Are things looking up, and cleaner?

Published 12:03am Sunday, July 15, 2012

Last week, the City of Natchez was on the move and things were churning again.

Seeing the evidence was simple, all you had to do was watch for the disappearing grass clippings and listen to the loud rumblings from downtown.

Headed to lunch one day last week, a conspicuous band of grass clippings provided a strip of color along the edge of the usually dark gray pavement along Canal Street near the Natchez Convention Center.

“That’s not good,” I said, driving past.

One hour and one full belly later, on the reverse trip, something miraculous had happened.

“Hmm, the grass is gone. That’s good.”

That was the first hint.

Then, a dozen yards down the street, the stripes were the next hint.

A city public works truck was idling as a group of inmates cut grass and weeds along the edges of the roadway.

It was a beautiful sight for taxpayers.

A few minutes later, parked and walking into our building, the third clue was evident. This one was ringing in my ears.

A loud, low rumbling was coming from the front of our building. Walking to the front, the creator was easily seen — the city’s street sweeper was grinding along Canal Street.

All of the pieces were coming together now. The inmate crew had taken advantage of a break in the clouds to provide a much-needed haircut to some of the areas along Canal Street.

Obviously the city was doing a good job coordinating their work since the street sweeper seemed to be working in lockstep with the cutting crews.

Natchez has used inmate crews and street sweepers for years, but it sure does seem like both have been a little more visible lately.

Perhaps that’s a testament to the new administration or maybe it’s just my imagination.

But the maintenance crews aren’t the only city representatives who seem to be more visible lately.

Again, this is purely anecdotal evidence, but I’ve seen an increased visibility of Natchez Police patrolling the streets too, particularly officers set up to radar for speeders.

If that’s the case, it’s a great thing.

Having the city operating efficiently and being held accountable by leaders and ultimately the public is exactly what we all hope to see out of the city.

We’re only two weeks into the new administration and already hints of things getting done are all around.

It’s clear that things are being tended to in the city again. That’s refreshing to see, and long overdue.

With new economic prospects on the horizon, it certainly feels like the community’s direction has turned sharply.

But getting the grass cut and clippings cleaned up is relatively easy, at least in the grand scheme of things. Keeping momentum going and building consensus among our residents will be much tougher.

It will get much easier when residents know they can consistently count on the city to keep the basics tended to and under control.

Thanks for the extra effort, Natchez city workers. It’s much appreciated.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or


  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure the problem was with past administration, it was probably at the department head level.  They have budgets, regardless of how small, and they have a job to do.  When the job goes undone, who is spending the budget?  I do not think that the administration should have to tell department heads how or when to do their jobs, if it isn’t getting done – change the dept. head!

  • Anonymous

    I passed the park and saw a lot of work going on. The fountain was being cleaned. Limbs were being pruned. A man was on his hands and knees pulling weeds from monkey grass. I also saw the street sweeper working more streets than the section of Pearl immediately in front of City Hall. Yeah, I figured it was all due to having a mayor in office that knows how to get stuff done.

  • Kevin Cooper

    Thanks, OGD. It’s good to know others had noticed greater activity too. Let’s hope it becomes the norm going forward.

  • Kevin Cooper

    OSG, I agree with you. It’s always better to have people working with you don’t need constant attention, prodding and management. Unfortunately, it seems, many who seem to stick around in public roles may get too comfortable — perhaps some department heads included there.

  • Anonymous

    And now, in defence of the “old” administration.
    Weeds being pulled. Saw it all the time
    Inmates working edging grass, cleaning, etc. Saw it everywhere
    Street sweeper/ vacuum truck roaring along. Mercy! Just WHAT was it that I saw and heard so many times doing the same thing
    Street lights being replaced, light poles on Learned Hill being replaced, parking spaces being re-painted, abused traffic signs replaced, dead animals picked up, fountains being cleaned, Memorial park kept up, and the list goes on.
    Did the ND NEVER see any of this taking place before?
    Oh, but wait… the ND DID endorse the new mayor during the campaign. So I can only assume the love affair is still strong.

  • Anonymous

    we all know butch is GOD-like.  hasnt it been raining since he returned to city hall ending our dry spell?

  • Anonymous

    Good one! :)

  • Anonymous

    kevin can yall refresh my .memory abt all the new jobs butch brought to natchez  funny i cant think of a single factory in his 8 yrs. his “natchez days of greatness” are all myth.  some places got bgfoot.  WE got bigbutch.

  • vilou09

    Speak English.

  • khakirat

    They need to cut the grass at the McLarine school bridge and past the bridge is heavy over grown weeds and grass on the right!

  • Kevin Cooper

    I never said that I never saw the street sweeper during the previous administration. I did. I’ve simply seen it with much greater frequency in the last couple of weeks. Perhaps it’s a coincidence? 

  • Kevin Cooper

    With the low level of the Mississippi River, I suppose it’s “possible” that he’s parting the “Red Sea” too? Funny, but I don’t think he’s God-like.

  • Kevin Cooper

    No, I cannot refresh you’re memory, because I think you’re memory is sound. :)

    I don’t think I’ve said that Butch brought a pile of new jobs during his first two terms as mayor. My reference to “new economic prospects on the horizon” was referring to the work of Natchez Inc.

    In fact, I think I remember writing earlier that I hope like heck that Butch doesn’t somehow hinder the progress of Natchez Inc., which seems to be moving our community in the right direction, economically. I still hope that’s true. I want Butch to succeed for Natchez. Heck, I had the same desire for Jake. I like the man. He’s a heck of a nice guy and he tried his best to lead the city, despite lots of people pulling against him.

  • Anonymous

    State MDOT, not city responsibility.

  • Anonymous

    i will agree that Natchez Inc. is doing a Good job.  more economic HOPE than any time in the last 40 yrs.  and “natchez greatness” was from comments on this forum by others not you.  i have  big hopes for Natchez Inc. turning this boat around.