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Consider Profile to be a scrapbook

Remember a time before practically everything was digitized? One of my favorite childhood memories was turning the pages of cheap, crusty photo albums, absorbing our family’s history.

You know the kind; they’re the ones with sticky page and a foldaway piece of clear cellophane on top. We’ve long since learned none of this was good for the photographs’ life expectancy, but it was the best we had at the time.

I remember turning page after page and seeing the history turn from black and white into color. Ladies’ hairstyles morphed from beehives to Farrah Fawcett feathered and everything in between.

Photography for most of us wasn’t like it is now, where at any fleeting glance we can reach into our pockets and retrieve a camera on our smart phone.

No, a few decades ago, it wouldn’t have been uncommon to potentially have two different year’s Christmas photos captured on a single roll of film.

My wife is dutifully trying to keep that tradition going in our family and my daughter loves every plastic page of it.

She has albums and scrapbooks of just about every moment of her relatively young life and she enjoys regularly perusing her own history.

It’s human nature to do so.

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve always enjoyed The Democrat’s annual Profile section — it’s truly like a community photo album and scrapbook all rolled into one.

Like any scrapbook, it’s not a complete picture of the community, but over time Profile has served to provide a measuring stick for the community.

My first involvement in Profile came in 1994 when I first joined the newspaper. Since then and accounting for a few years that other work took me out of Natchez, I’ve been involved with 21 Profile sections.

Much in Natchez has changed and evolved in that time. In 1994, Natchez had a substantial and diverse industrial base that would soon change as the U.S. economy and trade agreements affected the businesses.

But something that hasn’t changed is what’s at the very core of what makes Natchez, well Natchez.

Visitors may think of Natchez just a quaint, old town with a bunch of historic buildings.

But if you live here a little while — regardless of where you grew up — you’ll quickly see that Natchez’s immensely eclectic and egalitarian people are what make the place so incredibly unique.

Inside today’s edition you’ll find our Profile section for 2019. Our newsroom created the theme of “This is Our Story,” and it’s a good theme that fits Natchez well.

Inside the section you’ll find stories and photographs of our community’s best assets — our people.

As each of us turns the pages, it’s likely we’ll key on different articles, photographs or advertisements. That’s because Natchez’s history is common to all of us, but shaped by unique memories and connections.

I hope you enjoy this year’s Profile section. I know our staff worked hard to make it the best they could for our readers to enjoy.

Hopefully, you’ll find it a little like a family photo album and turn back to it from time to time to look at the photographs and read the articles, all while reminiscing about the community we all call home.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.

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