Natchez throws itself biggest party in 300 years

Published 1:28 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

NATCHEZ — Natchez residents have always said the city is a “party town” with a grin and a wink, but when the city celebrated its tricentennial Wednesday, people knew to show up at the party it threw itself.

All of the events the city hosted throughout the day — opening ceremonies and historical presentations at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, the National Park Service’s dedication of the Fort Rosalie site and the street party on the bluff — were all free to the public.

The soundtrack to the street party was a combination of the boom of gas jets filling hot-air balloons and a south Louisiana Zydeco and local bands.

Art and food vendors lined Broadway Street, which was blocked off for the celebration, which ended with fireworks.

Terrell Moss, a recent transplant to the Natchez area, said she first read about the planned tricentennial a year ago.

“I have been looking forward to this day since then,” she said. “It’s been a beautiful time.”

The only complaint Moss said she had was that the city might have taken a note from some of its former colonial royal leaders and chosen to celebrate its birthday when it wanted, not necessarily on the date it was founded.

“I wish it was in December,” she said with a laugh, alluding to a cooler time of the year.

Others in attendance thought the celebrations highlighted a recent move in the community to unify.

“The community is united in this,” lifelong Natchez resident Lori Myles said. “We are all celebrating a historic moment in our city, and we hope to have another 300 prosperous years more. I wish the city all the best.”

Another lifelong resident, Tameka Anderson, said she appreciated the atmosphere of community oneness.

“It feels really good to be at a celebration that everybody comes together in, in a small town,” she said. “I am proud to be part of such a nice event.”

While Natchez resident Chick Graning said he appreciated the coming together everyone did for the event, that’s going to have to continue for Natchez to have a positive future.

And that’s something he sees, Graning said.

“Natchez has wonderful events like this, and people always turn out,” he said. “This town has more to offer in beauty, good people, the Mississippi River, the port, and it just takes the people putting aside their differences and pulling together.”