Monument to celebrate Catfish Alley

Lowndes County StockThe Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A monument marking the restoration of the Catfish Alley district in Columbus will be unveiled on Sept. 5.

The monument will commemorate the historic area that once was the center of the city’s black business community.

Landscaping for a park area, street repaving and sidewalk improvements on Fourth Street between College and Main streets have been completed.

The installation of ornamental, or “festival” lighting, is also on the way.

The Commercial Dispatch reported the Sept. 5 ceremonies will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Complementing the area’s restoration is a mural completed in June by art students at Mississippi University for Women that depicts the district across multiple eras of its history.

Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow said the monument is a centerpiece of the reconstruction that has taken place around it.

“Columbus is rich with history and Catfish Alley reminds us of the very beginnings of our downtown area,” she said.

A Catfish Alley Day also may be in the works, possibly coinciding with Catfish in the Alley, an annual event usually held during February or March.

The event was not held this year but in 2012 was staged at the nearby Hitching Lot Farmers’ Market.

Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Carpenter said she hopes to bring the celebration back to its original setting.

“We are very hopeful we can move the event back to Catfish Alley in the early spring,” Carpenter said. “We want to provide an event of wonderful memories.”