Best of the Week


Juke joint package captures Grammy-nominated bluesman


Jackson, Mississippi, reporter Leah Willingham and Jackson photographer Rogelio Solis were joined by New Orleans video journalist Stacey Plaisance Jenkins to tell the moving story of a Mississippi blues artist who is keeping a musical tradition alive.

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Bluesman and proprietor Jimmy “Duck” Holmes stands at the door his Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Miss., Jan. 21, 2021. – AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis

Willingham couldn’t find a phone number for Grammy-nominated Jimmy “Duck” Holmes — musician, owner of the oldest-surviving juke joint in the country and the keeper of the unique Bentonia, Mississippi, blues musical tradition — so she set off to find him and interview him in the Blue Front Café. She then returned twice for more interviews, details of Holmes’ daily life, and impressive visuals by Solis and Plaisance Jenkins.

The all-formats package brought attention to Holmes’ rich musical contributions and conveyed a strong sense of place — Holmes’ café isn’t just a music spot but a part of the fabric of the close-knit community. The story had some 23,000 pageviews on AP News with remarkably high reader engagement.

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