If you grew up on a state border, specifically the Mississippi-Louisiana state border, then you know how conflicting it can be describing your hometown. Are you from Mississippi or Louisiana? Both. Dual in-state tuition? Yes please.
There is no where quite like the Miss-Lou community. Running along the Mighty Mississippi and home to delicious food and rich history, claiming it as your home is a gift. So, if you're one of the 601/318 gang, here are some things you know too well to be true:
1. About a million antebellum homes
Okay, so maybe not quite a million, but there are a ton of antebellum homes for a city our size. Nonetheless, they can be pretty cool to look at for the first time, but seven times later, not so much.
2. Spring Pilgrimage
At least two of your friends were always involved in Spring Pilgrimage. Countless nights of maypole practice intervened with homework dates or movie nights. Points to you if you went and watched it growing up.
There are always at least one or two tourists downtown, and you always wonder what led them to Natchez of all places.
4. The cemetery
Huge and easily confusing, everyone goes to the city cemetery at least once. The roads are narrow and by the end, your patience is narrower. While it's cool to drive through and look at everything, running it can be a new form of death.
5. The walk-in tomb
Speaking of the cemetery, you haven't been if you didn't stop by the little girl's tomb and walk down the stairs to be next to her. I guess it's a good thing they cemented the window because seeing her would be a thing for nightmares in middle school.
6. Angels on the Bluff
A celebrated October tradition (mostly for grown-ups), the Angels on the Bluff reincarnation is pretty cool to go to if you've never experienced it first hand. But tickets sell out as soon as they are on sale, so you've gotta be quicker than that.
7. Balloon Races
The Great Mississippi River Balloon Races, a.k.a. the best time of the year. So much hype goes into it that it almost lives up to it. It's fun regardless, but the best part is the food, the t-shirts, and the street party after hours.
8. Friday night football
Nothing beats those Friday nights under the lights, especially with cross-town rivals. The Miss-Lou celebrates football like it's a holiday, and every Friday night is a new beginning.
9. Cross-town rivals
At least one of your friends went to a different school than you, and you have a 99.5% chance of knowing someone from each school. With so many choices in the area, it wasn't anything new to be switching schools during the 13 years of your education.
10. La-Fi or Potro's?
At least once a week you visited the local Mexican restaurants. You went so much that they knew your face/order/favorite spot as soon as you walked in. The only difference was whether you were south of town and went to La Fiesta or were in the northern part and went to El Potro's.
11. Roux 61, Johnnie Mae's, and any restaurant downtown
Other hot spot locations for a nicer after school meal, or the prom dinner spot, most of these places cost you a good dime but fed you for days. Everyone has their favorites at the "high class" spots.
12. The mall/movie theater
The sad existence of a mall means that you go there, not for shopping, but out of boredom or for work. You walk around the mall with your friends, try on random stuff at the shops, and ultimately buy a drink and some popcorn from Mackenzie's. Not to mention how awful the movie theater is. You only go for dates or if you REALLY want to see something and can't go out of town.
13. Constant trips to BR.
Whether it is for a prom dress or just shopping in general, going to the movies or just doing something fun, you're always making trips to Baton Rouge. BR becomes a second home to you, and you just embrace the hour and a half drive you have to make for Target and Movie Tavern. Any excuse to get out of Natchez, you take it.
14. College football games
Whether you are an Ole Miss or LSU fan, you've been to at least one of each. Gameday trips to Death Valley are a no brainer, even if traffic is horrendous post-win.
15. Lake days
At least one of your friends lives at the lake or has a lake house, so you spend the majority of your weekends, summer, and after school days laid out on the pier soaking up the rays. Not to mention the lake parties every Friday and Saturday night, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Senior Skip Days, etc. Drowning out your sorrows and work weeks with Natty Light and Jack Daniels feels so much better on a boat or pier.
16. Field parties
At least one field party a year and some wild stories to follow them. Anything from prom after parties to birthday parties, something is always happening in the fields.
17. JoJo's and Dodge's
Going to or coming from the lake requires a dutiful stop to Dodge's for chicken and JoJo's for alcohol.
18. Fat Mama's
There's nothing quite like Fat Mama's. The best margaritas and tamales you can get this side of the border, Fat Mama's brings the food and brightness back into our lives. Or maybe that's the margaritas.
The best Fudge in the nation, literally. While you feel as if you might break everything walking into the store, there's nothing quite like the free samples and chunks of delicious fudge boxed for your midnight enjoyment. A must gift for college roomies and out of town friends.
20. The Christmas tree
Everyone in Natchez knows how annoying it can be to have that HUGE tree in the middle of the road. But, you look forward to it every year and you know it's not actually Christmas until the tree lighting ceremony.
21. Relay for life
One of the biggest Relay's in the country, the Miss-Lou comes together to end the fight for cancer. It's a night where you get a little bit of freedom, you can dance and have fun playing games, and it is all for a good cause. Growing up, it's a night you get to spend with your friends and a night you don't want to miss.
22. Smoot's Grocery, Bowie's, The Corner Bar, etc.
All the bars are pretty chill. Being the home of Bishop Gunn means you get talented local artists playing on the weekends. Good music, good food, and good beer. What more could you ask for?
23. Greg Iles
Everyone knows the famous Greg Iles and owns their own personal, signed library of each book. If your parents didn't anxiously wait for the next book, are you even from the area?
24. The bluff
The bluff, the best running spot, the prettiest view of the river, etc. The list goes on but the feelings don't change. One of the best spots in the town to clear your head, enjoy the view, and just relax for a while.
25. The casinos
Being able to go eat at the casinos is one thing, but playing in them is totally different. Known for a lot of things, you've been inside the boat at least once (r.i.p.) for after church lunch and you felt so grown up doing so. Now that they are a little more sophisticated, you still feel like the grown-up, just with less cash on hand.
26. Mardi Gras
One of the biggest events of the year, Mardi Gras is its own breed. Being selected for one of the Krewe's is an honor, and partying it up for weeks is even better. The Call Out Ball, the Parade, the whole shebang. Nothing beats Mardi Gras in our area, except maybe in Baton Rouge or New Orleans.
27. Lottery tickets
If you don't buy a ticket when you are across the bridge, are you even trying to get rich quick? The presence of lottery tickets boosts the traffic across the river. Why not stop by and get 10? Test your luck.
28. C&M crawfish
Crawfish so good you won't want to stop, but the price might. However, it is the best five-pound crawfish, potatoes, and corn you can get around here, so why not splurge a little. Your taste buds will thank you, maybe later though.
Home of the truck club, the meet up spot, the hangout, the drop off, etc. When there is no where else to go, this is always the hotspot. There is almost always something going down in tracetown.
30. Taco bell
Another hot spot at night, one of the only places that stays open late, has okay food, and doesn’t care how loud you are. The post-game meet up spot where everyone chowed down their meal and decided what the next plans were gonna be for the night.