Weekend Ticket: Visit the past in two unique ways Saturday

Published 12:15 am Thursday, May 30, 2019


NATCHEZ — Local history buffs will have two opportunities to pay homage to the unique and diverse cultures that played a role in shaping Southwest Mississippi.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the Natchez National Historical Park will present a free living history program at the Fort Rosalie site on Canal Street.

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Living historians will show and tell engaging stories about the history of the former French Fort overlooking the Mississippi River, a news release from the Natchez National Park Service said.

The program will present stories about the people who lived on the site and the native people who lived nearby, the news release said.

Historians on site will dress as French, Spanish, British and American soldiers.

Natchez National Park Service ranger David Slay will also offer ranger talks on the fortifications and the uniforms of the 18th century.

Visitors can park at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center at 640 S. Canal St. or park along the bluff downtown and walk to the Fort Rosalie site.

New exhibits — with text in both French and English — have also been installed at the site.

In the event of rain, the event will be rescheduled.

Ten miles west of Woodville, another piece of Southwest Mississippi history will be celebrated.

A small museum that preserves artifacts from one of the first black-owned businesses in Wilkinson County will host its third-annual celebration Saturday.

The Arbuthnot Grocery Store Museum on Pinckneyville Road will celebrate with food, entertainment, speakers and tours of the museum, owner Jacqueline Arbuthnot said.

Saturday’s event begins at 2 p.m. and will go into the evening.

Speakers will include District 96, Rep. Angela. This year’s theme will be “Bridging the Gap,” Arbuthnot said.

YZ and Theodis Ealey will be on hand to make a donation to the museum.

This year’s celebration will be dedicated to Arbuthnot’s brother minister Darryl Wayne Neal, who died in January.

The event is a fundraiser to help defray the cost of restoring the historic grocery, Arbuthnot said.

Arbuthnot’s grandparents Willie and Estelle opened the small grocery in the summer of 1955. The only gas station within 10 miles, the store was a pit stop for those on their way to work at the Louisiana State Penitentiary and other businesses.

The store closed in 1998 and fell into the hands of Jaqueline Arbuthnot, who Willie and Estelle adopted as their daughter.

Jacqueline Arbuthnot lives in Georgia but has continued to work to restore the small museum and got the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 2016.

Arbuthnot said she continues to accept donations to the museum, including artifacts, memorabilia or monetary gifts. The grocery is a non-profit 501(c)(3), Arbuthnot said.

Those interested in donating artifacts or monetary gifts can email Arbuthnot at jfa0113@gmail.com.

The address of the Arbuthnot Grocery museum is 8990 Pinckneyville Road.