Day 6: Cotton Alley

Today, we started in Natchez, Mississippi, a really interesting town with lots to look at. We wanted to go to New Orleans, but I had the brilliant idea to swing through Baton Rouge, to see the Louisiana state capital and the LSU campus. As you shall see, not my best move.

Natchez was spared damage in the Civil War, since it surrendered early. It was largely populated by immigrants from the North, who had no interest in fighting to the death on the side of the Confederacy. The town was the center of the nation’s cotton industry. At one point, 1/2 of the millionaires in the U.S. lived in Natchez!

We toured a couple of houses in Natchez. The first, the Dunleith house, has the worst tour guide we’ve ever encountered. After she spent twenty excruciatingly-boring minutes on the first room of the house, almost the entire tour group left. Dreadful! But it gave us lots to discuss with our kids about public speaking.

The second house was Longwood, which was fascinating. The house was designed as an octagon, and I have to say, I’m surprised the design hasn’t caught on. The house was only partially completed when the Mississippi economy collapsed at the end of the Civil War, and only the basement is finished. But it was an incredibly interesting tour, with (thankfully!) a great tour guide.

Our slight detour to Baton Rouge proved challenging. First, the drive down ended up going through a long construction zone (thank you, ARRA), and we got behind a VERY slow truck. We found the state capitol fine, and hung out there for an hour in sunny, 60 degree weather, which was fabulous. We then tried to go to the LSU campus. I — stupidly — put “Louisiana State University” into my Tom-Tom GPS system, and off we went . . . in a crazily indirect route through some very nerve-wracking neighborhoods. We ultimately ended up at a dumpy building marked “LSU Health Services”, with no sign of any other LSU buildings. At that point, we had our fill of Baton Rouge and headed to New Orleans, never to see any more of the LSU campus.

After a long day, with too much driving, we ended up in New Orleans. Tomorrow should be fun, and I for one am hoping we stay a couple of days.

No videos today, or particularly good Rosie stories. She ate lots of grass at the grounds of the capitol, and turned lots of heads in Natchez. And at one point, a bunch of Japanese tourists at the State Capitol “oohed” and “aahhed” over her.

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