NHS homecoming parade keeping same route despite balloon race traffic

Published 12:11 am Monday, October 13, 2014

NATCHEZ Natchez High School’s homecoming parade will roll on its usual route through downtown Friday, despite the higher-than-normal amount of traffic expected because of the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.

At a Natchez Board of Aldermen meeting last month, city leaders questioned if the parade should be rerouted to account for the higher-than-normal traffic volume the balloon race typically causes.

Concerns centered on how to avoid having the parade and balloon race activity overlap on Broadway Street. That street is where those in the parade generally setup and prepare, but is also a key location for the balloon race.

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Natchez-Adams School District safety and security supervisor Ray Brown, who originally appeared before the city board, said Thursday that city officials had met and approved the same route the parade always takes.

The annual parade route includes those involved staging on Broadway Street before going up Franklin Street, taking a right on Rankin Street and coming down Main Street before returning to Broadway to disassemble.

Natchez Police Chief Danny White said he and other city officials decided to keep the same route because they don’t believe the parade would significantly interfere with balloon race activity.

“It’s really just a couple of hours maximum, and it doesn’t appear that there’s anything big going on for the balloon race at that particular time,” White said. “We’ll have plenty of officers there to direct traffic and get everyone going where they need to go. It shouldn’t be a problem at all.”

The parade is expected to start at 2:30 p.m. Friday ahead of Natchez High School’s homecoming football game against Laurel High School. Kickoff for that game is set for 7 p.m.