In the hours after the tornado tore through the Rolling Fork community, Fred Miller, took inventory of what needed to be rebuilt and repaired: homes and businesses, a newly refurbished visitor center, and warehouses. Its artifacts, and favorite restaurant, Chuck’s Dairy Bar.
But Mr. Miller, the town’s former mayor, also thinks about the bears. Scattered all over town are 12-foot-tall wooden bears, carved with a chainsaw, in tribute to one of Sharkey County’s most famous legends: the day former President Theodore Roosevelt, nicknamed Teddy, refused to kill. a bear was caught on a hunting trip here, declared it unsportsmanlike. That decision, memorial in a political cartoonled a toy manufacturer in New York to create a stuffed bear and name it “Teddy,” which was later called a teddy bear.
Legend is told throughout town, Mr. Miller, 73, said in an interview, describing a statue of a bear reading a book outside the library and one dressed as a police officer outside the police station. Traditionally starting in 2002, on the 100th anniversary of the hunt, the town celebrates The Great Delta Bear Case in October, in part to raise awareness about the Louisiana black bear, which is until recently considered endangered because of habitat loss and hunting.
A new bear is carved every yearwith the bear 2022 recently installed outside the visitor’s center, with a welcome sign. But on Saturday, Mr Miller said, “he’s on the ground right now and I don’t know if we can get him back together.”
He talks about the sculptures, which he calls “beautiful, unbelievable carvings”. With so much widespread destruction and so much demand, he added, “I’m afraid we’ll have little incentive to rebuild them.”