James McHenry Wade

Published 12:21 pm Monday, June 10, 2024

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May 21, 1965 – June 5, 2024

James McHenry Wade, 59, of Natchez, MS, passed away on June 5, 2024, after a brief illness. James was raised in Monroe, LA. He graduated from St. George’s School in Newport, RI, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in History from Louisiana Tech University. He earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science from Louisiana State University and a Master of Professional Studies Degree (Historic Preservation) from Tulane University. While living in New Orleans, James served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Landmarks Society with a focus on educational programs. Within the Landmarks Society, he also served on the House Committee, and Education Committee and chaired the Publications Committee. Following his move to Natchez, MS in 2014, he served as the Historic Property Host for The Pilgrimage Garden Club and was currently Curator of Longwood.

James took great joy in restoring the historic Casey Mallory Townhouse in downtown Natchez, where he lived with his partner Michael Simmons, and their extremely controlling cat Julia.

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In 2019, The Historic Natchez Foundation awarded James the George and Ethel Kelly Preservation Award for his work in restoring the Casey Mallory Townhouse.

James authored the book, The Pitot House: A Landmark on Bayou St. John and was currently writing a book about Longwood.

Everyone who knew James knew he was one of a kind. He was an Architectural Historian and a true preservationist, and when he did anything, he did it with passion and energy, using his creativity and intellect to become an expert in history, architecture, antiques, and politics to name a few. James could always add thoughtful perspective to any conversation and was always up for friendly debate. He loved interesting people (and managed to tolerate others), engaging conversation (and had no use for small talk), education, travel, art, literature, wine, decadent cuisine, elaborate parties at incredible homes, and his cat Julia. His friends, neighbors, and family will remember James for his intellect, quick wit, curiosity, and fierce loyalty to everyone and everything he loved.

James is survived by his partner Michael Simmons of Baton Rouge; his brother, Carlton Hunt Wade, and his wife, Jill Bartlett Wade of Austin, TX; nephew, William Hunt Wade, of Austin, TX and niece, Mary Bartlett Wade, of Austin, TX, along with many cousins and close friends across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

James is preceded in death by his parents, Mary McHenry Wade and James William Wade of Monroe, LA.

A celebration of James’ life will be held at a later date. The family would like to extend very special thanks to Michael for his enduring care and support during the last few years of James’ life. We are beyond thankful for you.

James is arriving at Longwood for dinner. He’s brought a bottle of Port.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.