Cochran, Winter to be honored at NLCC

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 8, 2009

NATCHEZ — U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and former Mississippi Gov. William F. Winter and his wife, Elise Winter, will be honored at several events during the 20th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, Feb. 19-22.

The three have been supportive of the NLCC since its inception, said NLCC founder and co-chairman Carolyn Vance Smith of Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Cochran will speak at 11:45 a.m., Feb. 20, about the importance of the arts and the humanities in everyday life. This free event will be at the Natchez Convention Center, 211 Main St.

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“Afterward, we’ll present Sen. Cochran with a memento of the NLCC and will announce the establishment of a new award called the Thad Cochran Humanities Achievement Award,” Smith said.

The first winner of the new award is Mark LaFrancis of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, who has produced two documentary films especially for the NLCC. The first, in 2008, was called “Richard Wright: A Force for Right.” The 2009 documentary film is called “Eudora Welty: Woman of the World, Daughter of Mississippi.”

After this ceremony, Cochran will be honored at a free public reception from 12:30-1 p.m. at the Natchez Visitors Center, 640 S. Canal St. Coffee and soft drinks will be served.

During the reception, a new exhibit will be displayed. Following the 2009 NLCC theme of “Southern Women Writers: Saluting the Eudora Welty Centennial,” the exhibit was designed by Ron Merrill of the Natchez National Historical Park. It is called “Eudora Welty and the Natchez Trace.”

For afternoon and evening events on Feb. 20, the NLCC will move from the Convention Center to Grand Soleil Hotel.

At 4 p.m., New York Times best-selling author Dorothea Benton Frank will speak. Immediately afterward, William and Elise Winter will be honored at a ceremony beginning at 4:45 p.m.

“Co-Lin’s president, Dr. Ronnie Nettles, will thank the Winters for their support and present them with gifts relating to the NLCC,” Smith said.

A free reception from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. honoring the Winters will follow in the Grand Soleil Hotel lobby. During this time, a short PowerPoint program will be shown. Created by Mark LaFrancis, it is called “A Journey through the NLCC: Two Decades of Stars and Celebrations.”

The 20th annual NLCC opens Feb. 19 and runs through Feb. 21 with programs and films at the Natchez Convention Center. The conference concludes Feb. 22 with writing workshops at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

The conference is co-sponsored by Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Natchez National Historical Park, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Partial funding comes from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

The majority of the Celebration is free. Registration is not required. Information and tickets to four meals and a play are available at or by calling 601-446-1289 or by emailing