Day 4: December 26, 2006
Starting the Trace
Previous Day
Next Day

Mammy's Cupboard, Natchez, MS Mammy's Cupboard, Natchez, MS Mammy's Cupboard, Natchez, MS I knew this place, a half dozen miles south of Natchez, only serves lunch, so I timed my arrival for just a few minutes after their normal opening time. No luck. Mammy's Cupboard wasn't bare but it wasn't open either. The good news is the blue sky visible behind Mammy's head. The day started out in the forties and would eventually reach fifty-something. Clear & crisp.

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez, MS Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez, MS Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez, MS Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez, MS I had actually pulled through the parking lot at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians yesterday during a little exploratory driveabout. I hadn't stopped since the museum was certainly closed and it was too cold and wet to go roaming around the mounds. Still no luck with the museum but it was a pretty good day to walk the path and read the signs. This site was occupied when the French started moving in around 1682. In 1716 they established Fort Rosalie where the city of Natchez is today and the Indians soon figured out that the Frenchmen weren't planning on leaving anytime soon. In 1729, the Natchez massacred everyone at Fort Rosalie in a well organized attack and briefly returned to life without Europeans. They soon became painfully aware that the fort had held just a tiny bit of the world's supply of French. Very few Natchez Indians survived the retaliation and they disappeared into slavery or nearby tribes. The Natchez tribe ceased to exist.

Longwood Mansion, Natchez, MS Longwood Mansion, Natchez, MS Longwood Mansion, Natchez, MS Longwood Mansion, Natchez, MS Longwood Mansion, Natchez, MS Longwood Mansion, Natchez, MS I had read that, if you can only see one Natchez mansion, make it Longwood and a fellow I spoke with at the Under the Hill Saloon said almost exactly the same thing. Not only did this place come highly recommended, it was open. Construction started on the six story building in 1860 and proceeded rapidly right up to the day workmen heard that war had broken out. The shell was pretty much complete as was the bottom floor or basement. The owners, Haller & Julia Nutt, moved in to wait out the war in the basement's mere 10,000 square feet of space. The Nutts expected the war to be over in ninety days or so. That guess was, of course, way off and neither Mr. Nutt or the family fortune survived the four year war. Mrs. Nutt was not destitute but there wasn't enough money left to even consider finishing the house. She seems to have become rather skilled at putting off her creditors and among the debts that were never settled was Samuel Sloan's $5,000 fee for designing the house. Pictures show the pocket shutters Sloan designed to avoid the unattractive sight of open curved top panels, some of the stuff left behind when work ceased, and a view up to the unfinished dome. The last picture is of the twenty-four foot wooden finial that once sat atop the dome. Woodpeckers worked it over pretty good and, when the house was restored, it was replaced by a $50,000 fiberglass version that woodpeckers have no use for. The original cost $250 but, as with so many things, you get what you pay for when it comes to woodpecker proofing your finial.

Auburn Mansion, Natchez, MS Auburn Mansion, Natchez, MS Another saloon patron recommended the Auburn house which is fairly close to Longwood. It turned out to be another place where I was one day early.

Natchez Under the Hill, MS Natchez Under the Hill, MS Back at Longwood, while we waited for the tour to start, a Missouri couple asked for lunch suggestions and I listened in. Two of the places mentioned were in Louisiana and, since I had a short Louisiana excursion in mind, I decided I'd give them a try. I went to Slough Daddy's first primarily because it is on the river. It was closed but I used the parking lot to take pictures of Under the Hill from over the river. The Sandbar was open and, for $6.50, they supplied me with a mound of excellent catfish.

Ferriday, LA Ferriday, LA This is the real reason for my river crossing but it was sort of closed, too. Connected to the drive-through is the home of Jerry Lee Lewis' sister, Frankie. The house is reportedly filled with memorabilia and visitors are normally welcomed for a donation. But not today. I spoke with Frankie's husband who explained that his wife had gone to Tennessee to visit relatives for Christmas. I should have asked, but didn't, whether it was to Jerry Lee's place near Memphis. Since he was the only one there and had to tend to the drive-through, there could be no tour. In hindsight, I wish I had begged for a peek inside but I'm determined to get back someday.

Southern Terminus, Natchez Trace Parkway Southern Terminus, Natchez Trace Parkway Southern Terminus, Natchez Trace Parkway Southern Terminus, Natchez Trace Parkway Now here's the point of the whole trip or at least the thing it grew around. The Natchez Trace Parkway starts just a couple of miles from the river near where US-61 crosses Liberty Road. From Liberty, an entrance ramp curves around to cross the pictured overpass and the Parkway begins. Almost immediately, there is a convenient pullover next to the DAR marker and a panel providing a quick overview of the Trace and its history.

Elizabeth Female Academy, Natchez Trace Parkway Elizabeth Female Academy, Natchez Trace Parkway That wall has been standing a long time but is all that is left of the Elizabeth Female Academy. The academy operated between 1818 and 1845.

Natchez Trace Parkway An Airstream heading up the Parkway is a great photo op and I wish I could have done better than this through the windshield shot. I saw this same Airstream in the parking lot of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians when I returned to my car.

Natchez Trace Parkway Natchez Trace Parkway This is the first place where the "sunken trace" can be seen. Many years of passing feet and hoofs have worn away several feet of the soft soil.

Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace Parkway Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace Parkway Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace Parkway Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace Parkway They say this is smaller than Cahokia's Monk's Mound but it's kind of hard to tell. They are both huge. Emerald Mound was built and abandoned by the Natchez before the mounds at Grand Village. Two round mounds set atop the large flat mound and fifty-one steps lead to the top of the largest. The sun was getting low and the mound casts a really big shadow with me on top. It makes me look quite thin and that's pretty cool.

Loess Bluff, Natchez Trace Parkway Mount Locust, Natchez Trace Parkway Not long after I stopped at Loess Bluff and pulled up to the closed gate at Mount Locust, the sun was gone. I headed into Port Gibson with intentions of spending the night there. I had read of at least one motel in town and one not-in-the-budget B&B. The motel was closed and I saw no evidence of others. The GPS showed lots of motels in Vicksburg which I was surprised to see was less than twenty-five miles away. Looks like I'll get to walk some of that battlefield after all.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Home] [Contact] [Next]