Community shines Friday night

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The red light on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive that sits between the entrance to Natchez Regional Medical Center and the Walgreens parking lot doesn’t turn from red to green very quickly.

And before it turns, a left-turn arrow pops up. The cars headed straight are already sitting on ready when the arrow appears.

Inevitably, nearly every time, the first car lets off the brake, prepares to hit the gas then suddenly realizes their light isn’t yet green.

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I’ve done it. You’ve likely done it, too.

It’s a symptom of our go-go-go, never slow down world.

But Friday night, the Miss-Lou will take a break from the world to focus on what’s important.

The community will pull together — perhaps better than we do for any other thing — for the cause.

It’s not football, not a dance recital, not a festival or a concert. The board of aldermen won’t be making any decisions, and the police officers on duty will have a little fun along the way.

Age, race and social status won’t matter.

The healthy and the very sick will attend.

The Miss-Lou Relay for Life is one of a kind, and you had better not miss it.

Last year, national Relay experts came to see just how Natchez and Vidalia did it. They raved over what they saw — it’s just plain impressive, I agree.

Per capita, our community raises one of the top amounts of money in the country.

This, folks, is something we do wonderfully right.

For the third year in a row, our newspaper staff will have a booth along the Relay track. We’ll hang a bed sheet from the top of the tent to create a makeshift projector screen. And as soon as it gets dark enough, our work for the night will be projected onto the screen for everyone to see.

Our photographers will be on site taking photos, downloading their work to a computer and preparing it for print in the newspaper.

Our reporters will be finding stories and writing from the event site.

And our page designers will build the front page of the newspaper from inside our Relay tent.

You’ll be able to watch us as we write headlines, arrange photos and fill in the front-page details.

You’ll see tomorrow’s news as it happens.

Feel free to poke your head in if you see a typo on the page, but remember that the later it gets the less time we may have to chat. Deadlines loom, even on Relay night.

Sometime shortly after 10:30 p.m., we’ll make a quick trip back to our office to make sure everything gets on the printing press OK. And sometime after midnight we’ll be back at the Relay site with Saturday’s newspaper in hand.

We have loved joining the Miss-Lou Relay family and we hope our team will continue to grow each year.

For weeks now, Democrat staff members have been taking orders and delivering flocks of tacky, pink flamingos to area yards.

By week’s end our flamingo flocking project will have raised just at $1,000.

Fifty houses and businesses have received the birds, for a fee. Flocking will end Thursday, but the birds will be on site Friday just for fun.

So stop by and see the birds — and us. We’ll be wearing black shirts with a pink bird on the back.

We’d love to chat … after deadline.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or