NBCL to gather for banquet tonight

Published 12:26 am Friday, February 11, 2011

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Business and Civic League has “a vision for creating economic progress” in the Natchez area.

So it’s fitting that they’ve made that goal this year’s theme for the annual banquet that will be 7 p.m. tonight at the Natchez Convention Center.

Advance tickets are sold out, but NBCL’s President Bishop Melvin Jackson said people are still invited to show up and purchase tickets at the door.

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The keynote speaker will be Clarence Fields, mayor of Pineville, La.

“We wanted someone who has some experience with our theme, who would be informative,” Jackson said. “He came highly recommended. In the times we’re living in right now, and because of economic problems, we still need vision to sustain ourselves. We have to be creative in this time so we can continue making progress.”

Fields is the former president of the Louisiana Municipal Association, representing more than 300 municipalities in Louisiana. Fields was also active in starting the Pineville Boys and Girls Club and the city’s first youth basketball program.

In addition to the keynote speech, dinner will be served, Word of Faith music ministry will share in song and awards will be presented for the NBCL’s man of the year and student of the year.

The man of the year award goes to a man who goes above and beyond to help in his community. Student of the year is chosen by school faculty based on personal and academic excellence and is awarded a scholarship.

“We want people to come and enjoy themselves,” Jackson said. “We also want to encourage people to join the league.”

Jackson said the purpose of the NBCL is to promote local businesses, help struggling businesses and support new businesses by sharing important information such as what is expected of them when applying for a loan.

Jackson said the NBCL hosts workshops, seminars and radio forums throughout the year. They donate food to needy families at Christmastime and are proud to be partners in education — assisting in local schools, especially during testing.

Jackson said a monthly First Friday event hosted by the NBCL is meant to facilitate networking and the exchange of information on how to make the community better.

Jackson extended the invitation to the banquet to anyone who wants more information about the league.

“The more the merrier,” Jackson said. “The more members we have, the more we can accomplish in the community.”

Tickets can be purchased for $25 at the door tonight.