November 24, 2020

Antebellum house’s staff working hard in spite of pending bankruptcy sale

NATCHEZ — Despite being sucked into a swirl of their owner’s bankruptcy and pending bank foreclosure the staff at one of Natchez’s most iconic tourism properties is hard and work doing what they always do — serving customers.

Last week, Natchez based United Mississippi Bank enacted foreclosure proceedings on Dunleith, a sprawling luxury bed and breakfast estate and restaurant on Homochitto Street.

The bank aims to sell the property on Feb. 1 to recoup funds owed to it by Dunleith’s owner, Baton Rouge businessman Mike Worley.

But Dunleith manager John Holyoak says the staff is working hard to live up to the high standards of service the business has always offered.

“The employees are here. They’re here at work,” Holyoak said. “We have made a 100-percent effort that through this time period our overnight stays, the meals at The Castle (restaurant) and weddings hosted here are living up to the same high level of quality we’ve always offered.”

Holyoak said the bankruptcy had been stressful on employees, but that they were unwavering in their commitment to customer service.

Technically, despite the pending foreclosure, the bankruptcy trustee remains in charge of the property.

And Holyoak said they will continue to operate the business and is hopeful local residents will continue to support Dunleith, its adjacent restaurant, The Castle, as well as another Worley property in Natchez, Bowie’s Tavern on the corner of Main and Broadway streets.

Bowie’s is entangled in the bankruptcy as well, but is not currently under foreclosure proceedings.

“The best thing for Dunleith and the employees is for people to not perpetuate rumors, come to The Castle, come to Bowie’s Tavern and support us,” Holyoak said.

Approximately 100 employees depend upon employment with the two businesses, he said.

“They have bills to pay, tuition, groceries, car notes,” he said. “My job is to keep that happening, keep the business running and our bills paid.

“If our local community can understand how important Dunleith is to this community now is the time to support it.”