New business named for Pratt’s great-grandfather

Published 8:50 pm Friday, June 2, 2017

Former Vicksburg resident Tom Morrissey was a humanitarian.

During the Flood of 1913, he used his seven packet boats to rescue stranded citizens from the floodwaters. He was awarded an accommodation as Commodore of the Mississippi for his service and from these charitable actions, earned the named Captain “Papa” Tom.

Now, generations later, one of Morrissey’s great-grandsons, Thad Pratt, will be carrying on his great grandfather’s name by opening Captain “Papa” Tom’s Shop and Design Studio in downtown Vicksburg.

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“I named the shop in his honor and plan to paint murals of his packet boats on the doors of the shop/garage and offer tourists a place to stop and learn about my great grandfather,” Pratt said.

Located at 1200 Walnut St., Captain “Papa” Tom’s Shop and Design Studio is tucked underneath Vicksburg Woodworks, another business Pratt owns.

The new business will offer wood, ceramics and decorator items for sale that will include dining room tables, end tables, coffee tables, sofa tables, benches, beds, TV cabinets, outdoor furniture, barbeque stands for the new Eggs, night stands, picture frames, table center pieces, candle holders, cutting boards, trays, cake stands, photographs and local artisan artworks.

Pratt also makes his own chalk paint and promises he can match any color you bring to the shop.

Chalk painting classes can be provided upon request, he said.

“Also, local artisans Randy Jolly, Keith Mathews and Ben Martin will be showing some of their creative art works in the shop and offering ceramic, painting/and small project woodworking classes upon request,” Pratt said, and artworks that will be for sale in the store include works of art by Jolly, Mathews, Martin and Pratt’s  daughter, Mallory.

Because the shop will be a full function design studio, Pratt said customers can also bring in their ideas and a detailed plan can be developed to suit their needs.

Design services, however, will need to be made by appointment with the appropriate artisans.

Pratt said the inspiration for the shop grew out of his desire to offer custom wood pieces and decorative items made by local artisans rather than imports from China.

“We have the unique advantage of a mill working business upstairs that is available to take specific specialty design orders of any quantity.

“We have also tried to incorporate local artists to display their work and offer classes upon request. My two brothers, Bryan and Wayne Pratt are avid Kayakers, who have supported the local Blues Cruz race every year since inception. We have even thought about offering classes for locals and tourists to construct their own Kayaks. Both of my brothers have built their own custom kayaks and wish to further the sport for all to enjoy. If enough people express an interest to build kayaks then classes will be designed to meet those requests,” Pratt said.

The facility on Walnut Street in which the shop will be housed was built by Morrissey and was originally a storage garage, Pratt said.

It later served as a plantation office for Morrissy’s Eagle Lake farm in addition to all of his business enterprises.

A soft opening of Captain “Papa” Toms Shop and Design Studio will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and will include a preview of what the store has to offer.

“We would welcome the public to come and see what we are about and give us some suggestions about what they would like to see offered in the Vicksburg Community. We plan to collect names and email addresses so that when we have new offerings the interested parties will be sent emails and flyers about planned events and classes that they might be interested in attending,” Pratt said.

Operation hours for Captain “Papa” Toms Shop and Design Studio will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and other times by appointment.

“We plan to make the shop open when the tour boats are in town to offer the tourists local art and history of the great town of Vicksburg,” Pratt said.

In addition, Pratt said both tourists and locals could rest under the awning of the shop while enjoying a glass of sweet tea.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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