The Viewfinder: School crossing guard enjoys keeping people safe on roads

Published 12:05 am Thursday, January 17, 2019


NATCHEZ — For Johnny Ray Burr being a crossing guard is more than just a job.

“It’s really a present for me to be able to do this,” Burr said.

Email newsletter signup

At a82 years old, Burr has spent 25 years of his life directing traffic outside of local schools for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon five days a week, he said.

For his 24th year, Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell presented a plaque to Burr in appreciation of Burr’s dedication to his work.

Burr is currently employed by the Natchez Police Department and can be seen during his shifts working on Martin Luther King Jr. Street in front of Cathedral Elementary School.

“I lost my wife four years ago,” Burr said. “I’m by myself. I like to get out of the house. This gets me around people and that makes me happy.”

Burr said he and his wife, Carrie, were together for 54 years before she died.

Burr said he enjoys going for walks through a few of the parks in town and along St. Catherine Street to pass time when he is not directing traffic.

Burr said he is also involved with his church, Zion Baptist Church.

While most people are caught up in the busyness of their day and getting from place to place Burr said he relishes the time he spends directing traffic and seeing familiar faces in the cars driving through.

“I love doing it,” Burr said. “You get a few rowdy ones, but I don’t pay attention to that. I’m making sure everybody gets out of here safe every day.”