AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The sign has been unveiled, and 8th St. from Broad St. to Greene St. is now the honorary Jessye Norman Blvd.
The street was blocked off earlier on Friday, Oct. 11 and it was packed with people coming to respect Norman’s legacy and watch as they showed off the street sign for the first time.
“She’s still here. We just can’t hug," said longtime friend of Norman Barbara Friedman. “I needed closure like everybody did, and it’s wonderful to be in this city.”
There were many notable people in attendance, including commissioners, the solicitor general and the Norman family. Students from the school even gave a performance for everyone who was in the crowd. Those who are in town for Norman’s funeral were able to attend and said this is another way they are gaining closure.
“I think what today really is about is us not only closing one chapter, but beginning another one that will see tremendous benefit in the lives of so many," said Mayor Hardie Davis. “I think it’s phenomenal for the City of Augusta to be able to, even at the passing of Ms. Norman, continue our efforts to name the street after her.”
While having this portion of 8th St. as the Honorary Jessye Norman Blvd. is great, in the next couple of weeks commissioners will be discussing giving that name to the entire street, all the way from Reynolds St. to Laney Walker Blvd.
“This is an opportunity for us to continue that great work in her name," said Mayor Davis.
Fittingly, this change would run parallel to a downtown street named after an Augustan music legend.
“You look at the music icons that we’ve had the benefit of enjoying out of Augusta: The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and now, Ms. Jessye Norman, it’s only fitting and proper for us to do that from one end of the street to the other," Mayor Davis added. “I think it’s again, just a phenomenal way for us to recognize the efforts of individuals who grew up on the streets of Augusta, Georgia.”
As her legacy lives on through the students attending her arts school in Augusta and the music she shared with the world, it’ll also be in the minds of Augustans every time they drive through downtown and see the sign.
The honorary renaming of the street has been in planning stages for a couple of years.