Prepare for plenty of true stories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A firefighting teacher, a sheep shearing pre-teen and a Spanish-preaching Irish man walk into a bar.

No, no, that’s not right.

Why did the steamboat cross the road?

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No, that’s wrong too.

How much wood could a woodcock cock if a woodcock could cock wood?

Still wrong? Ah, maybe jokes and tongue twisters just aren’t the best way to tell the story of our community.

But we do think we’ve found a better way — and it will bring a few laughs, we are sure.

Confused? You won’t be for long.

Profile 2013 — our newspaper’s biggest annual project — will be heading your way in just a few short weeks.

The special section features more than 20 stories about your community, your neighbors, maybe even you.

And, included in the true tales, is more information about that firefighting teacher, sheep-shearing teen, Spanish-preaching Irish man, street-crossing steamboat and the wily woodcocks, plus much more.

This year, our staff set out to simply profile our community. We didn’t pick a particular theme for the entire section, but instead found the stories worth telling.

Our work began back in September, and will — fingers crossed — culminate this Thursday when we send the completed section off to be printed.

The final weeks of Profile production are some of our busiest and most stressful of the year, so we’ll be happy and relieved to see the project wrap up.

The 100-plus-page section will be nicely printed and returned to our office in time for delivery to your doorstep or newsstand on Feb. 24.

Our longtime readers have come to expect this Profile section each February — always on the last Sunday. We hope this year’s section lives up to previous standards.

The people in our community, many we see every day, never cease to amaze us with their fascinating stories. We seek simply to capture those life experiences, thoughts and ideas in our printed product.

We hope the stories, photos and marketing messages inside the section are some of the best work we’ll produce all year, and I think they are.

Each member of our team has put in extra hours and extra brainpower to bring the section to fruition.

We found wonderful people all along the way.

The stories of Kera Fennix and Mercedes Costley will inspire you. The excuses of area criminals may make you chuckle. And the strength of parents who’ve watched their children struggle will remind you that life goes on, no matter what.

I love to tell the stories of people, no matter who they are. Writing true, everyday stories is so much more captivating than creating works of fiction in my mind.

And centuries before reality TV took over the airwaves, newspapers were producing reality writing day in and day out.

On Feb. 24, look for your piece of Natchez reality. Make a big cup of coffee, grab a snack and curl up on the couch for a good look at your community. It’s better than any comedian, storyteller or fiction writer could ever dream up.


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