People are the essence of Natchez

Published 12:45 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Natchez is throwing a party today — one 300 years in the making.

If you are reading this, you are invited. Nay, you are an honored guest.

Three centuries ago, Frenchmen staked a claim to this land and created a permanent settlement with the creation of Fort Rosalie.

Email newsletter signup

Like modern Natchez, early 18th century Natchez residents — members of the Natchez Indian tribe — were gracious to the outsiders. Eventually, tensions flared and blood was shed on both sides of the equation.

Natchez’s true history started well before Europeans set foot on this land. The Natchez Indians and their predecessors lived and thrived here for centuries before our modern 300-year stopwatch began.

From that point forward, however, Natchez is, in microcosm, the story of America — with amazing daring, hard work, ingenuity and, in its darker periods, untold human suffering.

Our history is widely known and documented. Portions of it, particularly our architectural history, drive thousands of visitors to our community each and every year.

But for the lucky few of us who stay a while, or were born here, we know how much more Natchez offers than merely a collection of old, but beautiful buildings.

The truth is, Natchez’s secret is not its high position on the bluff giving it majestic views of our nation’s greatest river. It is not our preserved architectural history or even our lush landscapes.

No, the real secret, the real essence of Natchez is made of flesh and bone. The people of Natchez — an amazing menagerie of people from all walks of life, all races, all creeds and hailing from all over our planet — are what make Natchez so incredible.

Happy birthday, Natchez, and we are excited to be a part of the next 300 years of our history.