Help us tell stories of the Miss-Lou

Published 12:05 am Friday, September 5, 2014

Morning races to get to the newspaper are probably not very common in Natchez.

I can imagine that most people are a little bleary-eyed and are getting that first jolt of caffeine as they step out of the house.

I know I am when I step on to the front porch.

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Then I hear the sound of my son’s footsteps as he yells, “No, I will get it. I will get the paper.”

Most mornings I let my 5-year-old scurry past to climb down the front steps. Other times, I make it a race as we both battle to see who can grab the paper first.

If he happens to win the morning race he plops down on the steps to open the paper.

Some people turn to the obituaries. Others head straight to the crime reports.

Still, others can’t start their day without reading the front page headlines to get up to speed on all that is happening in and around Natchez.

My son, he opens the paper for the Your Take photograph feature. Gibson can’t wait to see what the daily “Your Take” photo will be.

Babies, cats and dogs are sure to elicit a smile and giggle, but Gibson likes them all. His morning is not complete without his Your Take fix. He will not go to school without it.

Just as much as the obituaries, crime reports and even the front page stories tell the story of our community, so does the “Your Take” feature The Natchez Democrat created seven years ago.

Since October 2005, The Democrat has published more than 3,000 photos. Since then, the top right-hand corner of the last page in the A section has been this ever-changing landscape of animals, flowers and people.

Each day’s picture has been a new and exciting entry into the record of the wonderful and varied life and history of the Miss-Lou.

It was our hope that the “Your Take” would help tell the story of the people and places of the Miss-Lou.

And what a story we have told.

Over the years, we have seen many portraits of the Miss-Lou. From the twinkling eyes of children playing to the eager smiles of graduates to the look of gratitude and wisdom in the faces of grown-ups.

Each October many gorgeous photos of balloons drift across the back page of the newspaper. Santa Claus has even made an appearance or two.

And of course, there have been celebrities. In the first year alone, Brett Favre, Jesse Jackson, Morgan Freeman and others have made guest appearances.

Dogs and cats, ranging from the tiniest Chihuahua to the fattest cats in the Miss-Lou have joined the fun. But there have also been  monkeys, squirrels, pelicans, alligators, snakes, turtles, goats, opossums, peacocks and raccoons.

And then there are all of the gardens and flowers from local green thumbs. Each picture of the beautiful plants grown by residents has been another addition to our beautiful bouquet of pictures.

There’s no mistaking how attached residents are to the landscape. Beautiful pictures of the sun setting over the Mississippi River, Lake Concordia and Lake St. John graced the back page many times last year. Each multicolored painted sky was a testament to the beautiful country in which we live.

Thanks to our readers, an amazing story has been told through the thousands of photographs that were submitted to “Your Take.”

Thanks to all who have helped to tell it. Keep them coming.


Ben Hillyer is the design editor for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached by phone at 601-445-3562, or by e-mail at