Mercedes Ricks may be the perfect candidate to help launch a new cultural push in Magnolia, Miss. The 50-year-old native of Colombia ended up in this tiny south Mississippi town by way of New Orleans nine years ago.
"I met these ladies from here," Ricks says after greeting guests in the barroom next to her Mariposa restaurant. "They invited me to come spend a weekend in Magnolia. We were going to go to the river and drink beer, and Katrina happened that weekend."
Ricks says the hurricane left her with nothing but a swimsuit and river shoes. It was the people in Magnolia who helped her start over. With a wide, mischievous grin, she explains how last year she ran for at-large city alderman and won. Read more »