Preservation committee tables request for murals in downtown historic district

Published 11:29 am Thursday, June 16, 2022

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Richard Branyan’s name.

NATCHEZ — Taylor Cooley must wait longer before learning if she will be allowed to have murals painted on the side and rear of her building on the northwest corner of Franklin and North Rankin streets.

The Natchez Preservation Commission tabled her request at its meeting Wednesday night at 5:15 p.m. at the Council Chambers.

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Taylor, a professional photographer, owns the building at 631 Franklin St., which she uses as an event space, as well as housing her photography business.

Frankie Legaux, who began work this month as the Natchez city planner, told the commission her office is working on guidelines for allowing murals in downtown Natchez, but those guidelines have not been presented to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen for approval.

Cooley, clearly losing patience with the process, said she has been waiting for more than a year and asked when the guidelines would be ready. Legaux was unable to provide her with an exact date.

Cooley then sought for the commission to make a decision Wednesday night on her application but was warned that if the board voted on her request and did not approve it, it would be a year before she could re-apply.

She also asked about what penalties would be if she went forward with her murals without commission approval. Legaux said fines could be civil and criminal, including fines up to $100 per day and misdemeanor arrest.

Preservation Commission member Mac Hazlip told Cooley it is unlikely the commission would approve her mural.

“It will be an uphill climb for this board to approve murals. It is going to be difficult to get murals approved downtown in the historic district,” Hazlip said.

Natchez resident Richard Branyan asked if the city has plans to enforce city codes on the unapproved murals that have been installed in the triangle area of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Legaux said violations of city regulations can be found all over the historic districts and plans are in the works to address each.

“I have a list and we are going to go down that list one by one,” she said.