We left Houston and the hospitality of our sister Lisa and her husband Tony at 8:30. Believe it or not, we are now 5 weeks into our trip!
Our route took us through rural Texas and then into Louisiana.
Our goal was to get to Natchez, Mississippi by early afternoon. We drove across LA without many stops. This was another peanut butter and jelly sandwich while driving in the car day.
We crossed the bridge over the Mississippi River into the state of Mississippi.
Think back a few weeks…remember when we crossed the Mississippi in Minnesota? It seems strange to see it from top to bottom. Julie and I have been to New Orleans many times, so this is as far down the river as we will be going.
Natchez starts at the River.
What a beautiful city! It was apparently only partially damaged during the Civil War and there are many homes and buildings that survived. Thankfully, they also have a strong sense of history and have preserved the homes with historical designations.
We wanted to tour some antebellum plantation homes. Our first stop was Longwood. This is the largest octagonal home in the US. Its kind of a sad story though.
The Nutt family was very wealthy due to cotton and had just started building their dream home. It was to have 30,000 square feet. The finest materials had been ordered but then the War started. Mr Nutt was a Union sympathizer, but all of his money was confederate. So, he went from being a millionaire to a pauper in less than 2 years. Only the bottom level of the home was completed. The upper levels were framed in. He died not too long after. His wife still had young children at home and sued the government and received a settlement. The rest of the house was never finished.
Our next stop was Stanton Hall. This home was “only” 18,000 square feet. Luckily for this family, it was completed and paid for shortly before the war. Of course it was gorgeous. Italian marble fireplaces, chandeliers, French mirrors, and special touches throughout.
Stanton Hall in more recent times became a Bed and Breakfast for a short time. General MacArthur and his family stayed there at one time. Now it is a museum and a club house for the Historical Society and is open to the public.
After touring these mansions…and driving around and admiring the exteriors of others…it was time to go to our hotel. Needless to say it is quite a bit more modest than the Plantation Homes! However, in 1959 John Wayne and William Holden were filming a cowboy movie in Natchez called The Horse Soldiers. It was directed by John Ford. The reason I mention it, is that they stayed at this hotel while they were filming.
As a matter of fact, John Ford stayed in the very room we are currently occupying! Before you get too jealous, Julie and I think they decided to keep things the exact same way as it was in 1959…if you get my drift.
We arrived in Natchez at 2:30 and our mileage is now 10, 390. Tomorrow we head to Memphis.