The newly formed Delta Rhythm and Bayous Alliance (DRB Alliance or DRBA) is a nonprofit laying the foundation for tourism-based economic growth and development in a specific part of the Delta region. Pine Bluff is one of two anchor cities in the DRB-targeted area that follows Bayou Bartholomew and U.S. Highway 65. Greenville, Mississippi, is the other anchor.
The DRB Alliance, led by CEO Jimmy Cunningham, Jr., is laying the foundation to realize a vision. Here’s the vision in a nutshell, followed by the foundation they are laying — and the every-day small things interested citizens can do to help.
- The Vision
- To increase tourism-based economic growth and development along Bayou Bartholomew and the U.S. Highway 65 corridor which extends from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, down to Lake Providence, Louisiana, and spans eastward to Greenville, Mississippi
- To base the tourism on the heritage of Bayou Bartholomew itself as well as the art and music that were born of this region
- To preserve and to educate the public about Bayou Bartholomew’s geology and ecology as well as its fundamental, history-defining place in Arkansas heritage
- To preserve and educate the public about all the art forms — including music — that were born of this region
- The Foundation (in progress)
- To have the Arkansas state legislature designate U.S. Highway 65 (in the Arkansas portion of this DRB region) as the “The Delta Rhythm and Bayous Highway” as a corridor for business opportunity and economic growth
- To take advantage of Arkansas state legislation that allows the creation of art and cultural districts in the state (ie, to encourage Arkansas legislators to provide the funds for these districts)
- To have the U.S. National Park Service designate this entire area as a National Heritage Corridor
- To provide a well-paved avenue for entrepreneurs to establish businesses based on these concepts with the objectives of heritage education; business opportunities, especially for small local businesses; and economic growth and development.
- Your Support for a DRB Heritage Corridor and Tourism
- Contact your elected officials — especially local officials — to tell them you support this initiative. Request (or urge) them to support it for heritage, business opportunity, and economic growth. (For city council web page and mayor’s contact information, see Elected Officials under Civics & Economics menu above.)
- State Representatives Vivian Flowers and Ken Ferguson are behind this already; but always feel free to contact state elected officials to express your support of this.
- Consider helping directly by collecting information for the DRB Alliance. To learn more about what the DRB Alliance needs, you can contact them through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/deltarhythmnbayousajlliance/ .
Stay tuned for future posts on specific examples of Pine Bluff’s proposed roles in this corridor as well as updates on the initiatives described here. Updates added since the initial publication of this post include Tribute to Blues Legend Bobby Rush, Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance: Mid-2018 Updates, Act 451: Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway, and Delta Rhythm & Bayous: Pine Bluff Heritage Tourism in a Nutshell.
DRB Alliance has, at points, been spelled out as Delta Rhythm and Bayous Alliance, Delta Rhythm ‘n’ Bayous Alliance, Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance, and DRBA.