NPS Superintendent honored with Thad Cochran award

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 5, 2022

NATCHEZ — Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Bond received the Thad Cochran Humanities Achievement Award during the 2022 Natchez Literary Cinema Celebration last week.

NLCC founder Carolyn Vance Smith hosted a luncheon Friday in her honor.

First established in 2009, the award recognizes one who, like the long-time Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, has dedicated their efforts to the field of humanities in Mississippi and the surrounding region.

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Many at the luncheon shared fond memories and stories they have about Bond.

Each person there regarded her as not only a wonderful public speaker and historian, but as a close friend who would drop off soup to those who aren’t feeling well, paints beautiful portraits, and, according to Marsha Colson, “gives the best hugs.”

Chesney Doyle said Bond’s way with words is a hot topic in her house.

“She has this ability to summarize everything that has gone on into the perfect sentence that makes it all make sense,” Doyle said.
Mimi Miller, director emeritus of the Historic Natchez Foundation, said she could think of no one more deserving of the award than Bond.

She moved to Natchez in 1993 after accepting a museum job at Natchez National Historical Park with a Ph.D. in U.S. History. In 2005, she became the Acting Superintendent of Natchez National Historical Park and in 2006, and permanent Superintendent in 2006.
Miller said Bond, as her surname implies, forged bonds with “just about every organization and initiative in Natchez” that pertains to arts and the humanities.

Miller and Bond co-chaired the subcommittee of the Natchez Trails Project, which produced the downtown and St. Catherine Street trail markers.

Bond is highly involved in two major existing projects, Miller said, including NPS accepting the city’s donation of the Natchez Visitor Center, which would benefit from an investment of more than $9 million in deferred maintenance costs as well as new exhibits, film and signage.

Bond also is working to acquire land and plan the development of Forks of the Road, the latest addition to Natchez National Historical Park.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said Bond made the city’s donation of land at the Forks of the Road site easy for him as mayor, adding “I pretty much just had to say, ‘Yes. Where do I sign.'”

“One of the very first friends I made in Natchez was Kathleen,” he said. “It’s like hitting the lottery to become mayor and all of these people were already in place, people and mayors who’ve come before you, just to make all of this happen. And there’s Kathleen. … She has done so much.”