Saturday, November 20, 2010

" ANGELS ON THE BLUFF " Natchez 2010

Last weekend we went to Natchez to attend the famous Angels on The Bluff program held every November. This was the 11th year and I had tried and failed for 4 years to get tickets. The tickets go on sale August 1st and sell out the first few days. This year, I stuck a post it on the wall and called the first day !!! It is held in the magnificent Natchez City Cemetery. Local amateur actors portray famous people buried there and they were so good I sometimes forgot is was actors not the real person !!!! :)

The cemetery we were told contains 50,000 grave but only 15,000 markers. It had grown from the original 10 acres to well over 100.

I am a member of the Mississippi Southern Belle Bloggers. One of the other members is Christine Wright of Natchez. Christine has the blog Christine's Home and Travel Adventures
That's Christine with her beautiful smile holding her camera. Next to her is her good friend DebJani Som also displaying a beautiful smile. We all met at the visitors center to ride the school bus ( my kids called it the cheese wagon)to the cemetery.

Eric and I were all smiles about reliving our childhood experience! HA! That's Christine's hubby John sitting behind us. His hand that is~~~~~~~

First up was ~~ "The Empty Tomb"-- Alfred Bernard White was a popular baseball player for the Catholic High School in 1923. His untimely and tragic death is told by his father, Clay White, (portrayed by Sam Jones)After attending a game across the river in Ferriday,Louisiana, Bernard fell overboard from the ferry and his body was never found. He was an only child and his parents placed an empty tomb for him in their plot.

Mr. Jones kept us spellbound with his portrayal of a grieving father.

I shot this photo while walking~~~~ could those be spirit orbs all in this picture??

Madame Marguerite Justine Belhomme Marchand Benoist Mezeix " The Milliner of Natchez" You may have already seen her beautiful hats in the Henry Norman photographs but did you know this French lady and her husband were charged with secretly delivering letters to the Confederate authorities during the occupation of Natchez in 1863? She was portrayed by a family descendant. Her photo is at the top!! Sorry I deleted it during editing!

Reverend Ashley Vaughn came to Natchez in 1835 and edited the 1st Baptist newspaper. by 1836 he was the president of the Convention of the Baptist denomination of Mississippi. He went on to pastor the 1st Baptist Church of Natchez. the current pastor, Rev. Doug Broome did a wonderful job of portraying Rev. Vaughn!

After Rev. Broome finished, lights came on behind us and we turned around to see 13 year old Allison Forbes. She was wonderful with her rendition of Amazing Grace!! On a funny note, after the tour , John admitted to us that he had seen her standing in the dark shadows and thought she was a ghost but was not going to admit to seeing her!! :)
Next we have Ralph Jennings doing a dramatic portrayal of Samuel Henry Clay Owen. The prominent African American who was president of Natchez College for many years. The historic institution was supported originally African American Baptists of Mississippi and gained a fine reputation under Professor Owen's direction.

One of the many huge Live Oak trees located in the cemetery~~~~

As we walked along one of the drives we were startled by the presence of these "unknown" soldiers" standing beside the plot of the "unknown soldiers ". Later we were treated to a hearty laugh when DebJani said to Christine; " I thought they were going to speak" and Christine replied back; " they can't, they don't know who they are" !

This was really a chilling site in the dark~~~~~~~~~~~

My favorite~~~~~ ~~~~~ Mr. and Mrs. John Fleming" of The Towers in Natchez.

The Towers antebellum home on the left.

James Wesley Forde and Ginger Hyland, present owners of The Towers did an excellent job of entertaining us with the history of this supposed haunted house and it's original on The Towers

The Towers is now a B&B and is open for tours Jan-Oct...........

Both of them are veteran actors of The Natchez Little Theater~~~~~~~

What a ball we had listening to local Attorney Rusty Jenkins portray his great-great Uncle 1900s Attorney Charles Ferriday Byrnes! He was one of the most colorful characters in Natchez history. He and his wife, Roane Fleming Byrnes(from the Towers family) resided in the beautiful home Ravennaside and lavishly entertained Natchez society. One of the funny stories Rusty told about his uncle~~~~

Mr. Byrnes it seems was a man who LOVED to drink the hard stuff. His wife was often told by other ladies that he had "no manners" One day he was drunk and his wife took all his clothes ( except for his shoes and hat) and locked him in a room to sleep it off. He decided to don his hat and shoes and climb out the window! He walks down the street where he came upon a group of ladies on a front porch. He tipped his hat and said; Ladies ! A lady in the group reported in haste to his wife that he was down the street! The wife says it cannot be him, he has no clothes to which was replied; "I KNOW " ! Oh my gosh says the wife, what did he do? Tipped his hat and said; Ladies, to which the wife replied; and you always say he has No Manners!

The final portrayal was of the famous 1960s Jazz singer Marian Montgomery(1934-2002) born Maud Runnells in Natchez~~~~

We enjoyed some wonderful music as Diana Glaze sang some of Marian's songs and told about her life~~~~

As you can see~~~ we were having a really good time!

I'm not sure the why they had a bonfire at the end but the smoke made for a spooky picture of Eric, me, Christine and John !

After our bus ride back to pick up our cars, we headed down to Natchez Under The Hill on Silver Street on the banks of the Mississippi River. Here you see the Ilse of Capri Casino

Across the street from the casino is a wonderful place to eat~~ Magnolia Grill

The 5 of us enjoyed a fabulous meal before promising to do it again next year! They portray different people each year so can't wait to see who we meet next!!

Thank you all so much for the thoughts and prayers for my family! We hope that my step-mom will get to come home next week!! Have a great rest of the weekend!! XOX


NCmountainwoman said...

What a wonderful experience. I loved reading about it and seeing the photographs. I am totally fascinated by cemeteries. Your post was such a treat.

Thoughts are still with you and the family.

Rosaria Williams said...

Thanks for sharing this. Nowhere else is there such a love of the history of the place as the south has. Fascinating. Fodder for lots of writing.

Vicki Lane said...

Such an interesting event! Sounds like fun!

Marguerite said...

Loved this post! So fascinating and full of interesting history. And your dinner looks fab! Glad to see you're having fun, cher! Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Carol! Cheers!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Carol, I'm so glad that you all finally got to go.. I know you loved every single minute of it... Sounds so interesting... I have a 'thing' for cemeteries --so I enjoyed reading your post...

How's the new home in Townsend????

I'm still praying for your family.

xinex said...

Hi Carol! We enjoyed the event and enjoyed meeting you so much. Hope to do it again next year and I betcha, more MS Southern Belles will join us. Glad you remembered a lot of the stories, I couldn't, lol! I enjoyed reading this....Christine

NitWit1 said...

I loved the tour; as a photographer I love cemeteries. It is an interesting concept of history and entertainment.

Sounds like tickets are harder to get than Dallas Cowboy tickets, even though they don't seem to know how to play football this year.

But am really happy your Mom is better.

Hope you get tickets next year.

We have a locally well known cave with perfect acoustics for music. The Christmas program for the year is sold out in January.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

This was full of interesting information; thanks for the tour!

Reader Wil said...

What a great happening and such a wonderful idea to use those famous persons of the past to revive history!

Glynis Peters said...

Wow, what a wonderful event. Thanks for sharing. I loved the costumes!

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Now, this is the coolest thing I've ever heard. What a fun and interesting event that would surly bring 'life' to a cemetery.

The blast your havin' show through your smiles in the pics.

God bless and enjoy this Thanksgiving week!!! :o)

Anonymous said...

Ya'll look like ya'll had a great time...You and Christine look great...Great posts and photos...Thanjs for sharing...Have a great time in TN...Katherinellen

Unknown said...

What a fantastic way to bring people back to life; would love to see this same type program at the Old Colonial Cemetery in Savannah!

Callie Brady said...

Wonderful post! What a great time. Have a great Thanksgiving!

neora chana said...

I'm glad I ran across your blog; I was born in Natchez and my mother lived there the last 5 years before she died at a young age. You brought back some fond memories.

Carol............. said...

Oh, my! I love history and this is something I would have love to attend.

Eggs In My Pocket said...

What a fun filled time this looks to be!So glad you got to be a part of it all. blessings,Kathleen

Cindy Ellison said...

Just discovered your blog, really enjoyed your post on the cemetery. I can't wait to tell my husband about this event, we love to visit different cemeteries.

BTW, those do look like orbs in the photo, the one with only stones and no people.

Thank you for sharing.

Brenda said...

Fascinating, Carol! I love the south, history and old cemeteries, and you provided in all in this post. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful adventure.

Darla said...

OMG! What a fabulous experience! Thanks for sharing all the sights and sensations...

I popped over here from Vicki Lane's blog... saw on your profile that you listed "Fried Green Tomatoes" as one of your favorites movies... now I have to go pull it out and watch it for the tenth time! LOL