Area doesn’t need to dwell on its failures

Published 12:37 am Sunday, January 14, 2018

Getting down on Natchez is easy right now, but disparaging our city and larger community while it is down is not wise or productive.

We all know our problems.

What is going on currently is a recipe for continued griping, feeling sorry for our position or fleeing to higher ground. But that is not a solution.

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Natchez’s leadership and citizenry need to look in the mirror and carefully examine our problems, put those behind us and play to our strengths. Ditto for Adams County, Vidalia, Ferriday and Concordia Parish.

We are not whipped and are far from being a lost cause. But we need an abrupt change in course.

Last week Trinity Episcopal Day School announced it was closing, ending decades of service. It was a tough decision for the school board, and they should be thanked for making what was certainly a difficult and necessary decision.

But in that closure and the closure of other businesses, our community must identify opportunity, not dwell on failure or what once was.

Such is difficult to do. Currently, our community seems almost perpetually in some kind of crisis.

We fight about much these days and the result creates a gripping sense of paralysis among our community’s leaders. They are hesitant to lead, fear for their own small pockets of support instead of making smart, progressive decisions that will affect our grandchildren.

A sense of inability to do things that we set our mind to exists, and that has become major problem. If our community decided and dedicated itself to solve a problem or promote a cause, we could do it.

This apathy has bred deeper apathy. We owe our community and ourselves better. The community needs to come together — orderly and with a resolve to work together for the common good.

Such an opportunity is before us now if we fully support and promote the upcoming plans FOR Natchez seeks to create in a strategic development plan for downtown Natchez. Making that plan a reality could be a game changer for Natchez and our larger community.

Other similar projects that have been allowed to languish should be restarted for the quick, common good they could generate.

The long vacant Broadway Street depot, owned by the city, needs to be completed.

The levee project at the former Belwood County Club industrial site also must be completed this year as well.

These are good, simple to get moving projects.

Of great importance, however, is our need to regain our strong sense of community pride. At one time those in our community were proud of where we lived, who we were and where we were going.

That has been obscured in recent years. We have allowed loud, negative voices and sharp differences to dominate and drown out positive voices.

At one time Natchez had almost a swagger about it, and we need to regain that community confidence.

Hope for our community’s future is not lost, as some people might suggest. But it can only be found through determined and cooperative efforts.

We must dream and imagine what could be and not fret over what is no more.

If you love Natchez as I do, I hope you will ask yourself this question: What can I do to improve our community for the future?

Then, we need to work hard, together, to succeed. That will be a worthy pursuit in improving our community and our lives together.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or