Natchez, New Orleans should partner

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

On May 10, 1997, the mayor of Madison, signed an accord with the Swedish city of Solleftea, Sweden.

Today, multiple Swedish businesses are operating in Madison. Additionally, in 2005 the Swedish-American Chamber of commerce opened in Madison, the only of its kind in Mississippi.

While Sweden may seem far off and has little to do with Natchez, why don’t we focus on somewhere a little closer, a little more Natchez-like, and little more New Orleans.

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Don’t even think about the French Quarter. It is the most visible aspect of New Orleans and yet the rest of city has more to offer as a whole to tourists, travelers, locals, and all walks of life.

Arts, theater, literary festivals, music, restaurants, business prospects, education, professional sports, colleges, cooking, anything and everything you can imagine can be had in New Orleans!

And on the other side of the coin, Natchez — smaller, quieter, with restaurants, rich history, festivals, Mardi Gras parades, a literary festival, a blues festival, a hot air balloon festival, Spring Pilgrimage, opera celebrations, old homes, bed and breakfasts, hotels, continuing education — can provide the New Orleans community with a slower pace, enjoyable, relaxing, sometimes dramatic little city on the river.

Two cities with this much in common, it only makes senses to join forces, make a more formal alliance, advertise together, send people, information and ideas back and forth.

Imagine New Orleans and Natchez, formally connected, where multiple aspects of Natchez and New Orleans could share information, ideas, business plans, build relationships, municipal leaders meeting to discuss problems and solutions, department heads sharing ideas, business leaders meeting and discussing ideas and plans with New Orleans business leaders.

Imagine Co-Lin sending students to study in New Orleans, New Orleans students coming to Natchez to study, high school students from Natchez traveling to New Orleans to see a play, go the to the aquarium, the zoo, meet successful New Orleans businessmen and New Orleans students coming to Natchez for Spring Pilgrimage, balloon festival, taking classes at Co-Lin, national advertising campaigns showcasing New Orleans and Natchez in the same commercial — it’s not that radical an idea.

The only determining factor is how much each city cares to participate. Leaders must meet and discuss the benefits and the cost, but in the end the people of New Orleans and Natchez would benefit from sharing our respective cities charm with one another. Making Natchez New Orleans’ “Sister City” would open communications and ideas and benefit the area and its citizens.

Let’s get our local leaders to draw up a plan to extend an official declaration to the City of New Orleans that we would like to be the “Sister City” of Big Easy/

What better than for a small city wanting to grow jobs, build a solid economy, and increase the median income level of its citizens, than to collaborate and cultivate a relationship with a massive city who has retained it culture, charm and uniqueness and is rebuilding its business and tourism base, its economy, its jobs and its infrastructure?

James D. Gammill II

Natchez resident