Historic Auburn shines bright during Historic Natchez Foundation’s annual meeting; draws perhaps largest crowd ever

Published 11:23 am Friday, January 13, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The stars aligned just right for the Historic Natchez Foundation’s annual meeting Thursday at historic Auburn in Duncan Park.

Well more than 200 people packed the city-owned antebellum home for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while honoring Natchez homeowners who have lovingly restored and brought new life to homes in the city’s historic district.

The Historic Natchez Foundation also recognized its new director nominees, its officers and continuing directors and retiring directors.

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“I think last night went really, really well,” said Carter Burns, Historic Natchez Foundation’s executive director. “It was possibly our best attended annual meeting ever.”

People packed nearly every room of the house and cars were parked on the grounds and filled every available spot anywhere near the home and then some.

The Historic Natchez Foundation is close to inking a deal with the city to lease Auburn and become its caretaker, taking over from the Friends of Auburn, who have cared for and managed the home for the last 50 years.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said he hopes the city’s Board of Aldermen will approve the lease agreement at its meeting on Tuesday.

“What an exciting time this is. This is a dream come true for me. Since I was a little kid, I’ve been in love with Auburn, just like I’ve been in love with Natchez,” Gibson said. “I can remember on those early, early trips, my mom would bring me to Auburn and I would just marvel at that staircase. It was so fun to welcome some tourists here recently and stand on the staircase as I did that. I have learned that the staircase is off limits to everyone except brides and mayors!”

Gibson asked for a round of applause for the Friends of Auburn.

“Without them and their 50 years of service, we would not be here tonight,” Gibson said.

Burns presented the George and Ethel Kelly Preservation Award to Marcy and Joseph Brown for their work at Oakland Plantations.

Special merit awards were presented to:

  • Ellen Macomber for 503 N. Pearl St.
  • Joan Gandy for 710 State St.
  • Jacqueline and Frank Bordeaux for Myrtle Bank.
  • Denise and Dan Thibodeaux for 212 Wensel Lane.
  • Kent Darsey for 413 Franklin St.
  • The Zerby Family for 307 High St.
  • William Clement for 311 N. Broadway.
  • Lisa and Kevin Walsh for 306 S. Union St.
  • Amber and Garret Rayborn for 613 Washington St.
  • Amanda Hudson for 108 N. Union St.

New directors for 2023 are Lansen Barrow, Chuck Caldwell, Robb Gray, Betty Jo Harris, Sarah Huston and Dora Hawkins.

Officers and continuing directors for 2023 are President Pat Biglane, President Elect Andy Sartin, Past President Mac Hazlip, Secretary Elise Rushing, Treasurer Scott Adams and Directors Philip Carby, Leah Davis, Sonny Gwin, Brooks Harrington, Devin Heath, L.D. Lang, Lynette Tanner and Katie Wilson.

Retiring directors David Bramlette, Tony DeAngelis, Neifa Hardy, Larry Holder, Brittney Patten and Cheryl Rinehart were recognized.

“We are so thankful to all of our members because they make it possible to do the work we do. We are looking forward to a great 2023,” Burns said.