NATCHEZ – The June/July issue of Southern Living magazine features an article on “five historic homes with some of the most beautiful views in Mississippi,” and they’re all in Natchez.
The story, “The Porches of Natchez,” features Linden’s owners and famous fronts, Marjorie Feltus Hawkins and the late Jeanette Feltus; Concord Quarters, Debbie and Greg Cosey; Edelweiss, Caroline and Greg Islands; Garden Song Guest House, Dan Gibson; and Historic Oak Hill Inn, Doug Mauro and Don McGlynn.
Unbeknownst to them at the time, Southern Living paid Hawkins and his family a final tribute to his late mother Jeanette Feltus, who died Oct. 1, 2021, months after the magazine’s interview and photoshoot.
“I wish my mom was here to see it,” Hawkins said of the magazine article. She described her feelings as “bittersweet”. When the family learned the magazine was coming for an interview and photoshoot last year, Hawkins said her mother was “tickled pink” about it.
Linden has been in the same family since 1849 and Feltus ran operations there for four decades. Hawkins said she learned she shared things in common with her ancestors who lived in the house, including an October 30 birthday with the late Jane Gustine Conner, who died in December 1896 at the age of 94.
Hawkins told the magazine that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it gave him the opportunity to revamp Linden’s guest rooms so the property could become a destination wedding venue while maintaining its classic look. pre-war. She and her husband, David, used their experience designing hotel rooms to replace the linens and decor in each of the rooms, giving them a “clean, classic look for brides,” Hawkins said.
Now open for more than a year, Hawkins said Linden stayed busy before the magazine article was published.
“Our social media is exploding with it, mostly with our customers praising us,” she said. “You never know where all of this might lead.”
Debbie Cosey, the African-American owner of Concord — or what remains of what was originally a 1,000-acre plantation until a fire took over the main house in 1901 — continues to honor the 124 men, women and children who were once enslaved there.
The building, which has been renovated to form a B&B, with three spacious bedrooms and a split-level rear gallery facing gardens and centuries-old oak trees, was originally built as a dairy and pantry that could accommodate 20 slaves, the magazine states.
Also in this issue, New York Times best-selling author and Natchez native Greg Iles told the magazine that Edelweiss, an 1883 property with a “fairytale facade,” has been one of his favorites since. his childhood. When the house became available for purchase in 2008, Iles jumped at the chance with the intention of using it as an office to create his published works. He and his wife completed three and a half years of renovations before an injury in a car accident in 2011 made it impossible for Iles to climb the many stairs every day. Instead, he and his wife Caroline occasionally host parties and book signings there and rent them out as Airbnbs.
Also do an appearance in the magazine. Mauro told the magazine that opening a B&B was not in the original plan. But after two years of renovations to make it livable, Oak Hill Inn consistently earns a spot on Trip Advisors Traveler’s Choice Award list of the best B&Bs in the country, and in 2014 it was ranked third in the world.
Garden Song, located on an intimate corner of Washington Street, has tranquil gardens and a front gallery overlooking a street lined with crape myrtles. Plus, it happens to be owned by Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson.
Southern Living notes that Natchez is likely one of the few towns that allows visitors to stay in the mayor’s house. This was the case for Gibson before he married his wife, the former Marla Toman, in December 2021. Gibson and First Lady Marla live in a house in Orleans in Natchez.
Gibson also displayed many other skills, ranging from B&B host, pianist and associate pastor to lobbyist.
“I was surprised when they reached out last year,” Gibson said of the magazine. He added that he had a short 30-minute window between meetings and business in town to turn into something casual for the photo shoot.
“I didn’t hear much about them after that. I had a sinking feeling that it didn’t make the cut. Then I got phone calls saying, “You’re in there,” Gibson said.
Gibson said as mayor he doesn’t have much time left to focus on his other skills, but continues to enjoy downtime on Garden Song’s quiet porch and uses his musical talent to perform at occasional charity events. His new wife, Marla, took over much of the management of the properties. Gibson also owned the Stanton Guest House until he recently sold it to a couple from Arkansas.
“I loved it so much,” Gibson said of running the B&B. “I want to make the most of my time as mayor. Not every city experiences the economic growth and opportunity we have and I don’t take that for granted. … We’ve started too far to let it stop. I put a big part of my life on hold to be mayor, but I really feel like I’m living my calling.