Natchez will continue to benefit from Callon

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 12, 2019

Most of us were sad to hear the news about Callon Petroleum’s plan to move the remainder of its operations from Natchez to its headquarters in Houston.

It’s the end of an era, but eras are meant to end.

We hope Callon has a bright future, and regardless of where located, we are sure Natchez remains important to that company. It has too much Natchez blood at its core for otherwise.

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Natchez has been good to Callon Petroleum, and Callon Petroleum has certainly been good to Natchez. We trust that will continue.

John Callon, its founder, was as much a success story as anyone in Natchez’s history. He, along with his brother, Sim, built the company from nothing. John Callon rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange in April 1998 on the first day Callon stock was publicly traded.

Thanks in great part to the leadership of his late nephew — Sim’s son — Callon CEO Fred Callon, who took over as chairman of the board after John Callon retired in 2004, Callon Petroleum remained in Natchez at its impressive building at the corner of Canal and Franklin streets.

John and Betty Callon were the parents of five — three daughters and two sons. Sim and his wife, Vera, were the parents of two sons. The Callon children were raised in Natchez, but as children do, some have remained here and some have moved away to pursue their individual interests.

The Callons have meant much to so many in Natchez. The family is credited with having a large role in the revival of Mardi Gras here in the 1980s and were long-time supporters of and committed to the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou and the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society, as well as First Presbyterian and Trinity Episcopal churches. I am certain I am leaving out many others who benefited through the years from Callon generosity.

Many will remember John and Betty Callon for their work to preserve Melrose, one of the most beautiful and important antebellum houses in Natchez, today a part of the National Park Service.

Those of us who were graduates of the South Natchez–Adams High School Class of 1980 and classmates with Anna Callon Ayers, daughter of John and Betty Callon, no doubt recall what had to be the best graduation party in history, which was hosted for our entire class by the Callons at Melrose. It was legendary.

Callon’s headquarters are now in Houston, which is understandable considering that city’s role in the oil industry. Natchez knows well the ups and downs of the price of a barrel of oil. Surely it makes the most economic sense for all of its employees to be in Houston.

As Callon continues to grow and thrive, we can take pride in knowing our community is where it all began. My guess is Natchez will continue to benefit from its connection with Callon Petroleum for years to come.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Natchez Democrat. You may reach her at 601-445-3627 or