THE DART: Scarborough welcomes tourists, newcomers
Published 10:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2021
NATCHEZ — Jan Scarborough looked up from her desk, saying “How may I help you?” as the tourists walked through the door at the Natchez Visitor Center, close to where The Dart landed Thursday.
In one minute, she was asked questions about bus routes, tour lengths and the best way to see some homes during a road trip to Florida.
Scarborough said each day she never knows who will come through the doors and what she will be asked. A native of Raymond, she moved to Natchez from Jackson 31 years ago. Her now ex-husband graduated dental school and opened a practice in Natchez so she moved with him. She has worked at the visitor center for the last eight years.
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“A lot of times we have people who come in and know what they want to do. They know which homes they want to see and we help them with tickets and maps,” Scarborough said. “Others come in who have never heard of Natchez and do not know what to do. We try to help them and hopefully they will stay the night and leave with a good impression of the city. I could always tell the couples where the wife was a school teacher because they had organized notebooks with tabs for what they wanted to see.”
Working with tourists
After her divorce, she wanted to find something to get out of the house and stay busy. A job at the visitor center offered her that chance. Additionally, she is able to use her history major, which she earned from Mississippi State University.
People come in and ask some bizarre questions. The most common one is when people ask her about antebellum homes and then ask what does antebellum mean. She enjoys her job, she said.
“I enjoy the people I work with and the people who come in,” Scarborough said. “99.9 percent of the people who come in are awesome and wonderful people.”
Staying in Natchez
Natchez is a friendly town and it is why she first stayed here, she said. Her daughter Virginia Scarborough Rogillio still lives in Natchez with her husband. Family and friends are why she hasn’t left yet.
“Natchez is not too big, but it is big enough,” she said. “If you need anything you can usually find it or you can find someone who can help you. I have friends down here who are like family.”
When she is not at work she typically spends time with her daughter or her son in law. She said she lives a pretty quiet life filled with her family and her dog named Sweetie, which she rescued.
“I had a bichon frise which passed away after 13 years. I didn’t think I would get another dog,” Scarborough said. “My daughter and I went to the humane society and I looked at a small dog which was barking a lot. My daughter kept saying ‘mom, mom you got to see this dog.’ When I finally looked I found the one I fell in love with. I don’t know if she saved me or if I saved her.”