When your town or city edges down to the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, you have no choice, really: it’s always about the river. And a stroll through the downtown area, or drive, or trolley car tour (be sure to get in touch with Sally for one of these), or dinner of crawfish and catfish confirms just that: It was always about the river. The wonderful film at the Natchez Visitor’s Center opens with those words and introduces viewers, through a seasonal montage, to a wonderful city that has endured numerous ups and downs, but to this day retains a vibrant pulse and buoyancy. Natchez today is a splendid mix of Spanish, French and English cultures, but was also — in the early 1800s — one of the largest slave-trading cities in the U.S., exceeded by, possibly , only New Orleans. Ironically, William Johnson, an enslaved person of color, became a successful businessman in the early 1800s in Natchez before being murdered in circumstances that sound tragically like today. His house on State St. is run by the National Parks Service and well worth a visit. As is the Longwood House, Fort Rosalie, a great photography exhibit located within the town’s Presbyterian church, and numerous other historic landmarks. And then there is the Emerald Mound, located about 10 miles northeast of town. It was built by native Americans, between 1000-600 years ago, and is the second-largest Mississippian Period ceremonial mound in the U.S. If you are fortunate, as I was on the day I visited, when you ascend to the top, you will hear nothing, not even the chirping of birds, just the soft whistling of a gentle wind.