Natalie West spent twenty years in broadcast and print media.
Now, her journalistic focus has shifted to dig deeper into her home city in a new book, “100 Things To Do In Jackson, MS Before You Die,” published by Reedy Press of St. Louis, Missouri.
The book is a blend of shopping, events, galleries, concerts and nightlife in Jackson, with a healthy dose of history and food.
“There are certain things people absolutely know about,” West says, noting cultural events like the Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival. “But I wanted to show a [broader] cross section of Jackson. I felt like I knew Jackson before but I feel like I know it intimately now.”
West points out LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, calling it “our own little Central Park,” with “two museums, Mayes Lake, great camping, a golf course and miles of trails.” She dubs her favorite, Old Tavern at George Street “a really interesting place.”
“I love that we’ve got places in the music and entertainment section from Big Sleepy’s to Johnny T’s to Ish. There are things for children, families, sports lovers, history buffs and music lovers. If you love to shop, there’s a great shopping section. I think there’s something for everyone.”
West, who grew up in Greenville, has written travel pieces and business spotlights before and says “100 Things” gave her the chance to paint Jackson in a positive light. “Jackson doesn’t have a culture,” West says she is told. “Oh yes it does. It does. We’re steeped in civil rights, politics and history, all intersections of the culture that make this area. There are many great things about this place and I will defend it and love it.”
A Jacksonian for nearly two decades, West says there are places and events in the book even she has not yet experienced. “One of the things I look forward to in 2017 is that we’re going to take time and do as many of these things as we can and we’ll cover it on social media. I’m hoping that it will turn into a challenge for other people.”
Contributors and collaborators of this book include R.L. Nave, Amber Helsel, Mark Beason, Maya Miller, Jaqueline Pilcher and Jack Criss.
West is the founder of Crowd Qwest, LLC, a marketing firm for artists, musicians and creatives. The business soft launched in February.