Miss-Lou comes together for historic event

Published 12:15 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

VIDALIA — When Mayor Hyram Copeland pulled the switch, it did more than light the bridge, MDOT Director Larry “Butch” Brown said — it symbolically united two cultures.

At the bridge lighting ceremony Friday night, the Miss-Lou came together to witness the historic event.

Ferriday resident Peggy June gathered with the crowd at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center to watch the bridge lighting.

“The bridge is a beautiful piece of art that symbolizes the unity in the community,” June said.

“It is just beautiful, its reflection gleaming off of the old man river,” June’s husband, Jimmy said. “The full moon shining on the river makes it all the more beautiful.”

The only thing missing was a drum roll counting down to the switch flipping, said Greg Poole of Monterey.

“It is the prettiest thing I have seen all day,” Poole said. “It started out a little dim, but as the lights heated up it has been getting pretty.”

Betty Davis of Missouri City, Texas, said the one good thing about her uncle getting sick was that she got to be in town for the bridge lighting.

“My sister has been talking about it, and I thought I had to see it,” Davis said. “Glad I came out to see this — I brought my camera.”

Clara Anders, who lives in Natchez but often drives across the bridge to attend church, said seeing the bridge lit up was wonderful.

“I think it is just beautiful,” she said. “I think it is a plus for the Miss-Lou.”

Brown, director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, compared the symbolism of the bridge to a candle on a birthday cake.

“The candle symbolizes growth, maturity and happiness,” Brown said. “The bridge symbolizes how the Miss-Lou is growing closer together.”

Brown said this is also a symbol of something the communities have been seriously talking about since 1992, and it had been an idea even longer than that.

“It is a symbol that shows what the Miss-Lou can do if we work together,” Brown said.

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri LeBas said the bridge was already a landmark for the community, and beautifully lit, it would stand out even more.

“It is exciting when you can bring two communities together,” LeBas said. “This not only brings Vidalia and Natchez together, but it also brings the two great states of Louisiana and Mississippi together.”

“The Mississippi River is so important to the two states.”

The Miss-Lou Regionalism Steering Committee organized the reception to commemorate the bridge lighting. MDOT Southern Commissioner Wayne Brown also spoke at the ceremony.