Just about every town and city has information that residents understand better than anyone else. Natchez, Mississippi is no different other than it’s a different city and of course it will have different customs. Like much of Mississippi however, Natchez is bound by strong traditions and a long, rich history that is adhered to by most of its residents. There are several key historical aspects and quirks that make this one of the more interesting and intriguing parts of Mississippi. Here are a few inside secrets that only the residents of Natchez really know about, and a few that any outsider would be best not making assumptions about.
Most Mississippians don’t often stay away from home that long.
Despite the very real fact that Natchez is a moderate-sized city, most people who are born and raised here don’t often stay away for too long. Whether it’s just the overall charm of the city, or some Mississippian-born pride, many individuals tend to find their way home even if they move away for an extended period. So if you happen to spend any time in Natchez you might just find that you’ll see the same faces come and go after awhile. While it’s not a trait common to just Natchez, it’s an occurrence that many families tend to prize and even encourage.
Nearly everyone in Natchez knows how to hook up a quick, homemade air conditioner.
It might seem like it’s easy enough to find a way to stay cool in the heat, but in Natchez they know more than just how to hook it up, they’ve learned how to revolutionize the trick. Take a bucket, a fan, and a few pieces of PVC and voila, instant cool. While a lot of people could take credit for this, such inventions are quite common in Natchez, leaving one to think that simple creativity and innovation must be a trait native to Mississippi. It might be more function than form-oriented, but if it works then it’s a win.
Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues, and don’t bother arguing about it.
Natchez might not be the original location where the blues were birthed, but try telling anyone around the town about how it might be less important and it’s likely you won’t find a friend anywhere near there. Mississippi natives are protective about a lot of things, and their music is one of them. Should you ever visit Natchez take note that the blues are a part of life in that part of the world, and saying anything negative is simply asking for the cold shoulder. It’s about the same thing as stepping into Seattle and badmouthing Nirvana.
If you’re not walking around the city, shoes are optional.
Considering that Natchez is situated on the southern bank of the Mississippi River, shoes are highly optional. After all, why keep your shoes on when you’ve got a perfectly good mud bank to run along? Natchez residents aren’t alone in this enjoyable pastime, but they’re definitely not going to share the secret nationwide. Sometimes the simplest of attractions for any city are the best kept secrets that you need to earn to enjoy.
Natchez enjoys a much easier, more laid back pace of life.
Slow down, enjoy yourself, and don’t be in such a rush. Of course you’ll have to get within the city limits to really understand this way of life, as those in Natchez aren’t about to go shouting it to the world. The city isn’t filled lazy bums that like to simply laze about on their front porches while drinking lemonade and iced tea, but the general pace of life is far removed from the usual rat race that dominates the rest of the world. Natchez is where you can kick back, put your feet up, and actually enjoy the time you get away from work and responsibility.
You won’t find a better biscuit in all of Mississippi.
This is another fact that is hard to dispute and not at all wise to bring up with anyone inside the city limits. Natchez residents are quite proud of the fact that their biscuits are so well known and coveted by so many. Some might say it’s a Mississippi thing, but in truth Natchez is very protective when it comes to this status and any resident you speak to is potentially a stout defender of their biscuit recipes and reputation. Let’s put it this way, telling anyone in Natchez that they have anything less than the best biscuits in the state of Mississippi is considered borderline blasphemy.
Mind your manners.
Mississippi has more than earned its nickname “The Hospitality State”. This is where you say “sir”, “ma’am” and show some honest, genuine respect to others, particularly your elders. It wouldn’t matter if it’s the end of the world or if the sky is raining fire and the Mississippi River is flooding over, you mind your manners at all times. This might seem odd to the rest of the nation considering that respect is at times an alien concept, but in Natchez if you don’t keep in line and mind your manners you might find yourself in hostile territory all too soon.
Religion is a way of life instead of a choice.
The further south you go it seems that religion holds a stronger sway, and in Natchez you just don’t disrespect another person’s religion and you certainly don’t scoff at the chance to be a part of the church. No matter what denomination you are, you will attend church, your bible will be in your hand, and you will be dressed in your Sunday best every weekend service. There is no questioning this if you live in Natchez, as like many southern cities it is a very religious region where people are devout and tend to take pride in the fact.
The sauce, it’s all about the sauce.
All over Mississippi the sauce is the talk of the town, city, or region. In Natchez if you even bother asking “what’s the sauce?” you might as well not bother going out to eat. The server will likely reserve every right to turn on their heel and shake their head at your ignorance. If you ever head out towards Natchez learn about the sauce immediately before reaching the city limits, so that it’s fresh in your consciousness and able to be retrieved. So what is it? The basic formula is pretty simple. It’s mayo, chili sauce, and a few other key ingredients that most Mississippi natives won’t bother telling you simply because it’s THEIR sauce. So learn about it, know about it, and by all means, ask FOR it, not ABOUT it.
You WILL be a football fan.
Whether it’s Ole Miss or MSU, the duty of every Natchez resident, young and old, is to be a fan or have an opinion of some sort on the two biggest teams in the state. Their continual battle over the Egg Bowl and its Golden Egg trophy is great enough to start at least one brawl every year, as well as spark debate all over the state. Despite being closer to the border and further away from their state teams, don’t ever suggest that Natchez residents harbor any feelings for any teams other than MSU and Ole Miss. It’s an argument you won’t win, even if you think you’re right.
Natchez isn’t the biggest place in the world and obviously not the most well known, but like most moderate to smaller-sized cities it’s protective of its more personal traits, and as such harbors facts and details that it won’t openly publish to the world. However, given that it is the south, they likely won’t balk at telling visitors just what makes their home so great.