College hosts 10th annual Ladies Academy

Published 7:01 pm Sunday, April 1, 2007

For most of the ladies in attendance, Saturday wasn’t about the hoop skirts, the bonnets or the rooster feather embellishments.

It was about the friends.

The 10th annual Ladies Academy at Historic Jefferson College had 31 participants this year — most of them repeat attendees.

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“You form a bond, a sisterly bond,” said Linda Cospelich of Biloxi. “This is a time for me to be able to regroup emotionally, physically and spiritually.”

Cospelich and the other ladies set up camp on the grounds of the college Friday night. They slept in tents Friday and Saturday nights. All day Saturday they attended classes on bonnet making, outfit creation and sewing. They also talk about how women of the 1800s dressed and acted.

All re-enactors from around the South, the women dress in period clothing and cook meals over an open fire.

Karon Roberts of Hamburg, Ark., attended the event for the eighth time this year.

“It’s wonderful here,” she said. “I enjoy the scenic trip down and learning how to put an outfit together correctly.”

Vicky Ratliff, the only Natchez resident attending the event, said schools like the Jefferson College one are important to re-enactors.

“When you participate in (reenactments) you want to be proper,” she said. “This gives ladies a chance to learn how to do that.”

Ratliff got interested in reenactments through her husband, Michael. Together, the duo travels to about six events a year, but the Jefferson College weekend is the only one geared just to women, Ratliff said.

“Women love coming because it’s something for them,” she said.

Saturday’s group included women from Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia.