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Viewfinder: Natchez hospitable to man living on river

Natchez — Kelly Phillips, who has been traveling down the Mississippi River in his houseboat after being diagnosed with cancer three years ago, said he has had several Natchez residents check in on him and help him since he docked in Natchez a couple of weeks — ago.

“I’m currently in limbo,” Phillips said in regards to his boat and the conditions that have kept him anchored in Natchez.

The boat has several holes, Phillips said, and getting the boat out of the water for repairs could be a concern.

Phillips said he is taking in any plastic water bottles as a cheap way to make repairs and help keep him afloat.

“You can’t get better people than Mississippi people,” Phillips said. “A lot of people have come to help. It’s unbelievable how good the people are.”

Phillips said his next stop after Natchez would be St. Francisville, Louisiana. Phillips said he expects to be in Natchez for at least another week.

“I have met people here who live in places such as Baton Rouge or further south down the river,” Phillips said. “I just have to get out there and get to them.”

Phillips said he had anticipated being in Natchez only two weeks but after being in Vicksburg for only two weeks, he found he didn’t get to see all he wanted to see there.

“There’s a lot I want to see in Natchez, too,” Phillips said, “The cemetery, I’d like to spend a day up there.”

Other than taking his dog, Sapphire, Under-the-Hill for a bowl of water, Phillips said he hasn’t had a chance to see much of Natchez because he is always fixing his boat.

Regardless, Phillips said he is thankful for all that people in Natchez and on the Mississippi River have done to help him.

“You don’t get this in New Jersey,” Phillips said. “People there are nice but you don’t get the help you do here. All I can say is thanks. There are no words for how thankful I am.”

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