Fort Rosalie critical part of our history

Published 12:05 am Sunday, October 5, 2014

Looking at what is effectively the birthplace of Mississippi isn’t all that impressive.

A high sloping hill is what most motorists along South Canal Street see as they look toward the Mississippi River. But approximately 300 years ago, that high ground was something special indeed.

The site of Fort Rosalie, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River, isn’t much more than a grassy hill today, but it was once the hub of the first permanent European settlement on the river.

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Without Fort Rosalie, Natchez wouldn’t exist and without Natchez, Mississippi may not exist either — at least not as we know it today.

As the City of Natchez inches toward its tricentennial celebration in 2016, the current owners of the Fort Rosalie site — the National Park Service — are working hard to make the site usable for visitors.

We applaud NPS’ efforts, though as most government projects tend to go, visible progress is far slower than we’d like.

But no organization or entity is better suited to make Fort Rosalie a memorable visitor experience than the NPS.

We encourage local park service leaders to let all of us know what they need to make Fort Rosalie a success.

The people of Natchez have shown an amazing ability to get things done to preserve our history from the creation of the Natchez Trace to the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage and countless other such projects.

Returning Fort Rosalie to greatness would only be fitting for a city steeped in its history.