NATCHEZ IS A MUST VISIT IN JULY
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Dedicated Natchez master gardeners and citizens have long invested in the town's natural beauty and each July brings a full-on show with thousands of crepe myrtle trees reaching peak bloom season.
SCROLL FOR BLOOM MAPS!
I'm a longtime fan of the architecture and genuine hospitality Natchez offers. But in July of 2018, I was completely caught off-guard. I was stunned by the intense array of blooms! So, I asked around to understand how this happened, and a planned effort came clear. In addition to the ongoing commitment of its citizenry, Sallie Ballard, the architect of 2000 for 2000, funded planting of well over 2000 crepe myrtles for the millennium!
Instantly, I thought there needed to be a festival to draw attention to the extraordinary beauty of Natchez. And with plenty of help, I founded it! We met with Visit Natchez, the Chamber of Commerce, Master Gardeners and other Crepe Myrtle fans.
In 2019, we held the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival. We had speakers and social events, and visitors were drawn to Natchez to Celebrate the Blooms. We honored Sallie Ballard, who sadly passed away in 2017. Everyone had a fantastic experience!
I'm proud of what we accomplished in 2019 and to keep interest alive for 2020 & this year, Master Gardeners created self-guided map tours. We've particularly leaned upon our Crepe Myrtle Archivist, Elaine Gemmell. (Yes, she has archives!).
The results: a Sip & See Stroll, a downtown walking tour (worthy of 2-3 visits) along the open container route with reliable watering holes, fantastic restaurants, shops, and there're live music opportunities. The Bloom Drive takes you beyond downtown to include top area gardens, and I never tire of touring the Natchez City Cemetery's grounds, established in 1822 with over 500 Crepe Myrtles on-site. It's breathtaking!
I've already planned by trip with a few friends. We'll motor upriver in a couple weeks for 2 nights, and you bet, we'll take in all the beauty and deliciousness that Natchez represents. I encourage you to do the same.
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AND ONLINE AT VISITNATCHEZ.COM/EVENTS
Special Cocktails & Other Delights
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SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR ONLINE MAPS
PRINTED MAPS AVAILABLE SOON AT AREA NATCHEZ BUSINESSES:
SIP & SEE STROLL, BLOOM DRIVE, NATCHEZ CITY CEMETERY
Thank you Sponsors!
Peter Patout/Talbot Historic Properties
Country Roads Magazine
Ellen C. English
United Mississippi Bank ● G. Douglas Adams Photography
Donna Ballard Masselli in honor of Sallie Ballard
Adams County Master Gardeners ● Monmouth Historic Inn,
Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors
Sip & See Stroll Map
Bloom Drive Map
Natchez City Cemetery Map
I love the excitement of Mardi Gras and the many opportunities it brings to gather with friends...and it's the season to enjoy King Cake! And it's the perfect way to gather with small groups - your pod, during the pandemic.
I began this story in Feb of 2020 and have added a few more favorites! I still love everything from last year and there's more now on my list!
Louisiana has so many wonderful bakeries. I enjoy trying everything from the classic homespun cinnamon-flavored King Cakes we grew up and other offerings including 3 that I'm highlighting below.
What's your favorite? Leave a note to spread the word.
A Few King Cake Favorites
Their version of the traditional galette de rois. This is phenomenal! Flaky pastry is filled with pecan citrus frangipane! Local artist Jackie Brown makes the feves....Availability is limited. Call ahead or email to order. I emailed my order and they were very responsive. Get the large!
This new bakery is a great addition to the city.
LIMITED HOURS DUE TO COVID - CAN ORDER ONLINE
Levee Baking Co. • 3138 Magazine St., Ste D, New Orleans, LA 70115 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cajun Kringle
A crowd-pleaser! This is a classic offering from Haydel's: Flaky pastry with praline filling that's topped with caramel icing and decorated with pecans!
I picked mine up from the new 3117 Magazine Street outpost. For everything Haydel, visit their website or go to the mother store.
4037 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA, 70121
Crawfish King Cake
Garlic and butter brioche filled with warm Crawfish au Gratin and topped with colorful Parmesan Cheese.
Serve it warm with a green salad and you'll thank me later! I love this casual neighborhood gem in the Bywater. I haven't tried their sweet King Cake offerings and I'm tempted to do that soon with such heavenly sounding flavors as their Chantilly King Cake which is filled with Marscarpone Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries, and their Bouille King Cake that's filled with a Cajun custard....amongst their many offerings.
They are also offering a pop up location in the CBD for King Cake Season at 234 Loyola Street - in the Pythian Market, closed Wednesdays, 8am-6pm.
3624 Dauphine St. Bywater, New Orleans
The King Cake Bevi
get the recipe here!
Sip the flavors of Mardi Gras with this wonderful seasonal take on their ever popular Bourbon Milk Punch - this version made with rum. It's available to-go for taking in the street side revelry (HINT!). This is a delightful combination of homemade vanilla ice cream, orgeat syrup, cinnamon, orange, and local Old New Orleans Rum.
144 BOURBON STREET, NEW ORLEANS, LA 70130 504.522.0111
2021 New Offerings with Pairing Recommendations!
The insanity continues - More delicious offerings now than ever!
King Cake is a most excellent reason for celebratory
moments in safer small gatherings.
And another Shout out goes to Bywater Bakery!
Heaven in a bite! The Chantilly King Cake
filled with Mascarpone Cheese & Fresh Berries
Chicory Coffee Served Black in Hand-painted 1820's Paris Porcelain Demi Tasse
I make sure to use them every carnival season
to help celebrate life.
LA PETITE SOPHIE
Brioche Strawberries & Cream King Cake
PAIRING SUGGESTION: BOURBON MILK PUNCH!
Market + Eatery
HERE'S AN INSIDER'S TIP:
The Commissary is an extension of Dickie Brennan's restaurants and offers the most delectable items to create celebratory experiences.
A few menu highlights:
Bloody Mary's, party dishes like: Crab & Brie Dip, Beef Debris Po-Boys, Gumbo Ya-Ya, Red Bean Hummus, Pimento Cheese, Smoke Catfish Dip, and everyone's favorite: Crabmeat Cheesecake -whole or squares with a side of sautéed roasted mushrooms and Creole meunière sauce!
Angels are singing!
Here's another stunner from
this gem in Baton Rouge
Pink Champagne King Cake
with pink champagne mousse filling, iced, painted, sprinkled and glittered with everything pink!
Champagne is always a great idea!
HAPPY MARDI GRAS Y'ALL!
Click to Read My
Enjoy this Excerpt Below
Oh how I would have loved to have served the cocktail below to my dear friend Julia Reed. I enjoyed it when visiting Barbee and his wife Ashley Ponder recently.
Now this is a welcome drink!
THE DIRTY SUGAR
by Barbee Ponder
This libational masterpiece I made to welcome Peter and Lee Anne
to Covington for a weekend classical tour
Photo by Barbee Ponder
Dirty Sugar Recipe
She’s best prepared midday to be enjoyed that evening. Here’s how it’s done--
Take a vintage Bayel Venus de Milo cordial glass and wet the rim with fresh squeezed lemon juice.
Then dip her rim in a plate of M. A. Patout raw sugar.
(When you’ve spent the entire day grinding, there should be plenty around)
Move the rim around the raw sugar making sure it’s properly “dirtied” inside and out.
Next, in a small disposable plastic cup, add the following ingredients:
1.50 oz Cognac
0.75 oz Cointreau
0.75 oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Place both glass and cup in the freezer for a hard chill till evening.
Using this method to chill the drink, rather than ice in a shaker, ensures the drink is not diluted in the least. (After all, “water’s for gardens” ... not cocktails.)
That evening, when you’re ready .... for your toddy, take Venus out of the freezer, pour in the contents, and add a mist of Absinthe over the top with your atomizer.
She’s ready. Bottoms up!
The city is awash in blooms! Here's how to experience Natchez now!
Photo Credit: G. Douglas Adams
Last year year, I founded the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival because the extraordinary Crepe Myrtle Blooms of Natchez are worth celebrating! While there’s not a festival with speakers this year, our Committee members have created a perfect experience to Celebrate the Blooms!
There's three self-guided free tours have been developed by Crepe Myrtle Historian and Committee member, Elaine Gemmell:
Trees & Counting!
self-guided bloom tours
So here's a summer sightseeing trip idea: take in some of the loveliness and deliciousness that Natchez offers and experience the city in a low contact manner!
Rita Tebbetts tells us the trees are still moving towards peak season and that the blooms should be pretty possibly even into August!
"Of course, mother nature didn't get the Co-Vid memo. Come to Natchez to take in the show. the beauties won't mind a bit if you want to snap a few photos to share with friends. You'll need evidence anyway to prove to doubters what you will witness.
The best photos are probably done from a distance, but these trees won't mind if you want to move in close. I don't think they will be taking social distancing too seriously," Tebbetts said.
Take in the magnificent architecture of Natchez!
In addition to digital downloads at
Self-guided bloom tour maps are available:
Fat Mama's Tamales
Rolling N' The Dough
Natchez Brewing Company
Biscuits & Blues
The Guest House
Natchez Coffee Company
Natchez Grand Hotel
Pearl Street Pasta
Silver Street Gifts
Natchez Convention Center
Photo Credit: Ben Hillyer
Natchez Celebrates the Blooms FB event page
See 2019 News Stories & Details
On Press Page:
Scroll down the page to read about last year's event.
Enjoy the Blooms!
Through this difficult time, I hope you are well. I'm writing to share a few things that lift my spirit in hopes that I can help lift yours.
The incomparable beauty of the south, our rich history & culture, phenomenal cuisine, my dear friends and family, and my faith buoy me through challenging times.
I'm even upbeat about the market for historic homes, and I'm excited that my listings are featured in 2 national news stories! I appreciate your allowing me to share that good news.
And, I'm not going anywhere. Please reach out to me. Call me on my cell (504) 481-4790, or send me an email: email@example.com to help you purchase or sell historic homes in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Please consider sharing my blog & website with your friends. See my client referrals at zillow.com.
My best to you,
LOUISIANA IRISES ARE IN BLOOM!
See Press for more News!