NATCHEZ, Miss. (WJTV) – This is one of my favorite places in one of my favorite places, the Natchez City Cemetery.
This year, they’re expanding their “Angels on the Bluff” nighttime cemetery tour to two weekends. This is also a special anniversary for the cemetery.
“I’ve always loved the cemetery. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful sacred, historical place.”
Pokey Oberine has served on the board of the Natchez City Cemetery through some of the more active years for the cemetery. This being one of the more eventful because this is the 200th anniversary of the relocation of the cemetery from downtown to north of the city where it is today.
“The church, St. Mary’s Basilica, was being built. Originally, this entire block was the cemetery,” said Oberine.
In order to make room for the church, the cemetery was off to new digs. Over the two centuries since, the hundred acres set aside for the City Cemetery has become quite a little city all its own. But a little over 20 years ago, the cemetery also had a need for more funding. They came up with a great idea, a night-time cemetery tour. Then director Don Estes jumped in on digging up the best stories buried here.
He had access to finding all the graves. We found the crazy ones or the historic ones and things like that. I looked up the history of them and wrote the scripts,” said Bee Byrnes with the Natchez City Cemetery.
Over the years, thousands of Natchez neighbors have stood beside the headstones of people. Angels on the Bluff has been a great success. So great that this year, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the cemetery, it’s expanding to two weekends.
“It was chaos the first year. There wasn’t a lot of real fine organization,” said Annette Holder with Natchez City Cemetery.
“And the money that we raise from the tours goes to the preservation and maintenance of one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the South,” said Catherine Ratcliffe with Natchez City Cemetery.
As beautiful as Natchez City Cemetery is in the day light, wait until after dark the first two weekends in November. The place really comes alive at night.
Ticket information is available at the Natchez City Cemetery website.