Falling Head Over Heels for Natchez, Mississippi

From: Camels and Chocolate

It was our last stop on the Natchez Trace. Exactly 357 days before we had begun this journey, we were finally tying a bow on this storied 444-mile parkway. But before we turned around to come home, we had a treat in store: a long weekend in Natchez, Mississippi.

Visiting and documenting large cities in the southeastern part of our country is always fraught with history, riven by conflict and conquest that stretches far beyond the first waves of Europeans who “discovered” this fertile and rich landscape. The snaking rivers, the forested crevices, the buffalo traces, the native artifacts and the incredible riches that were extracted from this region all reflect back a complicated story that seems so distant from the current times it’s almost a mirage—a ghostly past that doesn’t quite square with the reality on the ground, particularly in Natchez.

I’ll be honest in that I knew absolutely nothing about this 15,000-person city marking the southern terminus of the Trace. In fact, I just assumed it was a pitstop on the parkway and not a thriving destination of its own. Boy was I wrong. Natchez would go on to become one of my favorite Southern cities.

Established in 1716, Natchez is the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River; in fact, it beat New Orleans by two years. Back before the Civil War, around 90 percent of inhabitants were cotton plantation owners that built their wealth on the backs of thousands upon thousands of slaves, which is why grand mansions pepper the region.

Natchez boasts the most exquisite Antebellum collection of structures we’ve ever seen in our travels, which exist alongside vast plantations with forgotten names that were burned to the ground when the Union Army took control during the Civil War, and relatives of the slaves that harvested the cotton that built these homes still live here. The Civil War left the city of Natchez relatively untouched, which is why the architecture from the 18th and 19th century has been so well-preserved.

Follow the link below to read the full post and view fantastic images of Natchez.


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