Residents owe thanks to Natchez bluffs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2015

As the tricentennial approaches, the citizens of Natchez are blessed to have the bluffs as the centerpiece of the landscape. The towering Natchez bluffs, like many natural wonders of the world, awe citizens and tourists alike as they view the Mississippi River.

The high bluffs have always been the front porch of Natchez where one can sit, rest, stroll, play, or run along the river. In recent years the front porch has been completely renovated by groups and individuals. The impetus was the Natchez Trails Project under the aegis of the Community Alliance. Through joint efforts of local, state, federal, and private agencies, the trails have morphed into a unique attraction.

The sheltered pavilion with informative panels on the trails was sponsored by Helen and Randy Smith. The new fence; wide, smooth sidewalks; benches donated by individuals named on the attached plaques; and lights entice visitors and residents to enjoy the area.

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The bandstand, recently repaired and painted under the leadership of Curtis Moroney, with attractive landscaping by local Master Gardeners, continues to serve as a venue for many events. The new Bridge of Sighs offers stunning views of the river to the north and to the south and of the town to the east, as well as providing safe passage for foot traffic. A park-like area near the bridge and the fountain has emerged with the plantings of flowers, shrubs, and trees in the fall. The last structural eyesore, the old depot, is undergoing a complete makeover.

New, wide sidewalks along Madison and Broadway Streets and additional crepe myrtles define the green space. The newly constructed octagonal overlook along the river trail gives another perspective of the mighty Mississippi. Competent city employees have worked diligently to complete these projects and the blacktopping of Broadway Street.

Walkers along the trails can have a short history lesson by reading the panels which comprise the Natchez Museum of Streets.

Joining with city officials and community groups is F.O.R. Natchez (Friends of the Riverfront in Natchez) to guarantee the Natchez bluffs remain community property and become an anchor for a master plan for the city. Chaired by Chesney Doyle and Darryl Grennell, the group is working to develop a comprehensive city plan, setting the stage for responsible growth and development for the next 300 years.

Just as the Natchez bluffs marked the site of the founding of the city in 1716; likewise, they mark the vibrant existence of the city in 2016. Unquestionably, it is the people — both past and present — who make the future. To all of them, private and public groups and individuals, everyone owes gratitude for lasting endeavors.


Mary Eidt is a Natchez resident.