In planning our two-week trip to the Deep South, we had made a reservation to stay for three days at Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, Louisiana, the largest surviving antebellum mansion in the United States. But a few weeks later, we were informed that our reservation had been canceled because Nottoway was planning a company party on those dates. So we made other plans. But while in the area, we decided to see if we could get pictures of Nottoway. We arrived about noon and, to our everlasting surprise, we drove right through the gate without being stopped. People were walking around with badges on their lapels. I told my wife: "Act as though you belong here." It worked. Nobody blinked as we toured the grounds. We walked to the front of the mansion and took pictures. We also took pictures at the family cemetery and in the gardens. Then we left. Someday, we'd love to reserve a room at Nottoway. Clearly, it is the grandest antebellum mansion in the country, bigger and more splendid than Oak Alley or Houmas House or Greenwood or Monmouth or Stanton Hall...40 elegantly appointed accommodations, including two honeymoon suites and seven bed & breakfast rooms, restaurant and bar, gift shop, nail and hair salon, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, museum, ballroom, theater. Walk out the front door, cross River Road, climb the levee and you get a marvelous view of the Mississippi River. Imagine what it was like when Nottoway was built in 1859, all 53,000 square feet of it, including a bowling alley, electric lights, running water and indoor plumbing. Even Versailles was never like this.
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