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Pilgrimage is changing in a good way

In what tourism leaders described as a changing of the guard, Natchez Spring Pilgrimage will have some notable differences this year.

In particular, two longtime tour house owners will step away from the spotlight due to retirement.

While we understand and appreciate their reasons, the two women who have decided no longer to participate will be sorely missed.

Like the river that defines us, however, Spring Pilgrimage will continue to just keep rolling along. In fact two new, and younger, house owners will step into their roles putting their own historic houses on tour.

Natchez is at a bit of a crossroads, however, in deciding the best route to bring more visitors to our historic community.

As one of the retiring house owners noted, years ago, she sometimes welcomed as many as 800 people per day into her historic house during pilgrimage, more recently she might be lucky to get 200 visitors per day. That means — at least from her anecdotal observation — Pilgrimage participation has dropped precipitously.

Some house owners have, in recent years, tried to re-think how they present history — both in form and function — during house tours. That’s a good step.

Other steps may be necessary to keep tourism a vibrant part of our community’s economy for years to come.

And like the river, we are certain Natchez’s tourism economy will keep rolling along; but some course adjustments may be necessary.

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