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The Dart: Man prefers life on river in Natchez over New Orleans

NATCHEZ — Donald Tyler, 68, spent his share of time living in New Orleans but prefers to watch the Mississippi River from the towering bluffs at Natchez, he said.

Tyler walked along the Natchez bluff trail — both for his health and just to enjoy the view of the Mississippi River — when The Dart landed there Wednesday evening.

Tyler said he grew up in Jefferson County and has lived in Natchez for approximately 30 years with his wife, Julia.

“Right after I finished high school I moved down to New Orleans and lived there for about 12 or 13 years and came back to Natchez,” Tyler said. “When I came back here I started working at Grand Gulf (Nuclear Station) in Port Gibson.”

Tyler said he worked at Grand Gulf as a guard until issues with his leg forced him to retire at age 62.

As a guard, Tyler said he could shoot a target with a rifle over 50 yards away and pulled 12-hour shifts — some during the day and some at night. Tyler said he now uses some of his free time to improve his walking by taking strolls along the bluff.

“I like to come here to look around, that’s all,” he said. “Every once in a while, like today, I come out here just to look.”

Tyler’s wife, Julia, is a jack of many trades. She worked at the former International Paper and later worked in tourism, hospice and now as a cook, Tyler said.

“Me and her are the same age and she’s still working. She might retire in about two years. She still hasn’t quit.”

Together, Julia and Donald Tyler have four children — two boys and two girls who are grown — and 10 grandchildren who “always want something.”

Tyler said he liked living in Natchez more than Louisiana and the bluff more than low swamps and flat farmland. After having worked in his father’s cotton field as a teenager, Tyler said he could not stand the sight of cotton anymore.

“Anytime I drive by a field of cotton, I look straight ahead. I don’t look to the side anymore. There are too many cotton fields and I don’t want to see them,” he said. “I was born and raised around here (Natchez) and I like it here.”