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Panels display history of St. Catherine Street

submitted photo — Twenty seven panels showcasing the array of multi-cultural heritage on St. Catherine Street will be on display to the public Thursday at the Historic Natchez Foundation’s annual meeting. The panels are part of the second phase of the Natchez Trails Project.

NATCHEZ — Natchezians have a chance to take the first look at 27 of 32 panels showcasing the array of multi-cultural heritage on St. Catherine Street Thursday at the Historic Natchez Foundation’s annual meeting.

HNF Executive Director Mimi Miller said meeting attendees can take a short stroll down the hallway of the Natchez Institute on South Commerce Street to see the panels before they are installed on a four-fifths of a mile stretch of St. Catherine Street for the second phase of the Natchez Trails Project.

The interpretive panels highlight predominantly African-American heritage, as well as Danish, Polish, French, Lebanese and Italian.

Miller said one panel is completely dedicated to the Stallone family because of their continuing presence on St. Catherine Street.

Miller said she, Friends of the Forks of the Road Coordinator Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-Clifford M. Boxley, City Engineer David Gardner and many members of the community worked together to find information and photographs for the panels.

The St. Catherine Street-Forks of the Road Trails project will extend along St. Catherine Street from Martin Luther King Jr. Street to the site of the Forks of the Road slave markets.

Like the first phase of the Natchez Trails Project, the second phase will include upgraded sidewalks, landscaping, lighting and the interpretive panels.

The second phase will cost approximately $800,000 and will be funded through several different sources. The city’s cost has already been set aside and will be approximately $120,000.

“We’re excited about the panels,” Miller said. “It’s a history that a lot of people don’t know, it’s not history that’s written a lot about.”

The HNF annual meeting will also give the public an opportunity to see the renovations that have been made to the Natchez Institute, which houses the foundation, Miller said.

“The institute is a never-ending work in progress because when we acquired it, it was in very bad shape,” she said.

The foundation has opened up three more classrooms and has finished and furnished a research library.

“We’re excited about the public seeing the changes to the building,” Miller said.

The meeting is free and open to the public, Miller said.

A cocktail reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by an awards ceremony and the election of new board members at 6:45 p.m.

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