Photo exhibit great gift to community

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

This afternoon, Natchez will celebrate a labor of love &045; the historic photographs exhibit that has been on display at First Presbyterian’s Stratton Chapel for the last 10 years.

The exhibit began as a hobby and passion for Dr. Thomas Gandy, a Natchez physician who acquired the historic negatives in 1960 and spent years perfecting the craft of restoring the negatives and making prints to share not only with Natchez but with the rest of the world.

The photo collection traveled across the globe, and in 1995 an exhibit opened in Natchez.

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The photos, the result of Dr. Gandy’s

great passion for history and great love for Natchez, became a labor of love for the volunteer docents who have graciously taken visitors through the exhibit throughout the years.

The photos &045; glimpses of Natchez residents, streetscapes and events taken by father and son photographers &045; have given tourists a great Natchez history lesson, but they have also served to tie our residents to their past. The 525 photos show Natchez from the Civil War period through the beginning of the 20th century.

The exhibit is tremendously valuable to our study of our history, to the future of our tourism efforts and to our understanding of our community.

Dr. Gandy and his wife, Joan, who together published several books of the photos, donated the negatives to Louisiana State University Special Collections.

But the exhibit at Stratton Chapel will remain as long as the church leadership wants it there.

We have a feeling it will last for years to come, a great gift to generations of Natchez residents and visitors.