Set on a 250-foot-high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, Natchez is known for its annual spring pilgrimage of antebellum homes -- those built before (ante) the Civil War (bellum, Latin for war). It wasn't too many years ago that some residents in this very Southern town still called the Civil War "The War Between the States." Even local tour guides sometimes jokingly exaggerate local pronunciations by stretching "War" to two syllables.
Before "the War," Natchez was a ritzy town for white citizens. It was a cultural center with opera and more, counting among the 6,600 residents who lived here in 1860 as many as 22 millionaires, including cotton and sugar cane plantation owners from Louisiana who established their grand family homes in Natchez.
More than 600 pre-Civil War structures still stand, and many have been adapted for use as bed and breakfasts, shops, museums, homes and other facilities. There are so many because Natchez did not fight in the Civil War (unlike those upriver in Vicksburg, which was under siege by Union troops for 47 days before surrendering).
A battle between two garden clubs was the biggest struggle for years, but has long been settled in Natchez, which now has about 15,800 residents.
Natchez is 95 miles southwest of Jackson, Mississippi's capital, and 85 miles north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital. It marks the beginning of the Natchez Trace Parkway, a historic forest road without billboards or commercial buildings that extends north to Nashville.
Natchez Cruise Reviews
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