Regarded as the birthplace of Mississippi & the oldest permanent European settlement along the Mississippi River. Natchez has more antebellum houses than any other place in the United States; however, like so much of Mississippi, it has a Modern story which it
embraces as much as it does its past. Natchez describes itself as "where the river runs wide and the history runs deep."
We discovered that the stories of those that dare to differ here runs deep into its history, across its present & assuredly into its future. From the Modern characters of the past such as Nellie Jackson to the Modern characters of today such as Dub Rogers, each one uniquely moves this multi-dimensional part of the state forward in their own way...
Nominated as a Modern Mississippi site, Max the Modern Machine, and his story collectors went to discover the Modern stories of this complex city.
Thank you all for your inspiring stories!
A special thank you to Kelin Hendricks from Visit Natchez 300, Natchez’s Modern Ambassador, for hosting us and connecting us with some of the great folks of Natchez.
We look forward to our next visit!
These are the stories we experienced while visiting this community. To find more stories about places and people from the area, explore the map.
Mark Brockway is a manager at The Castle Restaurant & Pub at Dunleith Historic Inn in Natchez, MS, but he is also a photographer and filmmaker who has found in Mississippi an incubator for his creative projects and a place where he can truly be himself.
Lee Sturdivant Carby is the owner of Satya Yoga Wellness Center in Natchez, Mississippi. By allowing her students to let go of comparisons and self-judgment she encourages them to discover that the world is full of possibilities within their own practice and within their daily lives. She has developed a partnership with Natchez Brewing Company to offer Balance and Brews, a yoga-meets-happy-hour program that injects playfully fuses mindfulness with craft beer.
Husband and wife team Patrick and Lisa Miller operate this small-batch micro brewery in Natchez, Mississippi. Patrick, a Mississippi native, brought his English better-half to the Deep South to make their own mark in the state's burgeoning craft brewing landscape. At the insistence of the mayor himself, they located their brewery in Natchez' historic downtown, and have become fixtures of the local scene.
"When I moved away I never thought I’d come back, but I did. And I think that’s happened more with the younger generation. They’re leaving, they’re coming back, and they’re bringing things from other parts of the country – and the appetite to have those things – to Mississippi." - Patrick
Jean-Luc Charboneau and his family are owners and proprietors of Charbneau Distillery and Kings Tavern in Natchez, Mississippi. The businesses are a result of long-held dreams of craftsmanship and a respect for cultural preservation and place-making.
"We’re all about supporting local and supporting made in Mississippi - always focusing on the little guy, because we are the little guy. And we have to work together to take on the big guy." - Jean-Luc
Rene Adams, Natchez, MS lifer, has worked in the Mississippi tourism industry since she was 22 years old. Having seen the changing times and the changing tourist, she created Tourology, which puts her own spin on the quintessential Mississippi experiences like the river and the blues.
"We’re taking this wonderful product of Mississippi and we’re putting an innovative, modern twist to it … where everything is where you can reach it, touch it, feel it." - Rene
Originally started by Scott O Galbreath Jr. decades ago, Old South Winery was one of the first of its kind in Mississippi. Now, it's a multi-generational family business using Mississippi muscadines to create a home-grown favorite. Even the decor is different, part Deep South hunting camp (complete with taxidermied trophy buck), part cutting-edge stainless steel.
"We have communion in here all day long," says Diane Galbreath. "I think about God all the time. Because Jesus didn’t say you just sit in church to have communion; He just said every time you do this you think about me."
Darrell White is Director of the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture.
"What you're usually told is that there was slavery and then there was Martin Luther King, with a tremendous gap of years in between where information is not readily available. We here at the museum try to pinpoint and expose many of those untold stories." - Darrell White
Jeremy Houston of Natchez, MS is a community organizer, musician, and activist. One his projects is the Wharlest Jackson Community Garden, named for slain Civil Rights veteran Wharlest Jackson. The garden educates and feeds members of the traditionally African American neighborhood in which it sits. All of Houston's work focuses on a more complete and authentic telling of the collective history of Natchez.
Jenna Aldridge is a Mississippi native and Natchez resident. The company she co-owns, Magnolia Locations, represents properties in the area and makes them available to film crews and studios who want to shoot in Mississippi's unique settings. From swamps to antebellum homes to the majestic Mississippi, Aldridge works to get Mississippi places onto the big screen.
"We embrace diversity here. We embrace everything that’s different. Natchez is vital. There’s something going on. There’s this energy, and I think it’s just a jewel." - Jenna
Henry McKnight AKA Big Hen
Big Hen is a rapper and producer from Natchez, Mississippi. He strives to be part of the evolution and propagation of Mississippi hip hop, incorporating Mississippi sounds and flavor into all he does.
“We all about creating. We’re like a big pot of gumbo. We mix things in. We’re not afraid to try new things. We don’t have too much to work with but we make a lot with what we have.” – Big Hen
Dub Rogers is a timeless character, an explorer who would be just as much at home in ancient Rome or Victorian England as he is in modern-day Natchez, where he owns two visionary cultural establishments: Steampunk Coffee Roasters - an altar to inspiring espresso, and Smoot's Grocery - a music venue that provides a necessary haven for music from Mississippi and beyond.
"My fantasy was to go back to Natchez and find a small dilapidated building and to restore it and hang my shingle and to be the kind of shopkeeper you’d find in your travels in a little hidden away place." - Dub
baker/chef, Christopher Streetman, takes Southern food and gives it a twist. He’s extremely passionate about being able to trace your food’s story and strives to bring that to Natchez. From his PB&J Pork Hot Dog to Texas Caviar, Christopher always brings something surprising to the menu.
“We’re trying to find local places, local farmers, and local ingredients that we can harvest from here and bring them to Natchez and really get back to that Ground Zero feeling of ‘I know where this came from; this is what that is; I can put my hands on it and
taste it.’ It’s really sad whenever you think about it that we’ve gotten so removed from the process of where our food comes from.” -Christopher
Silver Lining Software
Ed Songy programs whatever the city of Natchez needs for no cost. At the age of 88, he continues to give back to his city to further Natchez’s progress. Along with Kelin Hendricks, Ed wrote software that brought together disparate groups to work towards a common goal.
“It’s evolved to a system where a willingness to say ‘we want to give back to our community’ has turned into something—it’s not only good software, but it’s right on the edge of technology. Look at the rewards of being creative.”-Ed
The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez, Mississippi was the main ceremonial center in the seventeenth century. Lance Harris works at the Grand Village as Site Director and strives to bring awareness to the history of the site and the Natchez Indians.
One day Adam Elliot had a friend drop him off in Minnesota to kayak the entire length of the Mississippi River. Now, he owns a small river guiding service, a subsect of Quapaw Canoe Company, based in Natchez, Mississippi.
“Mississippi has a lot to offer; you just have to work a little harder to find it. And that’s actually a good thing, you know. It’s not just laid out there in a clear path at your feet. You do have to get out there and drive a little bit and get lost possibly.”-Adam
Jarita Frazier-King is certified in the medical field and advocates for health and wellness in Natchez, Mississippi. While she works a more conventional job as a nurse, Jarita also owns Vixen’s Corner, an adult shop, which she uses to promote body positivity and confidence in women.
“I’m a dreamer, you know. I think that if you have dreams, then you should be to have those things come true right here in Natchez, Mississippi. There’s no reason as to why we can’t have our dreams come true right here.”-Jarita