‘Giant of a man’: Vicksburg Auditorium named for longtime manager Ardis T. Williams Sr.

Published 1:30 pm Monday, September 12, 2022

The Vicksburg Auditorium has a new name.

At a Friday afternoon ceremony, city officials renamed the building in memory of longtime manager Ardis T. Williams Sr., who died May 23.

“The Good Book says that ‘A good man is to be chosen rather than great victory,’” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said during a brief program before the ceremony unveiling the auditorium’s new name. “Perhaps our friend knew of that because for Ardis, for all this time, kept his good name and his good work going in the same direction at the same time.

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“It’s unbelievable to know that you’ve known a man that walked through here with so much passion and loyalty and dedication for not just this building, but his friends and all,” he said. “What a man; what a giant of a man.”

“You could be in a room and Ardis would just walk in and light up your day,”  Ward 2 Alderman Alex Monsour, who had been friends with Williams for almost 30 years said, adding Williams was at the auditorium when Monsour’s now 22-year-old daughter was in dance recitals there.

“He was there for rallies, he was there for Miss Mississippi, he was there for everything. The auditorium was his baby,” Monsour said. “He took care of it but took pride, and it’s rare that you find an individual that gives you everything like Ardis did. He was an asset, and I was honored to rename the auditorium after him.”

Addressing Williams’ family, Ward 1 Alderman Michael Mayfield said, “I duly appreciate you all sharing Ardis with us. It was truly an honor and a pleasure to call him a friend of mine.

“I loved so much about him,” he said. “I loved his attitude, his demeanor; I loved the way he carried himself. He was a fun-loving person and you don’t find people like that every day. Sometimes you have to stand back and watch people but you didn’t stand back and watch Ardis; he came to you and I really appreciated that in him.”

Mayfield called Williams a very hard worker, adding, “I still don’t see how he did what he did. No matter what you said to him, he said, ‘I’ve got to do it, I’ve got to do it.’ When you stop and think about a person like that and a person that has the heart the way Ardis did, you can’t help but love him; you really, truly, can’t.”

He said Williams meant a lot to the community, not just managing the auditorium, but to the community as a whole, and “I appreciated that in him and I know that no matter what you do because Ecclesiasticus tells us there’s a time for everything under heaven and you have to believe that.”

Williams, he said “did his time, he served well, he did things that made people happy. A great, great person.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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