"If you wanted a girl at Nellie Jackson’s place, you arrived before midnight and you arrived sober." - The Houston Chronicle
A known legend in Natchez is the place everyone called "Nellie's." Nellie Jackson, a black woman from a small community 36 miles south of Natchez, was born into rural poverty in 1902. Despite the constraints of the times, she became one of the most powerful people in historic Natchez, Mississippi, rising up from being a housekeeper to running a very successful business, a bordello they called "Nellie's."
Despite the orientation of her business, Nellie Jackson was popular with many of the other business owners in historic downtown Natchez, as well as a friend of many mayors, law enforcement officials, and aldermen that took office during what we like to call her 'reign'. Her business existed for about 60 years just blocks from the heart of downtown Natchez.
"Miss Nellie" sat in her back pew in the Catholic church every Sunday, and it is said that she was generous in her donations to the church, catholic charities, and children's home. She was also known to aid those who struggled with finances or health in more ways than one.
The story of Nellie Jackson is very enigmatic as well. After listening to stories from the Natchez community and conducting our own research, we came to realize the discrepancies of the perception of Nellie, and the reality of who she really was. Throughout the years, several events took place in and around this brothel that are not for the faint of heart. Nellie is described as being "someone you didn't want to pick a fight with." We invite you to stay tuned to our YouTube Channel and Facebook Page to find out more and stay updated!
"It seems strange that a community would have so much affection for a madam. It's very strange, I know, but she was the sort of person who was living in the presence of both the devil and the Lord." -Former Alderman Paul O' Malley
Nov. 26, 2013: CHECK OUR UPDATES TAB FOR EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FROM OUR DOCUMENTARY! Mike talks about Nellie's black book....
Nov. 20, 2013: We released our documentary logo, designed for the t-shirts and koozies and other promo items that will be for perks and for sale later.
Nov. 7, 2013: We've been featured in the Natchez Democrat once again, but this time
When we launched our Indiegogo campaign, the local paper came out to talk with us about community funding, where we're going with the project, and why we desperately need funds. Thanks to the Natchez Democrat for supporting us, and thanks to their link to our campaign, we've gotten $100 so far from their article here.
When we first started asking about Nellie and what people knew about her, what we heard was proof that the subject was worthy of a film. Our documentary research has uncovered stories, facts and records from within this community that have made our jaws drop, warmed our hearts, bewildered us, made us cry, and led us into a journey that we never expected when we began.
Natchez, Mississippi is the oldest establishment on the Mississippi River. Nellie is an enormous part of this history, the story of Natchez, the story of prostitution, the story of a African American female who was allowed to operate 3 blocks from central downtown during the most crucial time of racial discrimination.
Since we started a Facebook Page for our project, we've had a HUGE outreach from all over; individuals wanting to share their information about Nellie and her 'girls.' In the first month, the page reached an outstanding 2,000 likes. We've even been featured in the "Style" section of the Natchez Democrat, and have also gotten a large response from the article about our documentary film exploring the life of Nellie.
Who we are:
Mark Brockway initially had the idea to film the documentary. After completing the majority of the production of a Blues documentary filmed in the Mississippi Delta, he saw Nellie as inspiration for his next venture. Mark is originally from New Jersey, and moved to Natchez a few years ago for the completion of his Blues documentary.
After some initial research on the subject of the brothel, he invited me, Lauren Jones
(a Natchez native and graphic designer), and Tim Givens (also a Natchez native and Photographer) to join him in research and development of the film.
What We Need & What You Get
Where's the money going?
A more 'professional' quality camera
Travel and Research
Post-production and editing
- Poster printing and Website fees
We are offering plenty of perks and rewards for those who are generous enough to help us create this film. Some include mention on the facebook page (optional), shout out on our website (also optional), commemorative items such as beer coozies and tshirts with our custom logo (yet to be designed).
We plan on adding more perks and rewards as we start being funded and production comes along, so keep an eye out for things like seats at showings, exclusive downloadable video clips, fabulous prints, posters and t-shirts. We will be posting updates on this page with news, the logo design, and any new perks! So stay tuned! You can contact us at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns... or want to get in touch about your contribution.
The way to finding out how "Nellie's" survived is to find out about the life of the woman who lived there. We're slowly uncovering the secret of how Nellie Jackson ran an illegal business for 60 years surviving times of economic depression, racial discrimination, and pressing law enforcement. The lessons we learn through our research will surely create a documentary film that will be a conversational piece about the underground history of Natchez, Mississippi.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can't contribute funds to our campaign, there are other ways to help us.
Make some noise about this project! Tell someone who would be interested, give us a shout out on your facebook page, share on of our posts onto your page, or share a post on a friend's page. Don't forget you can also use the Indiegogo share tools!