B&B opens doors in heart of downtown

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 18, 2009

NATCHEZ — Legislators, county and city officials and other interested members of the public walked through the grand halls of Natchez Manor Friday morning.

The newly designated bed and breakfast had its formal ribbon cutting Friday.

Fourteen rooms come outfitted with a king or queen bed, flat-screen television, large draped windows and a bathroom.

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The piano bar in the basement is cozy, with a small stage, a fireplace, deep couches and tall tables.

The first floor boasts a formal dining room and a more casual eating area.

The front French doors open to reveal a glass chandelier hanging over a long staircase that leads up to the split-level second floor.

A rooftop terrace has thickly padded deck chairs, and sun floods the area.

Natchez Manor first applied for its permits in 2007 and is now open at 600 Franklin St.

Barbara and Edward Blackmon of Canton own the business.

Edward Blackmon is a state representative, and Barbara Blackmon is a former Mississippi state senator.

The couple has also developed a subdivision in Jackson.

Edward Blackmon said he was asked why he wanted to develop a bed and breakfast in Natchez. He said his response was, “Why not?”

“This is one of the areas in Mississippi that you can truly say has the best of the past and is moving toward the best of the future,” Edward Blackmon said.

“You all have what I think is a great place here.”

He said he can hardly believe the transformation the formerly dilapidated building has gone through, and he credits his wife for having the vision to turn it into what it is today.

“No person more than Barbara is responsible for bringing this to life,” he said.

Barbara Blackmon said she was thankful for Friday’s turnout, which included Sen. Bob Dearing and Sen. Kelvin Butler.

Local elected and appointed officials Supervisor Darryl Grennell, Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne, Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins, Tax Collector Peter Burns, Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker, County Administrator Cathy Walker, Fire Chief Oliver Stewart, former mayor Tony Byrne and Alderman Dan Dillard were all present.

Alderwoman Joyce-Arceneaux-Mathis served as the mistress of ceremony.

“I’m happy to have this open in my ward,” the Ward 1 alderwoman said. “We are just so proud of it.”

She said city officials have been pushing for downtown revitalization, and Natchez Manor serves well to that effort.

“This is a beautiful topping for the first layer in the cake of downtown revitalization,” Mathis said.

Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Hudson welcomed the business as new chamber members, and Barbara Blackmon said she hoped she’d be a good member.

“We want to be good corporate citizens of Natchez,” Barbara Blackmon said.