Mayor undergoes heart surgery

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NATCHEZ Natchez Mayor Butch Brown underwent triple-bypass heart surgery Monday at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge.

Until he is fully recovered, Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, who serves as mayor pro tempore, will handle any duties necessary in Brown’s absence.

As of Monday afternoon, Brown’s condition was unknown.

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“He’s in surgery now, and we’ll know more later,” said Brown’s wife, Shields Brown, at 2 p.m. Monday.

In the mayor’s absence, Mathis said the board of aldermen would conduct business as usual.

“We have all communicated with each other and are well aware of plans,” said Mathis, adding that the board will keep its regularly scheduled 4:30 p.m. meeting today.

Alderman Dan Dillard said the board was made aware of the mayor’s condition Saturday afternoon via text message from Temple Hendricks, the mayor’s secretary.

“Our real concern is the mayor’s health and a speedy recovery,” Dillard said. “Joyce, she’s had to serve in the mayor’s absence before, so I expect everything will run just fine.”

Alderman Mark Fortenberry echoed Dillard, and said he’s confident in Mathis’ ability to lead the board.

“This is a difficult time, but we’ll keep going and get through this until he gets back,” Fortenberry said.

Brown served as Natchez mayor from 1992 through 2000. After serving as executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Brown again took the mayoral office in 2012.

Brown survived two bouts of prostate cancer several years ago.