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Fort Rosalie work adds jewel to city

A milestone will occur this week on the bluff adjacent to Canal Street as the next chapter at the site of the former Fort Rosalie begins to unfold. The National Park Service will begin tearing down some of the structures on the site this week.

The work is the next phase of a project to return one of the single most important historical pieces of property into the public domain again.

When the site is cleared and prepared for visitors, Fort Rosalie will become the third historic jewel making up the Natchez National Historical Park.

Fort Rosalie was the ground on which the French settlers first staked a claim. Their bold settlement will soon mark 300 years of existence, the oldest European settlement on the Mississippi River.

The work is a long time coming as several of the properties on the site had fallen into disrepair over the years, and their removal will indeed clean up that area of the city.

But the move is also bittersweet for some who recall growing up at the site or having relatives who did so. Perhaps in some way the National Park Service can pay homage to the legacy of those people once the new park is ready for public display.

Just like the members of the Natchez Indians who left a mark on the land, more modern settlers have also left their mark on the historic site.

In the end, when the NPS is done, we know the site will be a popular tourist draw and the NPS will, in the process, protect the site’s history for generations to enjoy.