It was another first time in the state for both Judy and Doug when we crossed the river to Natchez, Mississippi on January 9, 2020. Our morning log says that we had driven the van over 5,000 miles, with over 3500 on this trip. It was 64 degrees – very reasonable!
The Visitor Center provided good information for our walking tour that day, and also had exhibits discussing cotton growing and production. We learned that the owners of the farms and slaves did not usually live at the plantation – their families lived in the towns.
The cotton gin changed the world and created an economic dilemma. One slave could pick the seeds out of one pound of cotton in a day. After the gin was invented, the amount of cotton being grown could not keep the machines busy, so more sources of cotton were required. The producers looked to the new territories in the west where more cotton could be grown. This pushed the discussion of slavery and slave states rapidly toward the Civil War.
We walked through Natchez and toured Rosalie, a plantation owner’s mansion. It is an elegant home, more what we had expected to see in the south.
In 1716 the French built a fort on the bluffs of Natchez and named it Rosalie in honor of the Countess of Pontchartrain. The mansion was built on a portion of the former fort property, so the name stuck. Today Rosalie is owned and operated by the Mississippi State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Natchez Bluff Trail includes the Bridge of Sighs and provides panoramic views of the Mississippi River. You can see how high Natchez sits over the river.
We reached the bottom of the hill for a close up view of the river boat and stopped for a late lunch at the Magnolia Grill. The waitstaff there told us about occasional shut downs when the river is high and we saw examples of the sandbags used during flood seasons.