Natchez should court more artists

Published 12:21 am Friday, March 22, 2019

None of us should be surprised by the latest success of Natchez author Greg Iles.

Iles’ newly released novel, “Cemetery Road,” has soared to the No. 2 spot on several best seller lists, just a few weeks after the book first went on sale.

Congratulations to him on the quick success. In many ways, his success is Natchez’s success, too.

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Natchez earns much benefit from Iles’ success both in name recognition when he’s referenced as living here as well as fans who want to come see some of the locations that have inspired his works.

Iles lives here because he grew up here.

But his success should underscore the need for an increased focus on attracting people who work in the creative arts to live in Natchez.

Just like in industrial recruiting when it’s important to locate businesses here that make products that are sold elsewhere, thus bringing outside money into the community, the arts are the same way.

Iles has a strong local following, but his success depends on selling books all over the country — and the world.

Some of the best creative arts professionals are the same way.

Natchez has organically attracted an arts community over the past several years, but we need to focus on bringing more of these folks to town for a visit and invite them to stay.

Their diversity and light environmental impact help bolster our economy.