Another area restaurant has called it quits. According to numerous social media posts from employees, family and customers the Onward Store is no more.
The Onward Store in Onward, Mississippi had become a favorite spot for locals and tourists. It was a must-see for those traveling the Blues Highway. However, recent political winds have shifted and blown away the future of the seven-year-old effort. While business had seemed brisk and we are heading into tourist season, a recent letter to the Mississippi River Commission by the husband of the Onward Store’s owner appears to be partially to blame for the closure of the store. In the letter, William Van Devender pleads with the head of the River Commission to not install the pumps at Steele Bayou. The pumps have been a hot topic among Eagle Lake residents and farmers in the area for some time.
The current and historic Backwater Flood of 2019 has local citizens on edge. Their anger has been focused on those who will not help them to install the pumps at Steele Bayou. They believe the pumps would have alleviated a great deal of the flooding issue at Eagle Lake and the surrounding flatlands of the Delta.
In 2008 the Bush administration killed the pump project due to environmental concerns over a specific species of gnat believed to be crucial to the food chain. An additional concern was the wetlands. Mr. Van Devender cited the wetlands as his main concern. While we have no word on how his recommendation was received at the River Commission, there is no doubt the community is angry. So angry they organized a boycott of the Onward Store in protest.
Mr. Van Devender is also the Financial Chairman for the campaign of Tate Reeves for Governor. Here is Mr. Van Devender’s letter: