Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Town

The first 31 years of my life I lived in Louisiana.  My mother was born and raised there.  She met my father at the Veteran's Hospital in New Orleans.  My father was born and raised in Mississippi.  Yes, that song "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" could be about my parents.  I have visited Mississippi many times and a few of those have been with my husband...including this road trip to Natchez.  (There is my brand new car in the background...our first trip with GPS!)

December 2006 - State # 24 - Mississippi

We planned a visit to Baton Rouge to see my siblings and their families before Christmas.  So we changed our route slightly to include the quaint river town of Natchez, Mississippi.  This city is known for having one of the largest and finest collections of antebellum architecture anywhere in the south.  And one of those beautiful homes was our hotel...

And we had the Riches Suite...can you say, Hello Scarlett O'Hara!

On our drive from Atlanta, we arrived in the capital city of Jackson in time for dinner.  We had a wonderful meal at Schimmel's.

I had seen the chef/owner, Jay Schimmel, on an episode of Iron Chef and was intrigued.  (I gather travel advice from many sources.)  While he did not win the title, we were not disappointed in his "hometown" restaurant!  Our favorites of each course were...
  • 1st course - Warm Goat Cheese & Roasted Tomato Tart with Grilled Olive Toast, Arugula & Brie Fondue Reduction
  • 2nd Course - Smoked Cheddar & Crawfish Chowder - Silky Smooth Cheddar Cheese Soup with Plump Crawfish Tails & Cajun Seasoning
  • 3rd Course - Parmesan & Crab Crusted Gulf Snapper with Lemon Butter
  • 4th Course - Key Lime Pie with Praline Crust & Dee’s Delta Lotus Cream

On our first morning in town, we took a Southern Carriage Tour through historic downtown Natchez.  The carriages hold 6 to 8 people and last for an hour or so.  The gentlemen guides are gracious and tell funny stories about the historic structures all along the route.  Our driver/guide was retired from the music business; he told us about his days playing guitar with Elvis!


Because of the record setting cold while we were there, our driver provided warm, woolen blankets and hot cocoa.  Now that was..."Love Me Tender." 

After the tour, we decided to have lunch right on the river, someplace warm with cocktails...

I suppose because we were dressed in so many layers for the cold, the margaritas did NOT actually
"Knock us Naked!" 

After lunch we shopped at Natchez-Under-The-Hill.  This Mississippi town is situated on 200-ft bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River.  Under-The-Hill was the city's original waterfront which was notorious for drawing pirates, riverboat gamblers and outlaws.  These days it draws tourists with restaurants, bars, gift shops and docks for paddle-wheelers.

We returned to Monmouth Plantation and toured the lovely grounds and admired the Christmas decorations.

That evening we joined all of the other guests at cocktail hour for complimentary amuse bouches from the chef in The Quitman Study.  Then we settled in for a prix fixe dinner in their restaurant, 1818

Dinner is served nightly beginning at 6:30 in the main-house parlor, where every table is dressed in fine linens, gleaming silver, sparkling crystal and timelessly elegant china.  This was the most elegant setting for dinner we have ever enjoyed.  And there were "No Labels on the Table!"  (Just like my house.) 

At 1818, their award-winning Executive Chef Scott Varnedoe, crafts a white-tablecloth menu noted for rich, spicy Acadian influences coupled with world-class presentation.  The menu changes every night so our recommendations would not be useful to you...but we do hope the chef serves you Lobster Bisque with Caviar when you dine here!

The next morning, after breakfast in the Garden Room, we said farewell to Natchez and drove to my sister's home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  And that's where we Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

Mary & Mike
My Sister and Her Husband
This couple's photo should be in the dictionary next to "Southern Hospitality!" 

On this visit, they even hosted a "Class Reunion" of sorts, right in their home.  And as always, they served bountiful and delicious food and wine.  I hope the two of you know that we are so grateful to be counted as family.

Central High School
 Class of 73 & 74
So it was a very, merry Christmas visit to Mississippi and Louisiana.  And besides completing State # 24, we had a wonderful time with family and friends.

And as promised, Spring is officially here! 
And making an early appearance here in Georgia, the dreaded...

Next time...

Land of 10,000 Lakes
(We saw one!)


1 comment:

  1. I finally got a chance to catch up on your blog. OMG, I think you could end up getting one of those gigs soon where someone pays you to blog! It looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing.