GALLERY: Annual Miss-Lou Memorial Day Parade-goers march across Mississippi River Bridge

Published 12:58 pm Monday, May 27, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Hundreds of Miss-Lou residents on Monday marched across the Mississippi River Bridge from Vidalia, Louisiana, to Natchez, continuing a 157-year-old Memorial Day tradition.

The marchers crossed the eastbound bridge, honoring those who fought for freedom for all.

After stopping for a break to refresh in the parking lot of the now-closed Visitors Center at the foot of the bridge, many marchers continued on to the Natchez National Cemetery, where a ceremony was held at 11 a.m.

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The Memorial Day parade crossing of the Mississippi is said to have begun in 1867 when residents celebrated Memorial Day by crossing the Mississippi River by ferry and walking to the top of Silver Street and then on to the national cemetery.

After the first Mississippi River Bridge was built in the 1940s, which today serves as the westbound bridge across the river, marchers walked across the bridge to the cemetery.

This year’s Louisiana Grand Marshal was the Rev. Louis Banks, pastor of Union Baptist Church of Vidalia. Mississippi Grand Marshal was Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten.

Special guests this year included a church group from Chicago and filmmaker James Theres, who produced and directed the film, “The 30th of May,” tells the story of an African American Memorial Day tradition in the Deep South that dates back to the Civil War, said Laura Ann Jackson, who chairs this year’s parade committee.

“The event is an important part of Natchez and Vidalia history,” she said. “It’s part of our heritage. It’s our way of honoring our military service members, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.”