Time for spring cleaning at cemetery

Published 1:20 am Sunday, February 25, 2018

Few will disagree that the Natchez City Cemetery is one of the most serene and most beautiful places in this entire area.  This historic landmark is the final resting place for both famous and infamous individuals, but most importantly, hallowed grounds for beloved family and friends. These sprawling 100+ acres are also a photographer’s paradise with seasonal changes affording myriads of color throughout the year transforming this unique landscape into various works of art.

Christmas offered bright red poinsettias and other holiday decorations devotedly placed by loved ones. Then the surprising snows that blanketed our community miraculously turned the cemetery into a winter wonderland.  Photographers shared exquisite photos one of which captured the glistening snow-covered trees draped over The Avenue of Generals.  These spectacular visions invoked memories of Dr. Zhivago and Anna’s sleigh ride to the “Ice Palace,” and reinforced the notion that “once a romantic-always a romantic!”

The snow has long ago melted, and as hard as it is to believe, two months have passed since Christmas.  Those lovely poinsettias and holiday decorations are now looking bedraggled and are begging to be replaced.  In keeping with the cemetery’s regulations regarding the removal of seasonal flowers, etc. after 60 days, it is time for the responsible family member(s) to discard these items and place in the convenient receptacles.

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Hopefully this article will serve as a gentle reminder to comply with this rule!

Tourists will soon be arriving for Spring Pilgrimage to tour antebellum mansions, and a great number of these pilgrims will make their way to one of the most popular tourism destinations overlooking the Mighty Mississippi River.  Therefore, it is time to spruce up the family grave sites and plots by placing colorful spring flowers in appropriate containers.  Also, while out at the cemetery everyone should engage in an almost 200-year-old tradition of leisurely strolling through the grounds and stopping to relax and reflect at one of the Cistern Houses, thus walking in the footsteps of our ancestors.

The Natchez Cemetery Board, Director Mark Fortenbery and his crew all take great pride in maintaining the cemetery legacy dating back to 1822, but humbly admit that this immense task requires involving others who share in this selfless endeavor.  By joining the Band of Angels or Friends of the Cemetery, anyone can play a role in helping keep the Natchez City Cemetery everlastingly beautiful for future generations. More information can be obtained at the Natchez City Cemetery, P.O Box 1738, Natchez, MS 39121 or 601-445-5051.

“Show me your cemetery and I will tell you about your town.” — Benjamin Franklin
Gwen S. McCalip is a Natchez City Cemetery board member.