Archived Story

Business helps us all pay our respects

Published 12:01am Friday, September 21, 2012

Nearly 73 years after their death, approximately 60 unknown victims have a proper monument marking their final resting place.

A 5-foot-tall monument was installed Wednesday at the Watkins Street Cemetery to commemorate not just the 60 unnamed victims of the Rhythm Night Club fire, but all 200 people who died that night in 1940.

It’s an overdue reminder of what this community lost, and it’s so simple, so affordable in the grand scheme of things, that it’s difficult to believe the matter hadn’t already been handled.

So go the woes of those who rally around Watkins Street Cemetery, though.

The cemetery has long been forgotten by many, as evidenced by its battle with overgrown lots.

In recent years, non-profit groups have worked to clean up the cemetery, asking for help and donations from the public.

They’ve approached city and county leadership for help, received smiles, an occasional grass cutting and words of encouragement, but never a long-term plan for upkeep.

This time, it was private business that stepped up to get the job done.

The Isle of Capri Casino and its employees raised more than $2,000 to place the monument. The casino also cuts the grass at the cemetery twice a year.

If four or five other local businesses could pitch in two grass cuttings a year — combined with the work of the volunteers — the cemetery might just be as pristine as the Natchez City Cemetery.

It’s great to see citizens and local business taking an active role in this project, and we hope it inspires more work at Watkins Street and more work around town.

 

 

  • Anonymous

    If the Isle would cut the grass in our medians twice a year, and the new Magnolia Bluffs casino cut it twice a year, it would be cut more than the city does.  Balloon Fest is rapidly approaching, time to tidy up while time is available.  Medians around the bypass still have storm limbs everywhere and grass about knee deep – welcome to Natchez!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    It was 1940 when this horrible thing happened but I believe the peoples families in the cemetary that are buried there and the rest of the black community would have been more meaniful than a casio buying the monument!!

  • Anonymous

    THAT CEMETERY IS OVER 100 YEARS OLD. N.A.C. WILL PUT MONEY INTO A 90 YEAR OLD HISTORIC HOME BEFORE THEY SPEND A CENT ON THAT CEMETERY. THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE. THAT CEMETERY MIGHT BE THE OLDEST PIECE ON LAND IN ADAMS COUNTY. IT’S JUST A DAM SHAME HOW THE COUNTY HAVE IGNORE IT. MY PERSONAL FEELINGS IS SIMPLE:> ” IT’S A BLACK CEMETERY THAT WAS AN ALL WHITE CEMETERY OVER 100 YEARS OLD, IN A WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD; IT WOULD LOOK SECOND TO VA CEMETERY. I WANNA THANK THE ISLA OF CAPRI CASINO ONE MORE TIME>*THANK YOU*<.   

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    If the black church and its people that have relatives there should keep it up and not expect hand outs of money and free labor!! You mention the white cemetarys in such good shape is that they pay for the upkeep and relatives take care of business with no hand outs is the big difference with pride!!