|City of Natchez|
The Bluff City, The Trace City, The River City, Antebellum Capital of the World, Historic Natchez on the Mississippi
"On the Mighty Mississippi"
Location of Natchez in Adams County
|Founded||1716 as Fort Rosalie, renamed by 1730|
Louisiana (New France)
|Established||c. 1790 as the capital of the Natchez District|
Spanish West Florida
|o Total||16.41 sq mi (42.49 km2)|
|o Land||15.81 sq mi (40.96 km2)|
|o Water||0.59 sq mi (1.53 km2)|
|Elevation||217 ft (66 m)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||924.12/sq mi (356.80/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (CST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0691586|
Natchez is the county seat and only city of Adams County, Mississippi, United States. Natchez has a total population of 15,792 (as of the 2010 census). Located on the Mississippi River across from Vidalia in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, Natchez was a prominent city in the antebellum years, a center of cotton planters and Mississippi River trade.
Natchez is some 90 miles (140 km) southwest of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, which is located near the center of the state. It is approximately 85 miles (137 km) north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, located on the lower Mississippi River. Natchez is the 25th-largest city in the state. The city was named for the Natchez tribe of Native Americans, who with their ancestors, inhabited much of the area from the 8th century AD through the French colonial period.
Established by French colonists in 1716, Natchez is one of the oldest and most important European settlements in the lower Mississippi River Valley. After the French lost the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), they ceded Natchez and near territory to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris of 1763. (It later traded other territory east of the Mississippi River with Great Britain, which expanded what it called West Florida).
After the United States acquired this area from the British after the American Revolutionary War, the city served as the capital of the Mississippi Territory and then of the state of Mississippi. It predates Jackson by more than a century; the latter replaced Natchez as the capital in 1822, as it was more centrally located in the developing state. The strategic location of Natchez, on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, ensured that it would be a pivotal center of trade, commerce, and the interchange of ethnic Native American, European, and African cultures in the region; it held this position for two centuries after its founding.
In U.S. history, Natchez is recognized particularly for its role in the development of the Old Southwest during the first half of the 19th century. It was the southern terminus of the historic Natchez Trace, with the northern terminus being Nashville, Tennessee. After unloading their cargoes in Natchez or New Orleans, many pilots and crew of flatboats and keelboats traveled by the Trace overland to their homes in the Ohio River Valley. (Given the strong current of the Mississippi River, it was not until steam-powered vessels were developed in the 1820s that travel northward on the river could be accomplished by large boats.) The Natchez Trace also played an important role during the War of 1812. Today the modern Natchez Trace Parkway, which commemorates this route, still has its southern terminus in Natchez.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, the city attracted wealthy Southern planters as residents, who built mansions to fit their ambitions. Their plantations were vast tracts of land in the surrounding lowlands along the river fronts of Mississippi and Louisiana, where they grew large commodity crops of cotton and sugarcane using slave labor. Natchez became the principal port from which these crops were exported, both upriver to Northern cities and downriver to New Orleans, where much of the cargo was exported to Europe. Many of the mansions built by planters before 1860 survive and form a major part of the city's architecture and identity. Agriculture remained the primary economic base for the region until well into the twentieth century.
During the American Civil War Natchez was surrendered by Confederate forces without a fight in September 1862. Following the Union victory at the Battle of Vicksburg in July 1863, many refugees, including former slaves, freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, began moving into Natchez and the surrounding countryside. The Union Army officers claimed to be short on resources and unable to provide for the refugees. The Army planned to address the situation with a mixture of paid labor for freed slaves on government leased plantations, the enlistment of able bodied males who were willing to fight in the Union Army and the establishment of refugee camps where former slaves could be provided with education. However, as the war continued, the plan was never effectively implemented and the leased plantations were crowded, poorly managed and frequently raided by Confederate troops who controlled the surrounding territory. Hundreds of people living in Natchez, including many former slaves and refugees, died of hunger, disease, overwork or were killed in the fighting during this period.
After the American Civil War, the city's economy rapidly revived, mostly due to Natchez having been spared the destruction visited upon many other parts of the South. The vitality of the city and region was captured most significantly in the 80 years or so following the war by the photographers Henry C. Norman and his son Earl. The output of the Norman Studio between roughly 1870 and 1950 documents this period in Natchez's development vividly; the photographs are now preserved as the Thomas and Joan Gandy Collection in special collections of the library of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
During the twentieth century, the city's economy experienced a downturn, first due to the replacement of steamboat traffic on the Mississippi River by railroads in the early 1900s, some of which bypassed the river cities and drew away their commerce. Later in the 20th century, many local industries closed in a restructuring that sharply reduced the number of jobs in the area. Despite its status as a popular destination for heritage tourism because of well-preserved antebellum architecture, Natchez has had a general decline in population since 1960. It remains the principal city of the Natchez micropolitan area.
Natchez is located at 31°33'16" latitude, 91°23'15" longitude (31.554393, -91.387566).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.9 square miles (36 km2), of which 13.2 square miles (34 km2) are land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) (4.62%) is water.
|Climate data for Natchez, Mississippi|
|Record high °F (°C)||83
|Average high °F (°C)||58.3
|Average low °F (°C)||37.5
|Record low °F (°C)||4
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||6.44
|Source 1: The Weather Channel|
|Source 2: Intellicast|
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,464 people, 7,591 households, and 4,858 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,398.3 people per square mile (540.1/km2). There were 8,479 housing units at an average density of 642.1 per square mile (248.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 54.49% African American, 44.18% White, 0.38% Asian, 0.11% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 0.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,591 households, out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% were married couples living together, 23.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,117, and the median income for a family was $29,723. Males had a median income of $31,323 versus $20,829 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,868. 28.6% of the population and 25.1% of families were below the poverty line. 41.6% of those under the age of 18 and 23.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Adams County Correctional Center, a private prison operated by the Corrections Corporation of America on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, is in an unincorporated area in Adams County, near Natchez.
Natchez is home to Alcorn State University's Natchez Campus, which offers the School of Nursing, the School of Business, and graduate business programs. The School of Business offers Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and other business classes from its Natchez campus. The MBA program attracts students from a wide range of academic disciplines and preparation from the Southwest Mississippi area and beyond offering concentrations in general business, gaming management and hospitality management. Both schools in the Natchez campus provide skills which has enabled community students to have an important impact on the economic opportunities of people in Southwest Mississippi.
Copiah-Lincoln Community College also operates a campus in Natchez.
The city of Natchez and Adams County operate one public school system, the Natchez-Adams School District. The district comprises ten schools. They are Susie B. West, Morgantown, Gilmer McLaurin, Joseph F. Frazier, Robert Lewis Magnet School, Natchez Freshman Academy, Natchez Early College@Co-Lin, Central Alternative School, Natchez High School, and Fallin Career and Technology Center.
In Natchez, there are a number of private and parochial schools. Adams County Christian School (ACCS) is also a PK-12 school in the city. Adams County Christian School was founded as a segregation academy and is a member of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS). Cathedral School is also a PK-12 school in the city. It is affiliated with the Roman Catholic St. Mary Basilica. Holy Family Catholic School, founded in 1890, is a PK-3 school affiliated with Holy Family Catholic Church.
A list of media in the Natchez metropolitan area (collectively known as the "Miss-Lou"):
|95.1||WQNZ||Country||First Natchez Radio Group Inc|
|97.3||WKSO||Top 40 Adult||Will Perk Broadcasting|
|97.7||WTYJ||Blues||Natchez Communications, Inc.|
U.S. 65 runs north from Natchez along the west bank of the Mississippi. Louisiana 15 connects Ferriday with Clayton, at which Route 65 connects to Waterproof north to St. Joseph, Newellton, and Tallulah, Louisiana.
Mississippi 555 runs north from the center of Natchez to where it joins Mississippi Highway 554.
Mississippi 554 runs from the north side of the city to where it joins Highway 61, northeast of town.
Natchez is served by rail lines, which today carry only freight.
Natchez is served by the Natchez-Adams County Airport, a general aviation facility. The nearest airports with commercial service are Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, 85 miles (137 km) to the south via US 61 and Alexandria International Airport, 82 miles (132 km) to the west via US 84 to LA-28W.
Various movies have been shot here, including The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), Crossroads (1986), Raintree County (1957), Horse Soldiers (1959),Rascals and Robbers: The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (1981),Get On Up (2014) and Ma (film) (2019).