“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Natchez in Adams County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis

Natchez Trails

Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis Marker image. Click for full size.
July 8, 2017
1. Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis Marker
Louis and Anna Alexander resided in the craftsman style cottage (above) at 17 St. Catherine Street.

Until his death in the late 1940s, Louis Alexander worked at the historic mansion Melrose for George and Ethel Kelly. He died during a trip to California to visit his children, three of whom had earlier died in the Rhythm Night Club fire.

Letters written by George Kelly during the first half of the 1900s document Louis Alexander's talents. His duties included car mechanic, chauffeur, electrician, marketer of farm products, and general manager of Melrose.

After the death of Alexander, the Kellys hired Fred Page, who worked at Melrose over 55 years and ended his career as a National Park Service guide.

The sales tax is now in force and is passed on to the consumer... Louis' housekeeping reports have tax items on them now. [The sales tax was 2 cents on a dollar.] George Kelly, Melrose May 8, 1932

George Kelly gathered employees on the rear steps of Melrose for a photograph ca. 1905. Employees with ties to the St. Catherine Street neighborhood were Ed Barland, George and Celie Screws, and Joe Fisher.

Louis and Helen

Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis Marker image. Click for full size.
July 8, 2017
2. Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis Marker
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Gonnellini (left) stand in front of their St. Catherine Street grocery and restaurant in the 1940s.

Their family lived upstairs, where their living quarters incorporated an older house that stood on the hill behind the store.

The Gonnellinis almost lost their 1930s building to a fire. in 1939 (right). After the fire they repaired the building and added a front porch.

The National Park Service has owned and interpreted Melrose, a National Historic Landmark, as part of the Natchez National Historical Park since 1990.

Prior to the Civil Rights Act, few restaurants in the South served African Americans unless it was in the kitchen or outside the back door. Louis Gonnellini (above) defied convention in serving his African American neighbors but conceded to the unwritten laws of the South with separate "white and colored” entrances and a partial partition wall (above). The jukebox stood sideways in the wall to give access to both black and white patrons.
Erected by City of Natchez.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi - Natchez Trails series list.
Location. 31° 33.507′ N, 91° 23.747′ W. Marker is in Natchez, Mississippi, in Adams

Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis Marker image. Click for full size.
July 8, 2017
3. Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis Marker
County. Marker is on St. Catherine Street near Old D'Evereux Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Natchez MS 39120, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Natchez Civil Rights and Old D'Evereux Street (here, next to this marker); The Stallone Family (a few steps from this marker); Voss Family and A-B Motor Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Holy Family Church and School (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Holy Family Catholic Church (about 400 feet away); Dr. John Banks House - 9 St. Catherine Street (about 400 feet away); 20-30 St. Catherine Street and Eduation (about 400 feet away); Hospital Hill Neighborhood (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Natchez.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 6, 2018. It was originally submitted on April 6, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 219 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 6, 2018.

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Mar. 24, 2023