‘Angels on the Bluff’ tickets selling quickly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ – Tickets for the Natchez City Cemetery’s &uot;Angels

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on the Bluff&uot; are moving fast, said Karlyn Ritchie, supervisor

of the Natchez Visitors Reception Center, where tickets are on

sale daily.

By early Monday afternoon, more than 900 tickets had been sold,

Ritchie said. &uot;And mind you, we’re not even in the heavy

selling period now. The biggest sales will come within the last

three days before the event.&uot;

Ritchie said 1,200 tickets were sold for the October 2000 &uot;Angels

on the Bluff,&uot; the first time the Friends of the Cemetery

organized the tours.

This year’s event, beginning at 6 p.m. each day, Oct. 26-28,

includes an additional evening because of the response last year,

she said.

Tickets are $10 each for Saturday and Sunday tours and $25

each on Friday, when the tours will end with a reception with

music and refreshments at Weymouth Hall, across Cemetery Road

from the cemetery.

&uot;Angels on the Bluff&uot; is a guided tour of small groups,

who take a pre-planned route through the historic cemetery and

stop at grave sites where costumed actors take the parts of famous

or interesting people buried at the sites.

Some of the characters to be portrayed this year – all different

from the ones presented last year – are Gen. Charles Dahlgren,

builder of Dunleith; Roan Adams Byrnes, who spearheaded efforts

to get the Natchez Trace funded in the 1930s; and Prince Ibrahima,

an African prince who was sold into slavery and brought to Natchez.

In addition to the historical characters on the program, musicians

will perform, including a quartet from the Alcorn State University

Concert Choir, who will sing near the site where victims of the

1940 Rhythm Night Club fire are buried.

Don Estes, cemetery superintendent, said response to the event

has amazed organizers. &uot;Last year I thought we might have

from about 300 to maybe 500; we had 1,200,&uot; he said. &uot;This

year, I thought, well, maybe we’ll have 1,500 people; but it looks

like it might be 2,000.&uot;

Cemetery volunteers are prepared for the crowds, he said. Tours

are planned for departure from the starting point every 10 minutes.

&uot;And one of the best things is that we’re not having any

parking at the cemetery this year.&uot;

Ritchie said the Visitors Reception Center will provide all

transportation, with shuttles running frequently from the visitors


&uot;There should be only very short waits, if any, after

people park and board the shuttles.&uot;

Estes said guides aboard the buses will provide some commentary

along the short drive down Canal Street and out Linton Avenue

to Cemetery Road.

&uot;When the bus gets to the cemetery, the guide will explain

to the group what to do and what to expect; so the cemetery guide

can just turn on the flashlight and take the group right on the


Along with brisk ticket sales, a T-shirt designed for the event

also has been a good seller, Estes said.

The shirt, with drawings front and back by Natchez artist Pat

McRaney Hootsell of the &uot;turning angel&uot; statue at the

cemetery, are $15 each.

&uot;The first order has sold out,&uot; Estes said. &uot;But

we’ve reordered.&uot;