Natchez Legends and Lore begins today

Published 12:14 am Monday, January 4, 2016

NATCHEZ — At the beginning of January the world celebrates the dawn of the New Year but, in Natchez, the city is getting ready to celebrate the stories of its past.

Natchez Legends and Lore begins today. The event is a series of talks on different aspects of Natchez’s history that are scheduled to take place almost every Monday in 2016. Legends and Lore presentations are part of the city’s tricentennial celebration.

The ethnic and social history committee of the tricentennial, which is co-chaired by Kathleen Bond, sponsors the series.

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“Over the course of the year we want to be able to explore as many of the stories about the people of Natchez as possible,” Bond said.

The topics for the talks range from slavery and famous individuals to Native Americans and the Spring Pilgrimage.

“The goal at the end of all of this is to have achieved unity by coming to appreciate our diversity,” Bond said.

Historic Natchez Foundation Executive Director Mimi Miller is scheduled to give the inaugural talk tonight. During her presentation, Miller said she will give an overview of 300 years of Natchez’s history.

Natchez has survived much through the years, Miller said, including yellow fever and floods.

“We survived it, and we could always look forward to tomorrow,” Miller said.

But, even though it will be Miller who will be presenting and showing images of Natchez’s past, she wants other people to feel free to contribute.

“I don’t want it to be a stilted, formal lecture,” Miller said.

Bond also hopes people will come and share their stories since, although tourists are welcome, the event is really for Natchez residents.

“Everyone who comes has a different perspective and so they might know family stories that connect to the topic,” Bond said.

Listening, as well as sharing, is important, too. Miller said the past could help residents see mistakes and ensure those mistakes are not repeated.

“I think sometimes when you look at the past of Natchez, it helps you see the future a little more clearly,” Miller said.

Natchez Legends and Lore begins at 5:30 p.m. today at the Historic Natchez Foundation. All presentations for the month of January will be at the same time and place.

On Jan. 11, Jim Wiggins will give a presentation on slavery and Natchez. Ben Hillyer, news editor of The Natchez Democrat, will speak the following week about the newspaper’s 150 years of publishing Natchez’s news.