I Saw the Sign; Ace of Base for Mayor
I went to Natchez Mississippi again for the second time in a year. The last time I went there, the city seemed deserted. I noticed how that city is like a mini New Orleans with houses and architecture that actually predate our own. Where are the people? Where and when did they go away? What caused the mass exodus of citizens from a bustling river port from the turn of the century? The city of Natchez is a truly beautiful town that has been stopped in some sort of time warp. It seems like such a waste that a town so pristine with hundreds of empty turn of the century store fronts would not have been rediscovered by hipsters or the Gay/Lesbian community and completely taken over. The real estate is rock bottom cheap.You can buy a home built in the 1870’s for a little over $100,000.
We talked to a few locals, both regular Joes and business owners and they said Natchez had been that way for as long as they can remember. It’s the kind of town that makes your financial eyes get huge. You start to think of how if you moved there you could start up new companies and change the town’s outlook and make it the bustling commercial monster it once was. That single idea made me think of New Orleans. I looked at Natchez the way I should have been looking at home. Both cities used to be economic engines and for some reason began to fall down a path that made the big money boys turn and walk away from it. The only difference is that Natchez is a blank slate. There would be no rebuilding required. Everything is there, you just have to move in and use it.
We all know what New Orleans is up against, so I don’t have to write about that. I stayed in Natchez for two days. Those two days were long enough. I realized I could not possibly live in a place with very little sense of culture. Maybe it was there but I didn’t see it. I’m not knocking Natchez, it is quiet and friendly and that may be how people there like it, but there was no activity to speak of. Could you imagine going down to the quarter and having only one car parked on every block? That is how it was there. It made me realize that we are city people and the only city I could think of living in is here. I’m already where I want to be.
Going back to my statement of wanting to go to Natchez and change it for the better, I had an empathetic moment. I know I make fun and attack all of the dirty hippies and the hipsters and the Dudley Do Right activists who come down here to make a life for themselves, but I came to the realization that those people feel about New Orleans how I felt about Natchez. We natives live here our entire lives and our view of the city may be slightly skewed. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to come in and give you their perspective. We fear change here, but I believe it is time to think way way out of the box and let someone else figure it out. The rest of the world is using Blue Ray discs and we are buying up all the cassette tapes if you know what I mean.
I say we let the modular homes and the land barons come in and see what they can do. It won’t take away from the truest aspect of the city that makes it what it is. The people are the ones that make it a home, not the architecture. This guy is building a giant double high rise on Jefferson Highway and along the river road. Bring it on. So maybe no one can afford to live there but at least it looks nice. He is taking an old battered area of Riverbend and changing it for the better. I think we need more of this. We need a lot more of this.
We’ll have to wait another three years until Nagin is out of office and people from Colorado can’t vote here anymore, but I think the City can be what it once was. We just have to stop being so goddamn stubborn and look to changing the future as a good thing and not a culture killer. We have to get politicians who do nothing out of office and give forward thinking people a chance. We have to make decisions about things that may make some people unhappy. Why is the city still covered in filth? Crank up the bulldozers and bring in the dumpsters. It is time to start the ball rolling. I’m sorry, but if you know you’re not coming back, let the people who still live here take care of business. We need to hold the government and the charitable organizations accountable for the money they spend and what they use it for. Politicians don’t want to make hard decisions because they need to be re-elected. They are responsible for where we are now. It’s been long enough, do something or step down.
Peace out suckas