Hear stories of interesting ‘residents’

Published 12:01am Friday, August 30, 2013

Once again the Natchez City Cemetery Association invites you to join us for an entertaining and educational evening with a few of our most interesting “residents.”

On the evenings of Nov. 8 and 9, we will share their stories at the popular “Angels on the Bluff,” our 14th production of this major fundraiser for our beautiful city cemetery.

Your evening begins at the Natchez Visitor Center, which is located at 640 S. Canal St., where you will board a bus at your reserved ticket time.

Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides will accompany you to your destination where they will share interesting facts about our historic cemetery as they lead you along candlelit avenues and among our moonlighted oaks to each character’s presentation.

Rusty Jenkins will share the stories of such great local musicians as Papa George Lightfoot, Jimmy Anderson, Elmore Williams, James Rowan, Hezekiah Early, Y. Z. Ealey and Li’l Poochie.

Terry Trovato and band members Father Walton Jones, Jamie Blanton, Kenny Jones, Dr. Bruce Scarborough and Dr. Robert Sizemore will “break a leg” to honor these well-known blues musicians.

-Levi Weeks: The exact burial place of this Massachusetts native who arrived in Natchez in the early 1800s remains unknown. A memorial marker, erected by the Auburn Garden Club, honors the former New York City resident who died in Natchez in 1819 of “malignant fever.” Weeks is perhaps best known in Natchez as the builder of Auburn, the elegant mansion believed to be the first in the area to use the classical orders of architecture. New Yorkers, however, remember him not for his architectural work, but for a tragic episode in his life that made headlines around the country. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear veteran Angels actor Sam Jones share Weeks’s dramatic story — it will be one to remember.

-Brigadier General Charles G. Dahlgren and Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren: Talk about family differences of opinion! These brothers fought on opposing sides during the American Civil War. Regular Angels presenters Doug Broome and David Carter will share the life stories of these two highly accomplished military men.

-Henry C. Norman Sr.: Tim McCary, well known artist and local photographer, will portray this famous 19th century Natchez photographer. A Georgia native, Henry settled in Natchez in his early twenties where he trained with local photographer Henry D. Gurney. After Gurney’s retirement in the late 1870s he established his own studio, documenting the lives of Natchez area residents for more than forty years until his death in 1913.

-Dr. Thomas H. Gandy: A beloved local physician and historian, Dr. Gandy spent most evenings in the last decades of his life restoring the vast collection of photographic negatives known as the “Norman Collection.” Consisting of more than 70,000 negatives from the studios of Henry C. Norman Sr., his son, Earl M. Norman, and their predecessor, Henry D. Gurney, the collection offers a remarkable portrait of more than a hundred years of Natchez history. Local actor Mike Roboski returns to share Dr. Gandy’s story with us.

-Jane Johnson: Born into slavery, Johnson remained in the Natchez area after Emancipation where she continued to work for the Davis family at the antebellum home Melrose. Tradition holds that “Aunt Jane,” who lived to be more than a hundred years old, was responsible on several occasions for keeping the house from harm. Barney Schoby Jr., representing the National Park Service, will tell Jane Johnson’s story of dedication.

-Mr. Rudolph Viener: Born in the Russian Ukraine, Mr. Viener immigrated to New York City in 1881. Arriving in New Orleans a few weeks later, he soon made his way to Natchez where he found work as a street peddler. He eventually opened his own wholesale grocery and became a well-respected member of the local business community. One of his descendants, Rudy Viener, will portray him.

Tickets are on sale now at the Natchez Visitors Center. Plan to purchase your tickets early as they sell out quickly.

Please call the center at 601-446-6345 for tickets or visit www.visitnatchez.org for more information.


Cyndy Bailey is a co-chair of the character venues of this year’s Angels on the Bluff event.