Women’s clubs meet in Natchez

Published 7:38 pm Saturday, April 28, 2007

NATCHEZ — About 160 women gathered at the convention center to receive awards and hear guest speakers Friday.

The Mississippi Confederation of Women’s Clubs is holding its annual meeting in Natchez. The conference lasts through today.

Clinton club member and past president Rowena Drinkwater said she enjoyed spending time in Natchez.

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“I think the historic part is what is of interest to people,” Drinkwater said.

Along with presenting awards and listening to guest speakers like radio personality Felder Rushing, the conference focused on a special project — preventing and helping the victims of domestic violence.

Members brought items, from pots to pillows, and donated them to Natchez’ Guardian Shelter for battered women and children.

“I think one of the great things is the domestic violence victims support,” Drinkwater said. “I think we can all relate to that, no matter where we are in the state.”

Franklin County women’s club member Laura Tyson, who helped host the event, said women’s clubs were an opportunity to help and serve.

“You get to serve your community,” Tyson said. “It’s rewarding. And being around people, and the fellowship, too.”

In fact, the state’s women’s clubs have had a big, if unrecognized, impact, Ivous Sisk, state chairwoman for special projects, said.

“The women’s clubs are responsible for 75 percent of the public libraries across the state,” Sisk said. “And we were the starters of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting. We think we’re a hidden secret in the state.”

And although the conference didn’t bring hundreds of people, it was just the kind Natchez looked for, Tourism Director Walter Tipton said.

“It’s very much our target niche market,” Tipton said. ‘They’re from all over the state. Each woman represents her community. When they leave here and they go back home they will be promoting Natchez.”