Natchez has lost two of the greats

Published 6:31 pm Thursday, March 11, 2021

Natchez has lost at least two good people who contributed immensely to the community this week in the deaths of Kathie Blankenstein and Dr. Robert Barnes.

It was not uncommon for either of these people to go out of their way to help someone in need

Nancy Hungerford said the first time she laid eyes on Blankenstein while Blankenstein was mopping the floor of the Natchez Children’s Home, or the Natchez Protestant Home as it was called back in the 1970s when Blankenstein was a board member.

Beyond her contributions to the children of Natchez, Blankenstein was also a preservationist and was president of the Historic Natchez Foundation in 1996. She was among those responsible for saving the historic Prentiss Club at the corner of Jefferson and Pearl Streets when a new buyer wanted to gut the building to make way for a drive-thru bank.

Dr. Barnes, who has lived in Covington for the last ten years of his life, is well-remembered for his 60 years as a physician the Natchez community.

Mary Eidt said she remembers Dr. Barnes making house calls for her husband when he had the flu.

Friends of Barnes said he was also a world traveler who valued his own education as well as his family’s.

Both Dr. Barnes and Blankenstein were memorable servants to this community who will be dearly missed by all who knew them.