Natchez Trace, Day 5: NatchezAs much as any other city, Natchez, Mississippi, offers a glimpse into the history of the American South. Home to more than 75 neoclassical and Greek revival homes and an enviable collection of more than 500 antebellum structures, Natchez offers visitors the opportunity to step into a 19th century atmosphere and experience its grace and charm without some of the ugly institutions that underpinned the plantation way of life.
|Entrance to Dunleith (c.1856)|
|Stanton Hall (c.1858), widely considered the grandest of the Natchez mansions|
|Turning Angel, Natchez City Cemetery|
When you drive down Cemetery Road, the angel appears to be looking directly at you. Yet once you pass the monument and look back over your shoulder, the angel is still looking at you. Thus the appellation: the turning angel....So famous is this legend that every Natchez teenager at some point in his life drives or is driven down the dark stretch of road to watch the angel turn. Thus has legend spawned a rite of passage for all the children in the town. (Turning Angel, Greg Iles, 2005)
We did not observe the optical illusion, but it seems to be a phenomenon best observed at night—and maybe in the presence of locals to convince you that you saw the angel turn.
|St. Mary Basilica|
With hopes of getting home today, we were unable to sample much that Natchez has to offer. Though we didn't put the city high on our list of places to return to, we certainly wouldn't object to passing this way again. As some of the promotions by the local Chamber of Commerce suggest, Natchez is well-suited as a destination for a "Girlfriends Getaway." Lest we get too frilly here, consider that the Natchez Pilgrimage is held annually in the spring and fall, same as the Angola Prison Rodeo at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, and the two cities are only an hour and a half apart. Hmmm. It does set the mind wandering...
Photos Tell the Natchez Story Better
|Dunleith (c.1856), operated as a historic inn today|
|Glen Auburn (c.1875)|
|Magnolia Hall (c.1858)|
|Melrose (c.1849), under restoration by National Park Service|
|Stanton Hall (c.1858)|
|Rosalie (c.1823), served as Union Army HQ during occupation|
|Detail, Stanton Hall portico|
|Natchez City Cemetery|
|Even the town water tower is picturesque.|