Join us to serenade in the cemetery

Published 12:03am Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Natchez City Cemetery Association invites you to an afternoon of musical and dramatic entertainment at its second annual Serenade in the Cemetery from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 21.

Enjoy complimentary refreshments as you stroll through the park-like landscape of our historic city cemetery. Established in 1822 to replace the old burying ground behind St. Mary Basilica, the cemetery consists of approximately 100 acres of gently rolling land overlooking the steep bluffs of the Mississippi River. Its ornately detailed cast-iron fences and expertly carved marble monuments have earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places — and a reputation for being one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the South.

Serenade visitors will be entertained by the fascinating and often tragic tales of some of our cemetery’s oldest “residents.” This year local actors will be presenting the stories of:

•German immigrant August Doerle, who unwittingly enlisted in the “wrong” Army during the Civil War.

•African American brick mason Claude Alouisus Webb, whose burial crypt showcases the craftsmanship of his fellow bricklayers.

•Prosperous merchant George T. Payne, who arrived in Natchez from Ireland during the Famine era.

•Irish immigrant and Confederate veteran Patrick Burns, founder of Burns Shoe Store, which for many years was a Main Street landmark.

•The ill-fated John Bayard Maxwell, a Delaware native who studied law in Connecticut before moving south to Natchez where he fell in love with local belle Anne Wilkins.

•Sicilian immigrant Paul Salvo, whose grave is marked by one of the most beautiful and intriguing monuments in the cemetery.

Emcee Terry Trovato and Casey Gilbert Sound Productions have a delightful afternoon of music planned for Serenade visitors. Highlights of this year’s program are:

•The Rev. Walton Jones and his band, returning this year with a new bluegrass lineup.

•Popular local guitarist and vocalist Ben Lewis.

•Harpist Merisha Gore and flutist Robin Rutherford;

•Diana Glaze, David Goldblatt, and Mary Nell Rushing with a special Patsy Cline tribute.

While enjoying the performances of these talented area musicians, take time to admire John Grady Burns’ stunning floral arrangements, which will be on display throughout the cemetery. Burns, an internationally known floral designer and Natchez native, will be at Serenade to autograph copies of his best-selling design books.

Before leaving Serenade we encourage you to stop by our Cemetery Association table where we will have our popular cemetery driving/walking tour CDs and the beautifully illustrated Legends of the Natchez City Cemetery by local historian and veteran cemetery tour guide Don Estes available for purchase. We’ll also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the cemetery.

Parking for Serenade visitors will be available at the Natchez Little Theater parking lot at 319 Linton Avenue, with free shuttle service to the cemetery. Limited parking will also be available at the cemetery at 2 Cemetery Road.

Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of this year’s Serenade. Tickets, $15 each, may be purchased at the Natchez Visitor Center on 640 S. Canal St. Fore more information, call 601-446-6345 or 800-647-6724.

We look forward to seeing you at Serenade!


Teri D. Tillman is the publicity chairman for the Serenade in the Cemetery event.