After being nominated by President Barack Obama to be a U.S. Marshal for the Mississippi Northern District back in May 2011, Columbus’ Dennis J. Erby is still awaiting confirmation.
I spoke with his wife, Linder, by email Tuesday and she told me he was still waiting to hear from Washington.
Erby must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. When Obama made the appointment, he said, “Dennis J. Erby and Edward M. Spooner have dedicated their career to protecting their fellow citizens. They have displayed courage and persistence in the pursuit of justice, and I am honored to nominate them today to continue their selfless work on behalf of the people of Mississippi and Florida as U.S. Marshals.”
Spooner had been nominated to serve the Northern District of Florida.
Erby is a supplemental compliance monitor for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and Planning. He spent the majority of his law enforcement career with the Mississippi State Highway Patrol where he entered as a patrolman in 1978 and rose through the ranks to lieutenant.
He served in the Mississippi National Guard from 1974 to 1980. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
A Visit to Clarksdale and Ground Zero Blues Club
Visit With Bill Luckett
Last Friday, Joe and Dot Young, Cary Huser and myself made a trek to Clarksdale to hear bluesman Mark “Muleman’’ Massey and his band who were appearing at Ground Zero Blues Club in the historic city. ‘’Muleman’’will be one of the performers (joining Deacon Jones & The Late Night, Eden Brent and Jimbo Mathis) at this year’s May 5 Saturday evening Riverwalk concert that will be a finale to the 2012 Market Street Festival (All of this great entertainment will be free of charge. RW).
While in Clarksdale, we spent the night above Ground Zero. They have renovated rooms for rent above the juke joint, rooms that were established when the club opened in May of 2001. The club, which is jointly owned by Clarksdale attorney/businessman Bill Luckett and Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman, is a popular destination of not only blues lovers throughout the United States, but blues lovers worldwide. That’s why they named it Ground Zero. Its address is 0 Blues Alley and is located next door to the Delta Blues Museum in historic downtown Clarksdale.
When we arrived in Clarksdale Friday morning, we really didn’t have a set agenda other than visiting the museum and listening to Muleman later that evening. I notified Bill Luckett by text (Bill is a friend. RW) that we had arrived. He immediately sent a text back to me asking what our agenda was. As I pondered what to write as an answer, he called me on my cell phone. He invited us to his home later that evening and invited us to attend a short-film documentary screening at Hopson Plantation next to The Shack Up Inn. (The Shack Up Inn is a collection of shack homes where many Delta blues artists grew up, such as Pinetop Perkins, etc. They are also for rent. More info can be found at www.shackupinn.com RW).
The film presentation was taking far too long and we were nearing the start time for Muleman’s band at GZ. We told Bill that we would see him at the club. Muleman’s Band hit the stage at 9 p.m. and got the place rocking. Bill arrived not long afterwards (with wife, Francine) and joined a group near our table. A group of young people were also at the club that night from Michigan. They said that they were in Clarksdale building a home for Habitat For Humanity. This was their evening to unwind after a lot of hard work. They had a great time that evening.
As soon as Muleman hit the stage, he acknowledged my presence over the mic (I’m sure at the urging of Luckett, though I had told Muleman and his keyboardist, Grammy-winner Billy Earheart, that we would be there ahead of time. RW). Later that evening, Muleman visited our table, taking time to take photos with Joe & Dot as well as myself. Cary Huser was also kind enough to take photos that evening.
On a later visit to our table, Muleman asked if i’d like to sing a song. (Sitting-in at Ground Zero is rare. It usually has to be pre-approved by Bill Luckett or Morgan Freeman. RW). He later called me up to the bandstand saying, “I’m not even gonna tell you what song we’re gonna do till you get up here”.” When I got up on stage, he asked me to sing Delbert McClinton’s ‘Everytime I Roll The Dice’ with him. (I was relieved to know he picked a song that I actually knew…I suspect he already knew that. RW). And so, he cranked it…and off we went.
We had a great time in Clarksdale. Bill and Francine Luckett could not have been more hospitable. Joe and Dot are ready to go back. So is Cary. When they are ready, I’m sure I’ll be trailing along myself.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0