Natchez, MS and Melrose

4/8/13 Monday at Natchez, MS (Natchez State Park)

I washed, then dried sheets and cleaned house while John lubricated the 3 slides and reattached a part to the Brake Buddy. We made reservations for Legion State Park, near the Trace. We were on our way by 11 am to Natchez Visitor Center where we purchased tickets to the Longwood mansion. Since the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage Tours were still available, we considered them. They are sets of 3 mansion tours in the morning and more sets in the afternoon. One set costs $30 each. We just didn’t feel we were that into antebellum homes. This is the premier place and time to see them, though, so the place gets crowded with those who are that interested. There is also the Natchez Tableau, a play about the South before the Civil War. There was great wealth here before that war. Natchez had the most millionaires in the country at that time. After the war were years of economic struggle, so the Pilgrimage concentrates on the time before.

We enjoyed lunch in a park near St. Mary Basilica, then went on to part of the Natchez National Historical Park, the William Johnson house (built and owned by a freed African American), but the ranger was at lunch, so we moved on to the Longwood plantation home.

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 Longwood, the largest octagonal house in America. Work progressed rapidly on this home until April 1861, when the Civil War began. The builder’s Philadelphia craftsmen dropped their tools and fled North. Mr. Nutt, the owner, tried to finish his home with local workers, but only managed to complete the basement (above ground). He died in 1863. His wife and 8 children continued living in the basement until she died in 1897.

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Many of the family’s original furnishings remain today. No photos were allowed of the basement, so what I have to share are of the unfinished upstairs, meant to be the main living area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 At the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is a reconstructed Natchez house and granary. Also an image of 2 of the ceremonial mounds here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is a mansion (Melrose) in the Natchez National Park, so a tour of it only costs seniors (over 62) $5 each. The Ranger let me take photos as long as I didn’t use the flash. The rooms were quite dark, with the heavy blinds drawn, to avoid ultraviolet light.

 

 

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 This is one piece of furniture, for the ladies.

 

 

 

 

 

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 These are all original furnishings, because only 3 families owned this home. The first lived here for years, then the next owners kept the original pieces. Pretty amazing. This parlor is filled with gold gild. You see the Ranger showing us information on his I Pad. That was fun.

 

 

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 In the dining room you can see the “shoo fly” fan above the table. The top was attached to a rope that could be pulled from the wall by a servant, to shoo the flies away and give breezes to the diners.

 

 

 

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 Furniture for the ladies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 The bedroom. They had hooks at the top of the bed for hanging mosquito nets. Since these had feather mattresses, they had to “roll” the mattress straight after each use, so for naps the owners used the day bed, at its foot.

 

 

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 A unique rose on the grounds.

We made our way home pretty darn tired.

 

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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