LOVE TO WANDER
We moved on from White City to Natchez today, travelling up the river road and crossing the mighty Mississippi at Baton Rouge. The river road cannot be described as a scenic highway. The sugar cane plantations and cotton farms that used to flank the banks of the snaking river river were gradually replaced by metro chemical plants - this has always been a working river.
What's on my playlist - it has to be Lucinda Williams - all the way. She was born around here, in Lake Charles and the drive brings her songs to life. I'd always wanted to see the Baton Rouge she sings about - it was something of a disappointment when I got there, although not really a surprise,
A few more twists and turns in the road and an unintentional detour brought us to a dead end in Angola - slap bang at the entrance of the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Well this wasn't part of the plan! "Tim's Tours" saved the day by discovering a little museum at the entrance which actually proved to be quite fascinating. This place had the unenviable reputation of being THE worst prison in the US. I suppose the middle of an alligator infested swamp is the perfect place for a high security prison. In 1951, conditions were so bad that 8 inmates participated in what became known as the heel stringing incident - they cut their achilles tendons as a protest against the squalor and brutality in the prison. Thankfully, prison reform gradually improved conditions here from then on. They have some interesting exhibits:
We stopped for a bite to eat in downtown Woodville. It didn't look like it had much to offer at first sight, but calling in at the antique shop on the corner yielded a great jug of freshly brewed coffee, the discovery of Gator Tators, a recipe for pecan brittle and a new book for my reading list. Not bad for a quick pit stop!
Pretty Natchez was quite a contrast to the scenery we had seen en route. If you fancied a place here, you could by a 4 bed mansion house in the middle of town for $299,000. Fancy something a tad larger? You could have bought the whole of Nottoway Plantation for $3.1 million last year. Compare that to the cost of a shoebox flat in London! The hotel we are staying in here was bought from a bank as a result of a bankruptcy - times are getting tight around here.
The café in Woodville was all out of Ooey Gooey, so I never got to see or taste it - it's still on my wish list though.
Missing out on seeing Whitney Plantation is still bugging me as it might have helped answer some of the question I still have about slavery. I have a real need to establish the accurate historical facts here without any form of sugar coating - some research needed when I have time back home ...
Gator Tator chips - finger licking' good!
What I'm reading (thanks to the pit stop):
Coming of Age in Mississippi - Ann Moody