Angels on The Bluff is back this November

Published 5:45 pm Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Natchez City Cemetery Association invites you to enjoy an entertaining and educational evening with a few of our most interesting “residents.”

On the evenings of Nov. 11, 12 and 13, we will share their stories at the popular tour, Angels on the Bluff.

After canceling the tour in 2020 due to COVID public health guidelines, we are very happy to announce our 21st production of this major fundraiser for our city cemetery, considered to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the South, is back!

Your evening begins at the Natchez Visitors’ Center, located at 640 S. Canal St., where you will board a bus at your reserved ticket time.

Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides will accompany you to your destination where they will share interesting facts about our historic cemetery as they lead you along candlelit avenues to each character’s presentation.

The music, drama and laughter that have defined Angels on the Bluff in the past will continue as local volunteers tell the stories of people who in various ways have contributed to the history, charm and folklore of the Miss-Lou area.

Seven very interesting and colorful characters will tell their stories and some of our most popular actors will be back to make our production as spectacular as ever. Those include:

4 Lodovigo Viccinelli: Born in Monte Pastore, Italy. He was one the Italian immigrants who moved to Natchez in 1906 and is the patriarch of a family that includes many well know Natchez families: the Baronis, Franks and Gonnillinis.

4 Dr. William A. McPheeters: A distinguished physician who married Laura Walsworth of The Burn and was married at The Burn on North Union Street. 

4 Robert Rawes: An Englishman, was one of a handful of great marble sculptors who lived in Natchez in the nineteenth century. Many of his customized works can be found throughout the city. Many of his descendants live in Natchez today.

4 Melchoir Stewart Beltzhoover: Educated in Europe, married his cousin Virginia Lee Koontz in Natchez. They lived in New York on the Hudson River, returned to Natchez in 1914, where he injected his fortune in the family’s Britton and Koontz Bank.

4 Robert Mackel Sr.: A prominent and successful African American businessman who enters the undertaking business in a building at the corner of Jefferson and North Rankin Street, which is still in business today at that location.

4 Mary Blythe Munnikhuizen: Born in Scotland in 1850, comes to Natchez at the age of 4. In 1870, she marries an Englishman, Charles Munnikhuizen, who came to Natchez with the Union Army. She was employed as a seamstress for Rufus Learned, a successful lumber merchant, and lived at Magnolia Vale. 

4 Dr. Neil Varnell: A clinical psychologist who was somewhat eccentric and very frugal during his lifetime and was devoted to Natchez. When he died, 15 Natchez non-profits and volunteer organizations were astonished he left them a fortune totaling $2.5 million. Although Neil is not buried here, the Natchez Cemetery Association has erected a plaque to honor his extreme generosity, which included the Natchez City Cemetery.

Tickets for this year’s production will be sold online beginning Aug. 1 at 7 a.m.

The link to purchase your tickets can be found on the following sites: natchez.ms.us/150/Cemetery, Facebook @natchez cemetery and visitnatchez.org.

Tickets sell fast, so get yours quickly. You don’t want to miss this year’s event!

For more information or questions, call the cemetery office at 601-445-5051.

Please leave a message and you will be contacted as soon as possible.

Catherine Ratcliffe is a member of the Natchez City Cemetery Association.