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VOL. 127 | NO. 42 | Thursday, March 01, 2012

Actor Freeman Out of Dining Biz

By JACK ELLIOTT JR.

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Memphis-born actor Morgan Freeman and his business partner, lawyer Bill Luckett, are ending their 10-year run as owners of Clarksdale’s Madidi Restaurant, an upscale establishment in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Luckett, who also owns a blues club with Freeman, says: “Madidi Restaurant 2001-2012. Madidi was one of Mississippi’s premier dining establishments owned by Bill Luckett and Morgan Freeman. We thank the many who dined with us over the years.”

Luckett told The Associated Press the restaurant would have its closing party Wednesday night.

Luckett, who made an unsuccessful run for governor in 2011, said he has been quietly looking for a buyer but none has been found.

He remains hopeful someone will take the property and open another restaurant there.

“The restaurant has never made money. It was never about the money to us. Success is not always measured in financial gains. ... There is a satisfaction in helping your community and exposing people to something they haven’t been exposed to.

“We set out to offer an experience. Thanks to Morgan, and to me to a lesser degree, we had the capital to do that,” Luckett said.

He said the restaurant’s employees were helped in finding other jobs.

Luckett said the restaurant and the blues club he and Freeman opened helped start a revitalization in Clarksdale.

“We went from no restaurants in downtown Clarksdale to eight over the ensuring 10 years. Four arts galleries also opened,” Luckett said.

“Bill and I have accomplished what we set out to do and that is to offer the Delta a fine dining experience while at the same time playing a small part toward revitalizing Clarksdale,” Freeman said in a statement. “We have watched downtown Clarksdale take on a new life and we are proud to have been a part of that.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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PROPERTY SALES 75 255 11,693
MORTGAGES 72 295 15,274
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 3 71 2,982
BUILDING PERMITS 198 590 27,844
BANKRUPTCIES 62 280 11,242
BUSINESS LICENSES 35 98 4,136
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 94 516 17,000
MARRIAGE LICENSES 18 80 3,544

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