The City of Natchitoches concluded its Juneteenth Celebrations with a fun filled concert Saturday, June 17 at the downtown riverbank. The fun event was attended by a capacity crowd who filled the amphitheater seating and enjoyed some superb music from The Louisiana Sidemen, The Old Man Band and Zydeco sensation Keith Frank as well as DJ Rob Real. The event also featured 15 businesses and agencies including the National Park Service, the Natchitoches Coalition on Homelessness, the African-American Historical Society and numerous local businesses. The indefatigable local civic leader Johnny Barnes kept the crowd hydrated with free cold water. The family-friendly event also featured two inflatable play areas for children that were available at no cost. The Juneteenth celebration concluded with one of our city’s signature fireworks shows.
The celebration was opened with a ribbon cutting by Mayor and First Lady Ronnie and Tiffany Williams. Juneteenth commemorates the day of June 19, 1865 in which Union general Gordon Granger landed his forces in Galveston, Texas and issued his famous Order Number 3 declaring: “…The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free ….”
On the first Juneteenth, a little over two months after the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox doomed the Confederacy, General Granger and his troops fulfilled the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The Stars and Stripes once more flew from every corner of this nation. The Confederacy was crushed and the evil of slavery driven from our country. It is indeed a day worthy of remembrance and celebration!
The Natchitoches Parish Journal would like to commend all of the men and women who worked diligently to bring about this celebration. It was a delightful weekend, and we are looking forward to next year’s event!