Nottoway was completed in 1859. This 53,000 Square foot mansion took 8 years to plan and 2 years to build. John Randolph was originally a cotton planter but believed a fortune could be made in sugar production, so he mortgaged his smaller home and 46 slaves to borrow money to build the first steam-operated sugar mill in Iberville Parish. Well on his way to becoming a sugar magnate, he built "white castle" for his wife and 11 children. (Actually 9 of them were born there.)
Built on the banks of the Mississippi, it was extermely innovative for its time with hot and cold running water and 3 bathrooms with sinks, tubs and flush toilets. The ceilings are 15 feet high and the doors on the main level are 11 feet. It's built on 3 levels with 64 rooms, 27 of which were closets, 6 interior staircases, 165 doors and 200 windows.
The 200 year old oak trees were absolutely majestic!
The gates lead out to the Mississippi River. The green levee behind them wasn't built until the 1960's. Today you can see the river from the balcony on the upper floor.
The most unique room is the semi-circular white ballroom. All of the wood used to build the house is cypress, which is impervious to water and termites. It took 6 years to soak the cypress because it will only bend 1 inch per year.
The main reason I took a picture of this place setting is because of the knife holder, if that's what it's called. I would definitely use them if they were available today. How many times has my knife slid off the plate? More times than I can count. Perhaps I'll go on a quest.
After the tour we had a southern lunch at the Mansion House Restaurant (the restaurant is on the first floor of the mansion. See the tables in there?)--lump crab cake, cornbread and broccolini. Best cornbread I've had since we arrived in the South. I thought everyone knew how to make cornbread down here, but I've changed my mind. Finally, moist cornbread. It probably has a pound of butter in it!
I've given up trying to match pictures with captions. There must be something wrong with my computer!