippi River. Yet a quick tour from a riverboat will make visitors wonder where they are. Downtown is beyond sleepy; there are no public buses and no taxis, "but we have cars," said a tour guide. On a recent Friday in December, it was difficult to find many signs of activity downtown.
H. Ben Nelken, who was born here, said he began opening the first of five local museums about 20 years ago, because there weren't any. His Greenville History Museum is a hodgepodge of donations, some quirky and interesting. You need to hunt among its exhibits; among them is a feature on a former editor of the"Delta Democrat Times," Hodding Carter, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1946 for his editorials outlining social and economic injustice and intolerance.
The Hebrew Union Congregation Temple is an attraction, with an exhibit of its history in Greenville, as is the E.E. Bass Auditorium & Cultural Center, where visitors can ride an 1899 carousel. There's also a casino boat, Lighthouse Point Casino.