Brown’s work is evident all around us

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Drive the roads in and around Natchez and you’ll see evidence of Larry L. “Butch” Brown’s work everywhere.

The businessman, teacher, former mayor and soon-to-be former state transportation executive director has certainly made his mark on the community — dozens of times over. He announced his retirement Sunday as executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

From countless projects that were accomplished in his two terms as Natchez mayor to the millions upon millions of dollars spent on long-overdue state highway projects, Brown’s impact has been tangible and profound.

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His driving personality, vision and refusal to accept that any project was too big to be completed, was simultaneously what led to his greatest successes and what fueled his greatest critics.

Critics laughed when he looked at old, unused municipal buildings in Natchez and saw a way to re-purpose them.

When he had the dream of creating a recreation project on the beanfield site more than 10 years ago, critics threw up excuse after excuse why the project was doomed to fail. Today, the project is being worked in a rare cooperative agreement between city, county and school district leadership.

Brown’s brash style ruffled feathers — many feathers — but his ability to see a need and figure out a creative way to solve it is rarely seen, particularly in the public sector.

His retirement to move back to Natchez and battle his third bout with prostrate cancer is bittersweet.

We welcome him home while we pray for his recovery. Good luck, Butch. Your hometown is rooting for you and is thankful for your work on its behalf.