The Dart: For local woman, there is no place like home

Published 11:12 pm Sunday, July 9, 2017

By Lyndy Berryhill

NATCHEZ — LaTonya Washington has lived on the corner of Zoa Street and Oscar Avenue in Natchez for the past four years. But she is no stranger to the bluff city.

When The Dart landed on Washington’s street Thursday evening, she and her husband were in front of her house. Her husband was replacing the brakes on their black Chevy Tahoe.

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Washington said on a typical afternoon they are usually out visiting with family.

Washington is a Natchez native with “deep roots.” She had moved to  Marietta, Ga., before she and her husband, Derrick Washington, married in 2013.

They came back  to Natchez because the small community was more comfortable than the bigger city. Marietta’s population of approximately 60,000 was, they said, some 45,000 people too many.

These days, family plays a big role in Washington’s life.

On her husband’s side of the family, at least 15 relatives live in the neighborhood, while on her side of the family, she has at least 50 relatives who live near.

Washington’s two children Tia’Vonni Logan, 19, and Quan’Trell Hesse, 14, both go to school in Natchez.

Holidays such as Independence Day bring together the whole family for cooking and fellowship.

Washington said barbecue ribs, greens, red beans and rice and “a pot,” which is stewed from turkey necks, neck bones and pigs’ feet. It is cooked in crab boil with potatoes and corn.

It is like a crawfish boil, but without the crawfish, Washington said.

“It’s good,” she said. “It’s awesome.”

Washington said whether they have family gatherings at her home or at her mother-in-law’s home, the food and the times are always good.

Even though Natchez is a small community, Washington said the town has a way of attracting all sorts of interesting people.

Before moving to Georgia, Washington was working at the Eola Hotel when the Ethan and Joel Coen film “Lady Killers” was being filmed n Natchez. Washington said she was stunned to meet Irma P. Hall, one of her favorite actresses.

Washington said Hall gave her a hug and an autograph after introducing herself as a big fan.

Washington lost the autograph when she moved to Georgia, but she still remembers what it felt like to meet Hall.

“It was so awesome,” Washington said. “I was excited for the rest of the day.”

Washington said she never met anyone famous anywhere else she lived. It was “too big” for anything like that to happen.

“I prefer Natchez to anywhere,” Washington said. “I love it, I really do.”