Augusta to honor Jessye Norman with her own street

Opera singer and Augusta, Georgia, native Jessye Norman. (James Alexander)
Opera singer and Augusta, Georgia, native Jessye Norman. (James Alexander)

An Augusta enrichment program and a performance center bear her name, and now so will a street.

Officials are moving ahead with plans to rename Eighth Street after Jessye Norman, the beloved native daughter and internationally renowned opera singer who died Monday in New York at 74.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. said Norman was scheduled to arrive in the city on Oct. 8 for the ceremony and planned to stay a few days.

“The local community has always been a staunch supporter of hers,” said Davis, who met Norman several years ago through mutual friends. “She was always grand. What  you see in pictures is what you see in person. She was quite regal.”

Norman performed at opera houses around the world, including New York’s prestigious Metropolitan Opera, where she made her debut in 1983.

The adored soprano won five Grammys for her work, including a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The honors continued throughout her career.

See why Georgia's Jessye Norman, the famed opera singer from Augusta, has been a history maker for four decades..

In 1997, she received the Kennedy Center Honor and, later, the National Medal of Arts in 2009.

Augusta passed a resolution to rename the street over a year ago, but Norman was unable to attend because of  a scheduling conflict that put her back on the road.

“Little did we know she would pass away,” before the event could be held, Davis said.

Arrangements have not yet been made public, and it’s unclear whether any events will take place in Augusta.

Eighth Street in Augusta is also home to the Jessye Norman Amphitheater. Her name is also on the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, a community and educational enrichment program.