Natchez the namesake of Mississippi’s soil?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 6, 2003

Natchez is already the namesake of a 432-mile federal highway. Thanks to state legislators, we could soon see our city’s name on the state soil.

Yes, lawmakers in Jackson have taken the time from their busy schedules to pass a bill that designates Natchez silt loam &045; the coarse, fertile soil on which our fair city sits &045; as the official state soil.

Natchez silt loam is not, of course, exclusive to our city. It is the soil found along bluffs in 20 counties along the Mississippi River.

Email newsletter signup

But at least we could get some publicity out of this.

Perhaps we could order new welcome signs … &uot;Natchez, Mississippi, home of the state soil.&uot;

We could revise tourist brochures to include the silt loam as an attraction, along with the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race and Pilgrimage.

We could even begin selling little pouches of dirt as souvenirs: &uot;Take Natchez home with you!&uot;

Being the namesake of the state soil probably won’t bring much benefit to Natchez. In fact, we’re not really sure quite how it benefits Mississippi to have a state soil.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Reecy Dickson, D-Macon, said 15 other states already have state soils. Well, that’s a reason for the bill, but it’s not a good one.

On Wednesday, Sen. Hillman Frazier, D-Jackson, was the lone Senate vote against the soil proposal. He was upset that legislators took time to vote on such a bill.

While he’s right that naming a state soil

wasn’t enough to merit the Legislature’s time, the Senate did spend only a few minutes voting on it. At this point, it’s also not enough for the rest of us to make a fuss over, either.

But maybe next year lawmakers could spend their time in more productive ways?