THE DART: ‘If I ever leave Natchez…’ Retirement finds music, hospitality and community here – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

NATCHEZ – Natchez resident Kim Marshall strolled down Linton Avenue near where The Dart landed on Thursday morning.

Originally from Abbeville, Louisiana, he attended the University of Southern Louisiana before joining the US Marine Corp. After his service he moved to Houston where he worked as a therapist. Marshall said he had an apartment near St. Thomas College in Houston where he re-registered for classes. Then he moved to the University of Florida where he obtained a master’s and a doctorate in sociology. After some time in Syracuse and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, he decided to become a teacher. Loyola and Jackson State were teaching stops before he took the job at Alcorn State. Sociology is closely linked to business, he said.

“They rely heavily on social science knowledge. Most business research is based on sociology, ”Marshall said. “The fields are very closely linked. I became much more interested in the business world. The social sciences are still very, very close to my heart.

Combining his knowledge of computer science, sociology and business, he wrote a book on marketing systems. He became editor of a journal on government technology programs and policies. “I see that a lot of the principles I was talking about then are in practice now,” he said.

Sharing his time

In August 2019, he retired from teaching. Now he divides his time between the beach houses in Gulfport and his cottage in Natchez. After Katrina, he had to go to a meeting in Gulfport and couldn’t get over the devastation caused by the storm.

He said he made an offer on a house and bought it, then made an offer on the one next door and bought it. At the time, his idea was to use them as vacation homes and as rentals when he wasn’t there, he said.

“Now I’m going back and forth between them,” Marshall said. “It has been amazing to see how the houses are being rebuilt on Beach Boulevard. ”

When in Natchez, he can walk downtown to Natchez cafe, bank and restaurants. He is Catholic and attends the Holy Family in Natchez where he is a member of the Knights of Peter Claver. As a retiree, he has no other obligations, he said.

“Still, I don’t do the same,” Marshall said. “Someone told me it’s because when you retire you lose a lot of structure in your life.”

Life in Natchez

Natchez is also similar to his hometown of Abbeville, he said, especially the older houses and the friendly people. Since his retirement he has taken the risk of traveling, but he still finds his way back to Natchez, he said.

“Natchez is a wonderful place to live,” said Marshall. “It’s so nice and friendly. I like the general atmosphere and the friendliness of the city. There is a lack of traffic. Not to mention the romance of living on the Mississippi River. ”

Make music

This same romanticism inspires the music and the art of Natchez, which he appreciates. When he first moved to Natchez, Rex Pruitt lived in the cottage next door. Knowing he was playing guitar, they got together a few times to play, he said.

In Marshall’s living room, they recorded together an album called “Pretty Good Guitar” which you can find on CDbaby or YouTube. Three of the songs were written by Marshall, four by Pruitt and three by Judith Curry, from Tennessee, he said.

The title song kicks off the album “He always played great guitar. He played all the honky tonks and bars. The song follows music’s journey from Mississippi to California and even the Beatles.

“When he first heard it, he was really quiet for about 30 seconds. He said, ‘This is the story of my life,’ ”Marshall said. “He identified with my song and we continued to make the CD. I wasn’t there for the money, I was there for the fun of it.

Pretty Good Guitar ends with the song “Staying Here in Natchez” and was written by Rex.

“The last song had a hook line. “If I ever leave Natchez, I will be bound to fame,” Marshall said. “Sure enough, Rex’s wife wanted to move to Texas to be closer to her family and they moved. A year later, he was diagnosed with cancer and died six months later. If he left Natchez, he was bound to fame. I feel a bit the same.

About Jermaine Chase

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