The Dart: Gray came for a job, found a home in Natchez

Published 10:34 am Monday, March 14, 2022

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NATCHEZ — MaKenzie Gray and her coworkers at the Silas Simmons building were eating lunch close to where The Dart landed Friday afternoon. Gray has worked in Natchez for three years and is a native of Belmont, which is in north Mississippi. 

Gray said it is a big difference coming to Natchez from North Mississippi. Belmont is a town of 2,021 people and is located on Highway 25 near the Alabama border and Tupelo. 

“I came to Natchez on a visit. I had never been here before and I came for a job interview,” Gray said. “I like it here. The people are friendly and there is a lot of history here. I just go where life takes me.” 

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Gray earned a degree in accounting at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus and her masters degree at Mississippi State University. She said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life but chose to study accounting and taxation. Now, she works as a tax accountant. 

“It is a fun puzzle and I enjoy helping people and getting the numbers straight for everyone,” Gray said. “It gets hectic right now. We are working all the days of the week.” 

A lifelong Mississippi State fan, Gray grew up going to football games. She bought her first house this summer and her dad and brother were helping renovate it during the College World Series. 

They watched Mississippi State win the National Championship in their apartment. She said she felt relief when third baseman Kamren James fielded a bunt hit by Vanderbilt and threw across the diamond to Luke Hancock to record the final out. 

Her favorite memory of her time at Mississippi State as a graduate student came in 2019. The Diamond Dawgs hosted Stanford in the super regional when they came to the plate in the top of the ninth. Bulldog senior Jake Mangum singled on a base hit which brought Elijah MacNamee to the plate. 

“My brother said ‘watch him hit a home run right here,’” Gray said. “Next pitch there it went. I enjoyed it, it was a great moment.” 

In her time off from work, she goes to the gym or for walks. She likes to hike when she can or watch TV. There are too many TV shows for her to pick a favorite one, she said. 

Her brother now lives in Jackson so she has some family close by. She said she misses home and being close to her family as a lot of her cousins are like siblings. 

Natchez’s cuisine is a lot better than back home, she said. The Camp is her favorite restaurant, although she said it was hard to pick just one favorite.