Mapping a Modern Mississippi < Places < Nellie Jackson’s Bordello

Nellie Jackson’s Bordello

Nellie Jackson was a prominent figure in Natchez society until her death at the age of 87. Although she is not currently living, Nellie dared to differ in her time. The owner of "Nellie's," Nellie Jackson did more than run a brothel; she was a generous member of the community who helped those who were struggling financially and was involved in the Civil Right movement.

The Stories

Mark Brockway of The Castle Restaurant and Pub is director and creator of a documentary on Nellie Jackson, Mississippi Madam: The Life of Nellie Jackson.

Credit to: Mississippi Madam

During our big move, I was startled and delighted to come across this old t-shirt of mine. It was presented to me outside a Natchez whorehouse on my 15th birthday by my Uncle Murphy, who had taken me and my buddy there to celebrate my big day.

Let me explain.

Uncle Murphy — Big Guy, as we called him — was a chronic prankster. When I turned 13 or so, he started telling me, “Boy, when you turn 15, I’m going to take you to Nellie’s to get you broken in.”

Nellie’s was a legendary Natchez bordello that operated openly, not far from downtown. Miss Nellie Jackson, a black woman from Woodville, Miss., was the longtime proprietor — and believe it or not, was a beloved local figure. She got around town in a white Lincoln, and favored French poodles...

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Credit to: Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

When people think of Mississippi, they think of things like racism, poor education, and “nope, I’m never going to live there.” They will rarely, if ever, think of Mississippi being a place of tolerance for anything- much less a madam.

Such was not the case in Natchez, Mississippi. This small town on the Mississippi River has a giant history that includes being one of the first French settlements and an important stop on the River for agricultural trade. Mark Twain stayed there for a time, and Under The Hill (now just bars, but once was a long chain of bordellos and saloons right on the river) still exists. It’s a town now of mostly old people with even older money, but it has a bright and bawdy history that lived on in a small way through Nellie’s for roughly 60 years until her horrendous murder in 1990...

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Credit to: Ana-Shea Fann

I think I’ve mentioned before that Follow Me to Nellie’s is based (loosely) on the life of the playwright’s relative, Nellie Jackson, who ran a house of ill repute in Natchez, Mississippi. A quick online search yields interesting results – scandalous rumors, X-rated memoirs, and even Follow Me to Nellie’s T-Shirts...

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Credit to: PremierePlayBlog

Credit to: Mississippi Madam

Credit to: Modern Crew

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