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Natchez gets closeup for National Geographic special section

“Where but in downtown Natchez can you have a police car blocking traffic so a horse can stand in the middle of the road?” Joe Cavallos wondered aloud recently.

With arms crossed, Cavallas and others stood in the sifted sun along the 400 block of Main Street — a light acclaimed photographer Theo Westenberger scrambled to capture for the pages of National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Editors chose Natchez as part of the magazine’s 15th anniversary edition: “50 Places of a Lifetime.” Westenberger, whose work can be seen in national publications such as Time magazine, was contracted by National Geographic for the special edition.

But before the world can view glossy scenes from Westenberger, Sonny the Horse had to stand patiently with a carriage built for two behind him, Westenberger directing his every move. Farther up, Natchez police officers rerouted traffic down Commerce Street.

Though her work has been seen all over the world, this was Westenberger’s first trip to Natchez — one of the main reasons she chose it from the magazine’s list of “50 Places.”

“I think it’s great,” she said. “The people are so nice and the houses beautiful. To be honest, I feel silly that I never knew about it before.”

“This is great for Natchez and downtown,” Dennis Short said as he held a whipping American flag in places with fishing line.”

His wife Darby agreed. “I mean they’re choosing 50 places and Natchez is one of them. I am so glad everyone is going to know what we already know, that this is a great town.”

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