The Great Civil War   4 comments

Day 1-2 Vidalia, Louisiana

We started our tour with a get acquainted party and orientation. We have 14 RVs on this trip and it’s a great group. One cute couple is just one year younger than my parents and they act like my parents, too. (that’s a good thing) It’s going to be a great trip. Of course, they’re all great.

Our second day began with a bus tour with the best driver ever! Our tour guide had him making 90 degree turns down narrow streets and it was a piece of cake for him. We started at the Natchez Visitor Center where we watched a movie about the Natchez Story.

Natchez was inhabited by the Natchez Indians, discovered by La Salle, settled by the English, developed by the Spanish, capitalized by antebellum cotton barons, and enriched by enslaved and free African Americans.

Looking out over the bluffs to the Mississippi River is amazing. As you can see in the photo below, the bluffs are covered with a “greenery.”

The bluffs of Natchez were planted with kudzu in an effort to control their erosion. It is a member of the bean family. The roots are so deep that if the vines are killed by frost, the deep roots remain alive. The vine blooms in the late summer and the clusters of wisteria-like flowers can be used to make jelly.

Kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the South.” It can grow more than a foot a night. It will devour everything in its path, abandoned automobiles, buildings, and you, if you stand in one place long enough. The Chinese have made a medicinal tea from its roots. It is used to treat dysentery and fever. The fibers from the vine were used to make cloth and paper. The Japanese used starches from the roots to make cakes. Kudzu powder is still used as a thickening agent in cooking and as a coating for fried foods.

Once home to half of America’s millionaires and 200 free people of color, Natchez was one of the most prestigious and powerful cities in the South. I love the architecture of the south. There were so many beautiful homes,

The William Johnson House was of special interest because he went from Slave to Master. At the age of 11, he was emancipated by his white slave owner, trained to be a barber, and purchased his own shop in Natchez in 1830. He eventually owned and operated three barbershops and a bath house. Services were rendered by Johnson, his free blacks, apprentices, and slave s owned by Johnson. His home is pictured below.

We had a delicious lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall. Stanton Hall was built in 1857 for cotton magnate Frederick Stanton by Natchez architect-builder Thomas Rose. No expense was spared, from immense Corinthian columns topped with iron capitals to silver door knobs and hinges, extravagant Italian marble mantles, massive gold-leaf mirrors, and grand chandeliers. Frederick Stanton died in 1859, but his family remained there until 1894.

As I turned around from this beautiful building, I looked at the trees in the front and could not resist taking a picture. I’ll bet the kids would have a lot of fun climbing in these trees.

Before returning home, we toured the Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins. It was amazing to learn all about cotton “then” and “now.”

Did you know that Crisco is from cotton oil? It stands for crystal cotton oil. They have also found a way to make “underarmor” clothing with cotton instead of the synthetic that it’s known for.

Before leaving the plantation, Bill always seems to have to go…..

Tomorrow we begin our scenic drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway.


Posted April 25, 2013 by carolnbill in Adventure Caravans, RV, Travel

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4 responses to “The Great Civil War

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