Tuesday night Tim and I got a treat of a lifetime. For Christmas, Leroy and Sylvia gave us a night’s stay at Nottoway Plantation, the largest remaining antibellum mansion in the southern United States. The Bradshaws have a unique connection to this home in White Castle, LA.
The original owner, John Hampden Randolph, was born in Nottoway County, VA, near Blackstone Virginia in 1813. He left his beloved Nottoway to grow sugarcane in Louisiana. When he arrived, the parcel of land on the banks of the Mississippi that he hoped to buy was not for sale. So instead he settled miles from the river and began purchasing parcels of land one acre at a time. Over the next 17 years he owned not only the parcel he originally hoped for but a total of 7000 acres. Now as a very successful farmer, he built a home that befitted his station.
8 years and 80,000 dollars later, Nottoway Plantation was born on the banks of the Mississippi, named for Randolph’s birthplace in Virginia. The majestic house survived the Civil War with only a single cannon shot lodged in a pillar. When Union Soldiers arrived to the area, they visited the plantation with a white flag in hand. A ranking Union officer had known Randolph’s son in college and had even spent a night in their home prior to the war. He promised to keep the Plantation safe – and it was never harmed.
Only 4 people have owned the house since. Today it is owned by Sir Paul Ramsey, an Aussie, who purchased the property in 1985 for $4 million dollars. Since then he put in an additional $10 million to refurbish the property and repair the damage from Hurricane Gustav in 2008.
Today the property and people are incredible. Tim and I drank Mint Julips in the Coachman Bar followed by Etoufee and Red Snapper in the new dining room. We slept in the Plantation’s oldest building, the luxurious Overseer’s Cabin, and ate breakfast under the ancient Live Oaks. We learned about the symbolism within the ornate carved crown mouldings that decorate the mansion and worked using the fastest internet we’ve had on our entire trip. No detail was overlooked.
Thank you so much to Leroy and Sylvia for this amazing experience!
Today finds us deep in the bayou at Sam Houston Jones State Park. On our way here, we stopped at Mulate’s in Beaux Bridge, where a cajun band plays every night and you can find all the fried frog legs that you can eat. We stayed for the band and the Maryland/Duke Game. The manager was a born and bred Creole Duke fan, a rare combination. We traded good natured jabs and watched what ended up being an excellent game, cajun style!