shadows

Can Natchez change history?

Published 12:04am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

History has been making news lately in Natchez.

That’s not surprising in our city built on history, of course, but when something has been around for nearly 200 years, you simply don’t expect it to change much.

But history does change, it seems, and Natchez will be adjusting in the coming months to some of those changes.

First, you won’t be ordering up a prime rib at King’s Tavern any more. The restaurant — which has been serving customers for 45 years — closed its doors Saturday.

The restaurant filed for bankruptcy in September, and one of the owners said Saturday that they simply couldn’t make it work.

Another local landmark, Monmouth Plantation, is in a similar boat.

Monmouth also filed for bankruptcy in September, and United Mississippi Bank is expected to foreclose on the property, forcing the long-time owners out as soon as today.

The bed and breakfast, restaurant, conference space and wedding destination has attracted hundreds of visitors to Natchez — including its fair share of celebrities — since owners Ron and Lani Riches purchased the property 35 years ago.

Thankfully, it appears the bank may hire someone to continue operating Monmouth.

On a brighter note, a group of local residents, historic homeowners and tourism officials met Tuesday night to discuss a few more history-related changes.

The group came together for an initial discussion regarding efforts to study Natchez’s famous house tours and consider ways to revamp them.

It’s a discussion that is overdue and much-needed.

The Natchez National Historical Park organized the meeting and plans to use a $23,000 grant to fund the study of how tours are currently conducted.

Fall and Spring Pilgrimage house tours have seen few changes in the 80 years since enterprising ladies opted to open the doors to their homes for tours.

And despite good efforts by a number of people in the tourism community as of late, the entire pilgrimage experience is mostly the same as it was 25 years ago.

For many repeat tourists, that’s just fine. They love what we have and they keep coming back. But the truth of the matter is that the number of folks — regardless of age — who fit into that category is smaller than we’d all like it to be.

Further, the typical Natchez tourist is aging, and our community has done little to cater to generations of tourists who live in an entertainment age and expect more than just details about a piece of antique furniture.

Efforts to include a living history tour have been successful in some area houses, but more must be done if we expect to have Pilgrimage for another 80 years.

Despite news headlines and changing faces, history doesn’t actually change. We know that.

It’s the way we tell the stories of history that can — and must — change.

Sometimes those will be sad changes, such as the loss of a good restaurant or bad news for long-time community partners.

Sometimes the changes will be good, such as the addition of more portions of our history to the Historic Natchez Tableaux or a yet-to-be-defined way to give a house tour.

Either way, if you’re not changing, you are history.

 

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

 

 

 

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    How can you change history is it facts or legends or fantasy, I don’t think so, or is it to change because of wasted grant federal money, I still think not, is it another group wanting in the story? Bingo!!! If I owned a old mansion I feel I would tell Ms. Hanbury to keep her grant money and tell it as it been told for almost 150 yrs. for the South has gave in on alot on issues to the goverment but this to me is a bit to much to swallow!!!!  

  • Anonymous

    Everybody knows change is not possible without spending yet more money and lining the pockets of the grant leech industry.

  • Anonymous

    In a free market society with the current local/national political atmosphere?  NO

    When I can drive to Brookhaven and pay less than half of what I would pay for a vehicle tag in Natchez, then there is something very wrong.

    Any true industry with sustainable jobs has turned a blind eye to this area because of the “what’s in it for US” agenda. 

    And the fact that “Natchez” is now hitching its hopes to an industry that is so bankrupt (morally & financially) at present, it makes you wonder how any of our so called leaders even have the intelligence to remember how to make it home to their feed troughs at the end of the day.

  • Anonymous

    Drivng to Brookhaven to buy a car does not have an impact on the cost of your tag – it is based on your residence location.  Normally, the dealer gives you the paperwork to take to the local tax collector for obtaining the license plate.  In other cases, some dealers may obtain the license plate for you, but again it should be priced based on residence.

  • Anonymous

    There is an active attempt to change history at the African exhibit…where history is being re-written at every turn

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Yes, its a very bad thing when a minority wants to rewrite history to benefit their race whether it be truefull are not for the world to be told a lie??!!

    In a message dated 3/1/2012 8:47:59 A.M. Central Standard Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    NatchezMS1978 wrote, in response to khakirat:
    There is an active attempt to change history at the African exhibit…where history is being re-written at every turn

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/5qt1tt?imp=7e96132c-7495-4586-aaae-1cb44f338113&thread=593154112&zone=email_notification&event=shortener_click)

  • Anonymous

    I think what the previous post was referring to is the practice of actually registering a vehicle in another county by providing a false address as to where they “stay” to avoid paying the vehicle tag fees associated with registering a vehicle in Natchez-Adams County. This happens all the time, especially with false address in Vidalia…for tags and schools.

  • Anonymous

    From Natchez Democrat article in October 2011 about Forks in the Road Exhibit…

    “Ser Seshs Ab Heter-C.M. Boxley designed the exhibit with a grant from the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program under the National Park Service. He said the exhibit goes beyond normal history of enslaved persons with information that sets precedents for research.”

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    What a mess!! Just tell the true for the true will set you free!!!

    In a message dated 3/1/2012 11:44:59 A.M. Central Standard Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    NatchezMS1978 wrote, in response to khakirat:
    From Natchez Democrat article in October 2011 about Forks in the Road Exhibit…

    “Ser Seshs Ab Heter-C.M. Boxley designed the exhibit with a grant from the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program under the National Park Service. He said the exhibit goes beyond normal history of enslaved persons with information that sets precedents for research.”

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/5qwp3y?imp=45d0509f-4a15-41ff-a9ae-e1f56cdfd9a0&thread=593154112&zone=email_notification&event=shortener_click)

  • Anonymous

    ???????

    My point is based on the taxes (tag, property, etc….) paid in Adams county as opposed to a neighboring county and the under-balance in the services received as a taxpayer in this county.  Apologies for any confusion.  
    The system is already confusing/corrupt enough to contend with, hence NatchezMS1978′s point of everyday, ordinary people having to circumvent the system to get their kids in a decent school without taking out a second mortgage. 

  • Anonymous

     The man is a nut-case.  I read a good bit of his stuff online.  I’ve never seen history so perverted through a lens of racial hatred and I’ve seen some pretty gross perversions of history.  He takes the cake.  You really should read his claims to the origin of the swastika.  Hilarious.

  • Anonymous

    I know that I won’t have the stomach for reading that propaganda…it is pure indoctrination…revisionist wanna-be history makers…with an agenda

  • Anonymous

    C’mon Crak, I thought you had a better use of your time.

  • Anonymous

    Oh yeah, big time.  First off, as his name implies, he thinks he’s from Egypt and has adopted attachments to all sorts of hieroglyphic symbols.  He, of course, claims black people in Egypt (lol) pretty much developed everything that was later stolen by those evil white cultures.  He even claims the Jews stole the Star of David from blacks in Egypt. He is vile.

    Some sites he posts to refer to us as “The Beast”.  He’s one of those “Blacks were Pharohs and Built the Pyramids” nuts.  Just ridiculous stuff.  The man has no business being published in this paper or anywhere near a historical exhibit.  Since he’s getting government money to do some of the things he does, I will be posting excerpts from his insane, racist postings from elsewhere on the internet here any time the paper chooses to give that vile man a venue to spread his hate and ignorance.

  • Anonymous

    Outing racists and faux historians who leech taxpayer money to further their race-based agendas is worthy of my time.  If this piece of work wasn’t “a community leader”, I wouldn’t bother.

  • Anonymous

     Then I assume he does not refer to himself as African American?