By Emily Wagster Pettus
JACKSON – Former Mississippi Gov. Bill Allain will be buried in Natchez City Cemetery in a one-person mausoleum that has a black granite front engraved with the Bible, the state seal, a symbol of justice and four magnolias, the state flower.
It is inscribed with his name and dates of birth and death, but it does not include the title “Governor” — perhaps fitting for a man who rarely sought public attention after he left office nearly 26 years ago.
Allain was attorney general from 1980 to 1984 and governor from 1984 to 1988. He died Monday at a Jackson hospital, after a bout with pneumonia. He was 85.
His body will lie in repose from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the state Capitol rotunda, followed by a memorial service there.
A funeral Mass will be at noon Saturday at St. Mary Basilica in Natchez, the city where he grew up and started his legal career.
The mausoleum, a simple design covered in reinforced white cement with exposed natural rock, was being delivered to Natchez City Cemetery on Thursday from the company that made it on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Faith Magallanes, owner of Fortress Personal Mausoleums in Gautier, said in a phone interview that Allain is the first governor for whom the company has manufactured a final resting place.
Allain remained in the Jackson area after leaving office, but he told The Associated Press in a 2001 interview that he liked to drive to Vicksburg or Natchez to simply sit and look at the Mississippi River. He was the son of a river captain, and said watching the flow of water helped him clear his mind.
“I love that Mississippi River,” Allain said then. “It’s just something about water that kind of makes you feel good, you know?”
Natchez City Cemetery was founded in 1822 and is on a bluff overlooking the river.