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What stands out in 2011 for you?

They say no news is good news, and in 2011 that rung true.

In these parts, the biggest story of the year centered on what — to most of us — was virtually a non-story altogether.

Still, the greatest recorded level on the Mississippi River made news, whether we got wet or not.

Few would argue that the 61.9-foot crest at Natchez, the almost uncontrollable fears of many Concordia Parish residents, the unbelievable efforts of the City of Vidalia to save the riverfront and the miraculous powers of the Hesco Baskets were — easily — the biggest story of 2011.

Yet, nothing much happened.

In Natchez, 90-plus percent of city was never in danger.

In Concordia Parish, fears ran wild where water didn’t.

The sight of the Vidalia Riverfront covered in water was one to behold, yet the four buildings that anchor it saw little to no flood damage.

Governments on both sides of the river spent large sums of money — nearly all reimbursable from the federal government — to ensure that the worst didn’t happen.

But the disaster that many thought would be breaking news at any moment simply never came.

Instead, the great flood of 2011 was a story of fear turned to preparation. The year is one many Vidalia residents who packed up most or all of their belongings and headed for higher ground will not soon forget.

The details are already fading for those of us high on the hill in Natchez.

All and all, the river was news, but it leaned more to neither good nor bad.

Now as we round out the year — with high but still insignificant water levels on the muddy Mississippi yet again — we can look back on the story as history not disaster.

Our newspaper is working this week to compile a list of the top 10 or so Miss-Lou news stories of 2011.

We’ll pull it all together with some analysis from local leaders and share it with you Sunday.

The non-flood will certainly be on the list, as will the announcements made this year by Natchez Inc.

But as we compile our list, we are also interested in hearing yours. What made 2011 special to you? What about it will you never forget? What happened this year that you think will define our community for years to come?

The end of one year and the start of another provides us all with a much-needed time of reflection.

Saying goodbye to the news of 2011 with the proper fanfare may very well better equip us all to make 2012 a successful year.

It’s too soon to know what the spring rise may mean for the Mississippi River. I hope and pray that our area doesn’t face the same fears it did last year.

However, we’ve learned what we can survive — even if only mentally — and are better prepared for what Mother Nature may bring.

Feel free to share your top stories of 2011 by sending me an e-mail or calling.

We’ll share our list and yours this weekend.

In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of 2011, and Happy New Year.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.