Turner South network to feature Natchez City Cemetery on ‘Blue Ribbon’ Nov. 25

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 2004

Turner South’s show &uot;Blue Ribbon&uot; features viewers’ favorite places in the South, from antique shops to white water rafting spots to restaurants &045;&045; and yes, cemeteries, too.

The Natchez City Cemetery will soon be featured on &uot;Blue Ribbon,&uot; since almost 70 percent of those polled on the network’s Web site voted the site their favorite cemetery to visit in the South. The tentative airdate is Nov. 25.

A five-minute segment on the show will feature interviews with cemetery Director Don Estes, author Greg Iles, longtime Angels on the Bluff Co-Chairwoman Bee Byrnes and Sally Ballard, member of the Cemetery Association, as well as footage of the 2004 &uot;Angels&uot; event.

Email newsletter signup

Among the runners-up, also featured on the program: Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Ga., of &uot;In the Garden of Good and Evil&uot; fame; the Ramsey Creek Nature Preserve in Westminster, S.C.; and Coon Dog Cemetery near Tuscumbia, Ala., featured in the film &uot;Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?&uot;

Before the Web site vote, Estes said, Turner South took notice of the cemetery when crews came to Natchez to film a segment of &uot;Three-Day Weekend&uot; for the network.

Crews from production company Tentmakers Entertainment then arrived in October to film the City Cemetery in time for the Angels on the Bluff event. The annual show features locals portraying some of the colorful characters who are buried at the cemetery.

Even though rain eventually forced Angels inside, crews managed to get ample footage of the event both at the cemetery and at the City Auditorium, shots featured in the Natchez segment.

&uot;It’s a cemetery where the dead are revived once a year,&uot; said Jill Sochacki, production coordinator for Cornelius, N.C.-based Tentmakers Entertainment.

In the Turner South segment, those interviewed tell the stories of some of those colorful characters, from cross-crossed lovers Kate Schwartz and Charles West to Under-the-Hill prostitute Louise the Unfortunate.

The variety of characters present in the City Cemetery mirrors the variety always in Natchez society itself, Iles says in the segment.

&uot;It’s like a microcosm of Natchez,&uot; he said, &uot;the Old South made real.&uot;