A Note from the President
Dear Fellow SESAHers,
Like all of you, the SESAH executive committee is monitoring the latest COVID surge, and we want to assure you that we’re working with the Historic Natchez Foundation to ensure as safe an experience as possible for our 2021 annual meeting, to be held in Natchez September 29-Oct 3. Our paper sessions and plenary will be held in the Natchez Convention Center, across the street from our conference hotel, and participants will have plenty of room to spread out to maintain social distancing. All conference participants will be required to wear masks to all indoor events. Both of our receptions, at Bontura and Elms Court, will allow touring of the houses, but you will also be welcome to talk with friends old and new outside on the grounds and without crowding. For Saturday’s tour, we will offer a bus ride, but if you prefer, you can caravan in your own vehicle. In addition, we encourage all of you to take advantage of the excellent walking trail markers in and around downtown Natchez to get outside and see this well-preserved 19th-century Mississippi River town.
Most restaurants in Natchez are within walking distance of the hotel and have outdoor eating options, and if you prefer, you can enjoy a take-out dinner while sitting on a bench in Bluff Park overlooking the Mississippi River, watching the barges push past.
As an executive committee, we discussed early on the possibility of offering a hybrid conference with a virtual option, but we rejected that due to the personnel and logistical issues of managing the technology and video and to the digital burnout that I think we’re all feeling this late in the COVID era.
I hope everyone will feel welcomed and safe in Natchez for our annual “family reunion,” but obviously, I understand that each of us knows our own risk and comfort levels best. Given past experience, I hope that this Southern surge will be on the decline by early September, so we are extending early registration to Sept 20 to give time for those who are on the fence to see how things are going closer to the conference.
We have a great slate of papers and of course fabulous tours, and I’m excited to see my SESAH friends again in person.
Jennifer BaughnJackson, Miss.