Good Neighbors - Alexanders and Gonnellinis
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 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
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.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Natchez Trails marker series.
Location. 31° 33.507′ N, 91° 23.747′ W. Marker is in Natchez, Mississippi, in Adams 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.
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
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 6, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 6, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 58 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 6, 2018.