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Burger Shack – West Helena

Some places have been around so long that they become part of the identity of a community. That’s Burger Shack in West Helena. It’s one of those little dairy bars that used to be in every town before McDonalds. Unfortunately most of those greasy food joints have closed, but some remain. That’s Burger Shack. Just look for the sign, “Best Coke in Town.”

It’s better to call ahead. At lunch there will be a line around the building and out the door. There is a small dining room but most people get their food and drinks to go.

They have all types of sandwiches and other entrees. Below is a chili cheese burrito.

Burger and fries combo. When you get a tooth pick with your sandwich, then you know it’s gonna be an old time burger.

Burger Shack is open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

372 Sebastian Street. West Helena, Arkansas. 72390

Trotting Fox Trail


First Day Hikes at Arkansas State Parks was created as an annual initiative to get people out and start walking at the beginning of a new year. I joined in this year for the first time.

The Trotting Fox Trail is a well maintained small 1/2 mile path located at the Mississippi River State Park – Marianna, Arkansas .  The trail takes you around a small lake near the visitor’s center.


As visitors walk the trail they get to experience natural Arkansas. There’s a good chance you will see deer tracks and other animals.  Geese in the lake add to the scene of tranquility.



Although not a long trail, it’s a relaxing experience and gets you ready for more demanding walks.  Then go hike the Bear Creek Loop . Make sure to get out and experience the Trotting Fox Trail. Make a day of it and get your fishing gear.  Try out the lakes or picnic.  Just have fun in nature.



Bear Creek Loop


Bear Creek Nature Trail is a one mile loop through some beautiful hills and small streams. It is located just west of Bear Creek Lake Day Use Area.  I’ve been to the Mississippi River State Park – Marianna, Arkansas numerous times, but I’ve never tried the Bear Creek Nature Trail. To be honest I’ve never completed a nature trail before in my life so I was excited to try.  What brought this notion into mind was an email I received at work a few weeks ago advertising First Day Hikes across all state parks in Arkansas.  Since I had been walking a lot for exercise and health reasons I started thinking about this and decided I liked the idea of it.  Since the Mississippi River State Park – Marianna, Arkansas is less than an hour away, I decided to give it a try.  They actually have four trails there .  These are the Trotting Fox Trail (a 1/2 mile barrier free path), the Bear Creek Lake Nature Trail (a one mile loop), the Hornor Neck Lake (short wildlife viewing trail) and the Base Line Trail (a four mile roundtrip).


Mississippi River State Park Visitor’s Center


First Day Hike is designed to encourage people to give the new year a healthy start with a hike through an Arkansas  state park.  I got to the Visitor Center about 9 a.m. and joined the ranger and a few others on the Trotting Fox Trail.  After this hike I decided to try the nearby trail just south of the visitors center at Bear Creek Lake.


This one mile loop takes hikers up and down a series of hills and across several small branches of water. There are a number of signs that discuss vegetation and the trail is well marked and easy to follow.






I really enjoyed these two hikes and plan on making this the start of something new.


Mississippi River State Park

2955 Arkansas 44.  Marianna, Arkansas 72360.   (870)-295-4040



Helena River Park


Helena River Park is located on the Mississippi River at Helena, Arkansas.  The River Park features a 60 foot boat ramp and one of the largest public access ramps on the lower Mississippi.


A boardwalk takes visitors out to the edge of the river. Interpretive panels are found along the way discussing nature and the Civil War.



Todd Demers


Todd Demers is the WREG News Channel 3 Daybreak news and weather anchor form 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.  Then again for News Channel 3 at Noon. Demers started work for Channel 3 in April 1986 and has been involved with the daybreak program ever since.  Before that his first job in television  had been at a station in Orlando where he worked with news and weather.

He grew up in Florida and attended the University of Central Florida.

I was able to meet Mr. Demers when he was in Helena judging the Delta Cultural Center “Beans, Greens and Cornbread” competition on January 19, 2019 at the Hunt Education Building.


Carla Hayden


Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016.  She is the first woman and first African American woman to lead the national library and was nominated for this position by President Barack Obama.  She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In 1993 she served as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland.  Hayden was then nominated to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and confirmed by the Senate in June of that year. Prior to the Pratt Library she was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993.  Mrs. Hayden had been an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991.  Before that she had been library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago form 1982 to 1987.  Carla Hayden began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as library associate and children’s librarian form 1973 to 1979.

Source: Library of Congress – About the Librarian.

Carla Hayden was born in Tallahassee, Florida on August 10, 1952 and holds degrees from Roosevelt University and the University of Chicago. She has ties to Arkansas because her mother’s side of the family comes from Helena.

The Librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress and appointed by the President of the United States with consent of the Senate for a term of ten years.

Carla Hayden and her staff visited Helena, Arkansas on June 30, 2018 and I was lucky enough to meet her.  Pictured above, I am giving her one of our books from the Delta Cultural Center Museum Store.

Moon Lake – Coahoma County, Mississippi

Whether a permanent resident or one of the countless visitors, Moon Lake takes hold of you and never lets go.  It’s a beautiful lake great for fishing, boating or just enjoying a relaxing picnic along its shore.

Going north along Highway 1 in Coahoma County, visitors will notice a sign for Moon Lake Scenic Overlook next to a large pecan grove.  If you have time, pull over into the parking lot and take a walk along the scenic path to this public pier overlooking Moon Lake.


Moon Lake is a 2,200 acre ox-bow lake in northern Coahoma County.  The lake started its history off as part of the Mississippi but was created when the river changed course. After the Choctaw and Chickasaw left, the area around Moon Lake became one of the first places settled in Coahoma County.


Through the years the shore along Moon Lake has been home to politicians, planters, singers and criminals.  It has calmed recently though.  The famous Kathryn’s Restaurant is still serving up its great food.


Uncle Henrys, famous site of what was called Moon Lake Casino by Tennessee Williams, continues to face out to the calming waters.  Where small shacks and trailers once stood, well built new homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars now hold reign.  The bars and dance halls that once beckoned  men and women from as far away as Memphis are  gone.  Only a few posts standing lonely just above the lake’s waves are reminders for this wild history, but Moon Lake maintains its beauty.


Uncle Henry’s on Moon Lake

Summer time brings hundreds of locals and visitors each year for boating and fishing fun. A number of hunting clubs have lodges along Moon Lake as well.  You will see the trucks packed with decoys and shot guns parked nearby as their occupants are enjoying their time along the lake. Fishermen will be busy near the banks with their rods and reels. Sundays will see party barges meeting up between the two islands of the lake.

Alcorn Island is named after the Reconstruction Era Governor and Coahoma County native, James Lusk Alcorn.  The other is named Texas Island.  Texas Island really isn’t an island by definition, but locals still refer to is as one.


There are two state maintained boating ramps.  One is located at Moon Lake Park on Paradise Point just off Highway 1. Along with the ramp visitors have access to picnic tables and a fish cleaning station.  The other ramp is located off Highway 49 on the Yazoo Pass, which runs into the lake. This ramp also offers picnic tables and a fish cleaning station. In addition to these two sites, there are several more private or non maintained boating ramps along the lakeshore.



Unfortunately there are no bait stores nearby so fishermen should bring everything they need.  A Jordan’s convenience store along Highway 49 serves the needs of locals and visitors.  Great prices on beer and tobacco.  Also serves Chester’s Chicken and has Citgo gas for customers. There is another smaller store located in Lula that serves prepared food too.



There is a winding road that runs along the edge of Moon Lake that is perfect for a road trip or a bike ride. Overall Moon Lake is a nice and quiet place to unwind and rest in the Mid South.


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