Inflation is up in Natchez — and that is good thing, thanks to new Christmas display

Published 7:33 am Sunday, December 19, 2021

Special to the Democrat

Driving down Martin Luther King Jr. Street, it’s hard not to notice the fun and festive inflatables sprinkled between the 200 and 400 blocks of the street. The display is a collaborative effort of The City of Natchez, Christmas in Natchez and BlackNatchez.org, a newly-formed nonprofit that focuses on the promotion and preservation of Black history and culture in southwest Mississippi.

From Dec. 18-Jan.1, the public is invited to walk or drive through the MLK Triangle area and enjoy Christmas with the Inflatables.

The outside exhibit features nearly 20 inflatables displayed by business and property owners in the area.

The effort is being spearheaded by the founder of BlackNatchez.org, Joseph Smith, a native of Natchez.

“The rest of the town looked so festive and I wanted to bring some Christmas swag to what has historically been the Black Business and Entertainment district here in Natchez, “ Smith said.

“We approached the city’s leaders and they were immediately on board. Mayor Dan (Gibson) pulled together a few stakeholders, we created a plan, and it’s been incredible to see how responsive and cooperative everyone has been,” expressed Smith.

To incentivize participation and offset energy costs to Triangle business owners, many of whom are still recovering from loss due to the pandemic, Triangle business owners will receive a $25 energy stipend as part of Christmas with the Inflatables

“I love this project. It’s exactly the kind of thing we need to move our entire community forward. I made a promise that MLK Street here in Natchez would be one of the most beautiful MLK Streets in the country. This is one small step in that direction. I want to encourage everyone to visit the Triangle and if you can, to donate to support this outstanding effort. We need money but we’ll take pre-owned inflatables in working condition as well,” said Gibson. “Donations can be made to Christmas In Natchez and designated for Christmas with the Inflatables.”

In addition to Christmas With the Inflatables, Smith says there are several other projects underway for the Triangle area.

“We’ve formed the MLK Business Collaborative which meets each month to discuss ways to move the Triangle area forward. This month we’re welcoming two new businesses- Loaded Flower CBD Health & Wellness and Soul Fusion Natchez. In 2022, we’ll be hosting First Saturdays — a monthly street market where small businesses can sell goods to locals. This week, we met with a local architect who is helping us reimagine the Triangle with trees and plants.” Smith said. “We’ll entertain any idea that comes with a plan for implementation.”

People are invited to follow the Black Natchez page on Facebook and visit BlackNatchez.org to learn more about the exciting events and activities happening in the Triangle area.

“We’re called BlackNatchez because we promote and preserve Black culture but all people are invited to our events and activities. In fact, our vision is to show the entire world how brilliant and fun Black people have always been,” said Smith.