Boy we made a day of it today! We left about 10:00 headed for the Natchez Visitors Center. I had heard that it was one of the best visitor’s centers and it certainly is nice. We got a lot of information about Natchez and bought tickets to see three of the plantations. We may see more on our own. We discussed the Natchez Trace and were assured that we could go in our motor home towing the car as we were thinking of taking that route home. I questioned that so they said they would check on it for us. We then watched a 15 minute video on Natchez and it was quite informative. I would suggest that anyone visiting Natchez make the Visitor’s Center your first stop. And —- everything in the gift shop was 25% off! Of course I bought a magnet and also a t-shirt.
We were told that if we were walking people we could walk to the several places we had planned to go to so we took off. If we were not walking people when we left we certainly were by the time we returned after 6:00!
We walked down to Rosalie Planation only to realize that the tours started on the hour and we had missed the 12:00 by 10 minutes. I bought a magnet in the gift shop and then we sat out in the lovely yard right on the Mississippi and just took in the beautiful view.
The tour started at 1:00 and Jerry and I were the only ones on it. Purchased by the Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution it has been kept in pristine condition. Many of the pieces of furniture are original to the house and are equally as pretty. One room had three pianos in it. Obviously music was must have been an important part of their lives as in addition to the pianos I saw a harp and a guitar.
Significant for its Greek revival style it is truly an Antebellum home. During the Civil War Natchez was very divided and perhaps that it why so few of the Natchez homes were destroyed. In fact, Rosalie served as Union Headquarters with all of their offices downstairs while the two surviving daughters of Stephen and Fanny Rumble lived upstairs during this time. As I heard one interpreter say “a series of unfortunate events” caused financial hard times: war, boll weevil and the Depression. The daughters were victims of these hard times as well so in 1938 they sold the house to the Mississippi DAR although both continued to live there until their deaths. Annie died in 1958 at the age of 101 and was the last descendant to live there.
By this time we were starving and as we were walking out another guide suggested we go right across the street to Fat Mama’s Tamales so off we went. Since I’m not too fond of that type of food I wasn’t very excited but I was hungry and it was close! The brick marker on the outside said they served Knock Your Clothes Off Margaritas. I didn’t try one but we did try the Fire and Ice pickles and they were quite tasty. We both got a gringo pie which is three tamales topped with chili, cheese, onions, and jalapenos. Wow, they were hot and very good!
We had been told about a Mardi Gras parade beginning at 5:00 so we decided to wait around for that. Since we had three hours to kill we started walking. I had earlier said that I wanted to take a horse and carriage tour and we walked right by them but I thought it was a little too cold for the ride since we didn’t have our heavy coats.
We continued our walk and ended up at the William Johnson House. This is a part of history that few people know about. William Johnson was a freed slave who owned his own barber shop (The Barber of Natchez) along with numerous buildings and a lot of land in and around Natchez. He rented out the bottom of his house to various businesses and he and his family lived upstairs. A prosperous business man he also own slaves as well. Much of his life adult life is well known because he kept meticulous diaries. While there are only a few entries about his marriage he apparently had a good marriage and was a devoted husband and father to his eleven children. His life story is fascinating as he was apparently the son of a white slave owner and a black slave. Both his mother and his sister to whom he was devoted had earlier been emancipated but William was too young at the time. He was emancipated when he was eleven.
After our visit there we walked to downtown Natchez. It is not a large city and I was surprised at how quiet it was. Though there were many parked cars we saw very few people. We finally sat on a bench in the sun and decided to sit there for a while and wait for the parade. Jerry read and I people watched! Fascinating to say the least! After a while we moved down closer to where the parade was going to begin.
This parade was very different from the parade we saw in Slidell. There were no dance studios or cheering camps represented so no children. There were only two bands and the rest of the parade was floats from different krewes. Beads, beads, and more beads. I have no idea what we will do with them but suffice it to say we have a lot! I did get a nice coozie and we got a couple of pieces of candy.
After the parade we walked back to the Visitors Center and then headed to Walmart. The heater that we use in the bathroom in the mornings died today so we decided that since we weren’t going south but north now we’d better get another one thus our trip to Walmart. That accomplished we headed to the coach. We had taken a meatloaf out of the freezer in preparation for dinner tonight but decided that it was just too late to cook. Jerry had Brunswick stew and I didn’t eat.
It was a good day but a full day and more to follow tomorrow!