Antebellum Homes Spring to Life in Natchez
PHOTO: Stanton Hall, Natchez, Miss. (Photo courtesy Natchez Pilgrimage Tour)
This year, Natchez, Miss., is celebrating a special year. It’s the tricentenniel celebration of the city, founded when construction of the fort was complete on Aug. 3, 1716. With such a long history, especially in a country as young as ours, Natchez is home to its fair share of historic places. In fact, there are more than 1,000 places on the national historic register.
Each spring, the city welcomes visitors to celebrate a collection of prolific homes that are part of what makes Natchez the “Jewel of the Mississippi.” Spring Pilgrimage is a time during March and April when visitors are invited into the city’s well-known antebellum mansions to experience a bygone era firsthand. While some homes are open to the public, the Spring Pilgrimage is special in that the homes included are private and are rarely open to visitors except during this special time.
“We have such a rich history in Natchez with so many stories to tell.” said Natchez Mayor Butch Brown. “The Spring Pilgrimage serves as a way to bring those stories to life.”
There are morning and afternoon tours led by docents who are actual descendents of the original homeowners. This is part of a tradition that dates back to 1932. Tour leaders get into the spirit of the celebration, dressing in the period costumes that include hoop skirts and other finery of the time. Guides share stories, historical information about the homes and talk about the residents.
The pilgrimage tours will be led by actual descendants of the original homeowners, a tradition that dates back to 1932. Costumed in hoop skirts and other period finery, the docents will share stories and historical information about the homes and their residents. While select homes are open throughout the year, Spring Pilgrimage is an exclusive opportunity for visitors to tour private residences that are rarely open to the public.
Tours are available on a single basis or can be purchased in packages. Tours of a single home are $18 per adult and a three-house packages is $45. Youth tickets are available and cost $12 for a single home tour and $30 for the package.
In addition to the home tours, Natchez’s past comes to life in another ways during the spring. There are special musical performances, plays, and storytelling events. A highlight is the Historic Natchez Tableaux, a reenactment that offers a glimpse into the 300-year evolution of the city.
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During the Spring Pilgrimage, the tableaux will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at the City Auditorium. Tickets are $15
The city will honor its 300 years of heritage with a variety of ongoing events. On Aug. 3, the birth of the city, a celebration will take place at the Natchez National Historic Park, commemorating Fort Rosalie with delegations from both France and Canada. The festivities will include a 300-gun salute and some old-fashioned birthday fun.
The yearlong festivities will come to a close on Dec. 3, with a special celebration and multicultural holiday parade revolving around the diverse ethnic backgrounds that are the backbone of the historic city.
More by Janeen Christoff
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