Natchez native to be named tricentennial director

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 27, 2014

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez is scheduled to name a tricentennial director today at the Natchez Board of Aldermen meeting.

Emmy award-winning film and television producer Jennifer Ogden Combs is expected to be named the director and will take over planning efforts for the city’s yearlong 2016 tricentennial celebration.



Combs, a Natchez native, said she is excited to take on the role.

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“I’m very excited and honored, really,” Combs said. “I lived for so long in New York and Los Angeles, but Natchez has always been my home. I have always wanted the opportunity to do something and contribute in a way that will not just say who we were in the past, but help to define where we are going. I think the tricentennial can do that.”

Combs said she believes the tricentennial — the city’s 300th birthday — can unite the community.

“For me, the tricentennial has always been an opportunity to unify the community and to develop and promote economic development opportunities, whether they are small or large,” Combs said.

Mayor Butch Brown said Combs is the first person who talked to him about the tricentennial.

“In 2010, she came to see me in Jackson while I was at the (Mississippi Department of Transportation) about the tricentennial,” Brown said.  “She was telling me about how important it was to have this event and how it should and would involve the entire community and take the entire community’s participation level to a new high.

“Lo and behold, I had no idea at the time that I would find myself back in the mayor’s chair and would be so heavily involved in the tricentennial.”

Brown said he believes Combs’ experience as a producer for TV and film, particularly the time, personnel and financial management that comes with that, makes her the right person for the job.

Combs has worked on several movies, including “The Family Stone,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Dermot Mulroney, and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.” Combs won an Emmy in 2000 for the television film “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

Combs said her first order of business as tricentennial director will be consolidating all the tricentennial efforts so far into one central hub where people can go to for information about how to get involved in the tricentennial.

“It will really be about pulling together everything, having one main calendar and one centralized resource where people can go if they want to get involved or if they have an idea to pitch,” Combs said.

Brown said Combs should be in place as tricentennial director by July 1.

The board of aldermen are expected to discuss the director’s position at its meeting today. The board will meet at 4:30 p.m. in the Natchez City Council Chambers for its finance meeting and at 6 p.m. for the regular meeting.