Picayune Mississippi, to some is just a sleepy retirement community. It is a community of some 20,000 souls, and boasts no amenities for those retired or not! There are no world class Golf Courses, no up scale restaurants, and only a couple of motels. Residents have the choice of Winn Dixie or Clayborne Hills for their grocery shopping, and Wal-Mart for pretty much everything else. About the only item that is easy to find in the town is religion. There is a large church on what seems like every street corner.

You can’t get a good steak, a decent bottle of wine to accompany the meal, and couple of shots of your favorite liquor, unless you do it at home.

It took what seemed like a presidential demand to permit even the sale of beer in Picayune.

Picayune is a fractured town, the major problem can be found in the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Picayune suffered damage, but became a destination for some people escaping the huge rebuilding effort that they faced in New Orleans. Some of the Katrina survivors head to Picayune, and decided to stay.

Many towns face problems, sometimes it is ethnicity, sometimes it is religious, and in fact you can find such random reasons as what side of the rail tracks were you born! People from Winnipeg, Canada will understand that one!

Picayune faces a battle. The older residents hate change, the new incoming people want to drag the town ‘kicking and screaming’ into the 21st century. A classic example of this is the no brainer idea of selling booze. No large organization Hotel, Restaurant, is going to be remotely interested in pitching their tent in a town being only able to sell Snapple or Diet Coke.

For several years the question of booze in Picayune has been on the ballot. Each year the results were getting closer and closer. 2010 saw the tipping point. Picayune decided that a couple of drinks was not a bad thing. Hey the voter is right. Right?

Well clearly the Town Council disagree.

The Picayune Item (less than independent paper) had this article.

So, here is the bottom line.

You need to fess up $3000.00 to even submit your application. Hotels can only sell booze at special events, I believe they talk about Weddings, Conventions, and Political events. Booze can only be sold between 4-10pm. Oh and to add a huge level of stupidity, establishments must prove that at least 50% of their sales are food!

It is pretty clear that no-one will be opening a bar, restaurant, or hotel in Picayune Mississippi anytime soon.

The voters might have spoken in the town, but the elders are not listening.

The approach being taken by the city elders may have stymied the march of progress for right now. But I suspect that they will be seeking new careers when the people of Picayune get to vote next again.

Simon Barrett

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