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Bank’s travel club explores antebellum homes in Natchez, Miss.

The Natchez Fall Pilgrimage drew 54 members of the Citizens Bank Travel Club to Natchez, Miss., which was a prominent city in the pre-Civil War years as a center of cotton planters and Mississippi River trade.

Over four days in September, club members visited eight antebellum mansions and toured the area, learning much about the city’s role as one of the oldest and most important European settlements in the lower Mississippi River Valley.

Established by French colonists in 1716, the strategic location of Natchez, on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, ensured that it would be a pivotal center of trade, commerce, and the interchange of ethnic Native American, European, and African cultures in the region.

On their first evening in Natchez, members toured Landsdowne Mansion, which was built in 1853. Following dinner, the group was treated to a concert that featured varying musical styles from Mississippi’s past, ranging from gospel to rock and roll.

Natchez-1-Longwood-Exterior-Sept-2018.jpgThe Longwood Mansion in Natchez, Miss.

The following day, the club toured the beautiful Longwood Mansion, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Construction on the nation’s largest octagonal mansion began in 1860, but was halted in 1861 by rising tensions over the Civil War. All but the lowest level of the mansion’s interior was left unfinished – and will always remain unfinished to preserve its historical significance.

Natchez 4 - Choctaw Hall - DGarner - Sept 2018.jpgOwner David Garner (standing right) welcomes guests to Choctaw Hall before he recites the history and features of the 1836 mansion. Garner previously owned Marlsgate Plantation in Scott, Ark.

One of the other antebellum homes on the Natchez Fall Pilgrimage was Choctaw Hall, which was built in 1836. Owners David Garner and Lee Glover treated their guests to a lavish dinner, tour and historical presentation about Choctaw Hall. Garner and Glover formerly owned the Marlsgate Plantation in Scott, Ark., which the club visited in 2017.

Natchez 6 - Choctaw Hall Staircase - Sept 2018.jpgTravel Club members file up and down the unique circular staircase between the first and third floors of Choctaw Hall. The staircase is an example of late Federal-style architecture.
Natchez 3 - Choctaw Hall - Sept 2018.jpgFifty-four members of the Citizens Bank Travel Club gather on the front porch of the Choctaw Hall in Natchez, Miss. before entering the 1836 mansion and enjoying a dinner and tour. / All images via Citizens Bank

Reservations are currently being accepted for the two major trips that have been scheduled by the Travel Club for 2019. “Classic Italy by Rail” is the destination for the club’s premier international excursion for 10 days in October 2019. The prime domestic trip next May will cover nine days and includes the Holland Tulip Festival in Holland, Mich.; two nights in the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island; and other tours.

The Citizens Bank Travel Club’s complete 2019 calendar of events will be announced soon.

For additional information about these trips, visit the Citizens Bank Main Branch in downtown Batesville, or contact Chuck Jones by email at or call (870) 698-6233.


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