“New ideas, not money or machinery, are the source of success today. The creative economy is revitalizing manufacturing, service, retailing and entertainment industries. It is changing where people want to live, work and learn – where they think, invent and produce.” This statement comes from the study on Mississippi’s Creative Economy conducted by The Mississippi Arts Commission and The Mississippi Development Authority. The statistics included in the study are as fascinating as the overall idea itself. Employees of creative companies and employees who work in creative occupations, accounts for 63,497 jobs in our state… Mississippi is outperforming the nation in creative economy job growth. How do we encourage that here in our town?
As I continue to delve into the history of Laurel, it’s clearly evident that it had created for itself a proper “people climate”. The lists of architects, engineers, landscapers and artists who contributed to our city’s beauty and culture are hard to believe. Talented people wanted to move here, live here, work here and stay here. While a specific strategy might not have been in place, something aimed at attracting and retaining people, creative people. The lifestyle amenities that people want and use often were part of the plan. Churches, parks, pools, sidewalks, tree lined streets, transportation and cultural offerings were available and accessible.
We will have to create and reinvest in what people want in the way of interesting attractions, entertainment and recreation. I have to believe that Laurel will find ways to do just that. Who would still drive south if we had more options for an enjoyable evening here? The release of Lionel Ritchie’s “Tuskegee” album of duets has stirred many memories for me. Music has a way of marking time in one’s life. A song can take us to a place and time in an instant. And so there I was mentally at the Pinehurst Hotel, listening to a band named “Kat Kracker” and dancing to “I’m Easy”.