The self-appointed Mayor of Frayser has moved to Pennsylvania, but he says he's still holding things down back home.
"People ask me all the time how I can still be the Mayor of Frayser up here, but I'm just like every other Memphis politician. They don't live in the districts where they hold their title either," said Richie Pierce, a former Harpo's bar regular who gave himself the title of the Mayor of Frayser.
Back in 2004, our annual Best of Memphis issue had a political theme. But we didn't limit our coverage to elected politicians. We also interviewed a few self-appointed ones, such as Pierce and the Mayor of Covington Pike, Jim Keras.
At the time, Pierce and his friend Forrest Pruett ran the now-defunct website Frayser.IsFun.net, which outlined a tongue-in-cheek plan to improve Frayser (a.k.a. "God's country," according to Pierce).
That outline included a plan to boost Frayser's economy by opening more liquor and adult video stores, a vision for increasing law enforcement by building more Mapcos ("They're there anyway, so they might as well work out of there."), and a Frayser beautification plan ("A lot of people get on people in Frayser for leaving their Christmas lights up, so I say, hell, turn them on every night. Let's light that son of a bitch up.").
Pierce even had a plan to make the area more, um, green with his Frayser Blunt Recycling Program.
Said Pierce at the time: "That's my biggest initiative right now. There's a lot of marijuana smoking in my neighborhood, and the preference is you buy Swisher Sweets or Phillies and you split them down the middle and knock the tobacco out. If you look on the ground in Frayser, that shit is everywhere. So if we made little recycling cans that you could put in your mailbox, you could just empty it in there. Then we can re-sell the tobacco to tobacco companies, and they can reroll it. We can put the money into the beautification project."
These days, Pierce is working at an energy company in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania. But he says he has accomplished quite a bit from that plan in the past decacde.
"If you head down Highway 51, you'll see the new Harpo's. They redid that, and Frayser's economy must be thriving because, used to, you could get a $1 beer at Harpo's, and now they charge $1.25. So business is good," Pierce said.
And even though he's managing things from afar, Pierce is still making new plans for the betterment of Frayser.
"Last time I was in Frayser, I was riding around, and I noticed a new home fashion trend. People are putting boards on the windows," Pierce said. "I figured we could take that wood off the windows and build a mini-replica of the Zippin Pippin and get some people back into the community."
And even though he still swears allegiance to Frayser, Pierce won't deny that he has his sights set on a loftier goal.
"I also moved to Pennsylvania to be a little closer to the Capitol. I've got my eyes on that," Pierce said. "Who knows? Mayor of Frayser in the White House. Put some spinner caps on Air Force One!"