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Shutdown hurts Natchez landmarks

Almost on cue, thousands of spider lilies burst out of the ground all across Natchez recently, signaling the Fall Pilgrimage season had arrived.

Even the weather cooperated as the summer’s heat broke this week providing visitors to Natchez refreshingly cool fall touring weather. Fall Pilgrimage kicked off a little over a week ago and house owners say they’ve seen strong crowds this year, which we hope indicates what is to come over the next several weeks as Fall Pilgrimage continues.

Sadly, the doors are locked on two of Natchez’s best attractions — Melrose and the William Johnson House.

Why? Because our federal government’s so-called leaders cannot, well, lead. Leadership requires sitting down and working out problems, not simply refusing to compromise — something of which both sides of the current debate seem to be guilty.

While the federal shutdown — now in its second week with little signs of a quick end — seems like a national story happening elsewhere, the reality is it hurts Natchez, too.

The amazing, public historic artifacts are shuttered at a time when a significant number of tourists — most likely federal taxpayers — are here to see them.

The two structures are key parts of the Natchez National Historical Park, and we’ve long said the NNHP is one of Natchez’s best-kept secrets.

On the bright side, Natchez still has other beautiful, historic things to see and do for people who have planned their visits here. We can only imagine the frustration small communities near to much larger national parks must be feeling this week.

Let’s hope the government’s leaders find a way to lead the country rather than grind it to a halt — and soon.

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