Tuesday, March 16, 2021
We went to the Natchez Visitor’s Center and booked a tour. Covid protocol prevents tours in closed vehicles, so we took a tour in what looked like an extended golf cart. Sally was our guide, and she was a character. Three ladies joined us for the hour 15 minute tour.
Fairly unscathed by the Civil War, there are 50 ante-bellum homes remaining in Natchez of all kinds of architecture. Some came to Natchez after making their money elsewhere, while some made it in cotton or shipping. Of course this land belonged the the Natchez Indians. It’s not hard to be rich when a king gives you thousands of acres that once belonged to someone else. There has obviously been a lot of money here at one time or another. Sally had a story about every house or hotel. She even drove up to a pretty house where she grew up.
We had lunch at the Airstream, then went for a tour of the home, Longwood. It is an incredible brick mansion built for Haller Nutt, a cotton planter. The basement level was finished first, but the rest never was. The Civil War came and his cotton was burned, leaving him with nothing but a huge mansion and 8 children. He died of pneumonia in 1864, leaving his wife to somehow raise the family with no help and no money. One day a princess, the next a pauper. Somehow she made it work, growing her own food, raising cows and making ends meet. The home is quite unique and beautiful and tells a good story.
Johnny Hay, back in Meaher State Park, the one with the American flag on his RV, recommended a restaurant in Natchez. We asked our neighbor, Bev, to join us for dinner at the Magnolia Grill, which is “under the hill’. This is where the town was in the old days, but was destroyed by floods. Looking right up the Mississippi, where most of the rivers east of the Rockies and west of the Alleghenies drain, it isn’t hard to imagine the power of a flooded Mississippi.
We had an enjoyable dinner, and it was good getting to know Bev, who has been through a lot. Her children suggested she write a country song about it. She is a strong lady, and it is impressive how she travels in her RV with her dog, Willow. She told the story of traveling and camping with her parents growing up. Now she has retraced many of their travels. Her parents kept a log of their travels and so has she. It sounds like Bev could write a good book about revisiting those places, and a country song to accompany it.