Today would have been Eudora Welty’s 100th birthday. Here in Jackson, we consider Miss Welty royalty. If you’re in the area, head on over to the Welty House today for free tours—and birthday cake! The Welty House is one of the most authentic literary homes in America; Welty not only left her house to the state, but apparently all its contents as well. The books on the shelves are hers. The dishes in the china cabinet are hers. Even the tiny travel bottle of shampoo on the edge of the tub is hers! Take the virtual tour if you’re not a local.
When I first moved to Jackson and found an apartment in the Belhaven area, my parents asked if the neighborhood was safe. “Eudora Welty lived here her whole life,” I replied. And when my mother saw that my apartment had window air conditioning units and told me I would die of heat stroke, I drove her past Welty’s house and said, “Look: she has them, too.” (I learned later during my tour of the Welty House that she only had ONE window unit for her entire house. I had two in my small apartment. I think she was stronger than I am.)
Check out these other Welty Centennial events going on as well. The Mississippi Reads program encourages all Mississippians to read Welty's Collected Stories in 2009.