Natchez book wins national award
NATCHEZ — An illustrated coffee table book created and published last year in Natchez and titled “Natchez Style” earned the Best Historical Non-Fiction Book award in the 2019 Indie Book Awards.
The awards were held in June during the American Library Association National Convention at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“Natchez Style” is the work of Natchez residents William Bradley, Regina Charboneau and Bridget Green and is illustrated with photographs by Manny Rodriguez. The book is published by Pilgrimage Press, which is an arm of the Pilgrimage Garden Club.
“It is very exciting and also very fulfilling,” Bradley said of the honor. “We put a lot of work into that book, and we are very proud of it, especially because Regina and Bridget and I did it ourselves. So we felt very gratified to be recognized for the product that we came up with.”
“Natchez Style,” described as a lavishly illustrated coffee table book, not only earned the award for Best Historical Non-Fiction Book of 2019 but also was a finalist for Best Coffee Table Book and Best Regional Non-Fiction Book.
The Indie Book Awards have been described as the “Sundance of the book publishing world.” Literary and publishing professionals judge nominees, and awards are presented to independently published books in many different subject categories.
The awards judges commented: “A visual feast! This outstanding coffee table book features sumptuous photography, by Manny Rodriguez, alongside concise, descriptive text frequently punctuated with menus. The final few dozen pages provide recipes of the menu items featured throughout. A book as enjoyable to read as it will be to prominently display.”
Bradley said “Natchez Style” was created to fill a need in the community.
“There is an ongoing need for an updated coffee table book in Natchez,” Bradley said. “There had been some done in the past in Natchez. I think the last one was close to 20 years ago so the information has changed and the houses don’t look the same. It sort of brings it into the present.”
Bradley said the format of “Natchez Style” was an effort to update traditional cookbooks published by garden clubs.
“We wanted to bring that old-fashioned idea of the garden club cookbook into a more modern interpretation and incorporate it with the photography and talk about the owners of the houses as well as the architecture and the history,” Bradley said.
“‘Natchez Style’ was written to showcase the 27 historic tour homes of the Pilgrimage Garden Club, including the Club’s two museum houses, Longwood and Stanton Hall, press materials state. “Intriguing architectural and social histories of each house were written by William Bradley and are illustrated with exquisite photography.
“A chapter on the history of the Natchez Pilgrimage tells the story of what is believed to be the nation’s oldest continuous program of historic home tours. Menus curated by Natchez chef Regina Charboneau reflect the individual character of each home. Bridget Green was coordinator and producer of the project.
“Bradley says, ‘over the decades many books about Natchez have been published, but we knew it was time for a new look at these fascinating and special places, with sensitive new photography, and a discussion of the unique way that Natchez has shared its heritage with the world through the Pilgrimages.’”
All proceeds from the sale of “Natchez Style” are dedicated to the continuing maintenance and preservation of Stanton Hall and Longwood. The book is available at the gift shops of Stanton Hall and Longwood, and online at www.natchez.style.
“We hope everybody in Natchez gets a copy and gives it to all their friends for Christmas.”