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Featuring Karen Revell and Laura Stone as they reminisce on their Lower Mississippi River cruise aboard American Duchess in late 2019.

We know there’s nothing quite like personal experience. It’s the little things. The smells, the music, the colours, the people you meet, the food you taste and the joys you discover that all add up to your opinion on a port of call – right?

In November 2019, before the world went mad, our special Key Partnership Managers, Karen Revell and Laura Stone, took a trip on the gorgeous paddlewheeler, American Duchess. We’ve asked them to take a deep dive into different ports of call for us in this series. Today’s episode features Nottoway Plantation.

Nottoway Plantation is an Antebellum plantation house built in 1859 and located near White Castle, Louisiana on the Mississippi River. Antebellum refers to the style of architecture. It means pre-war and refers to those buildings constructed prior to the American Civil War. It now serves as a resort destination and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America program and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Great Expectations

Karen says, “What did I expect? I guess I hadn’t done much research prior to going on the cruise – but I knew it was going to be amazing!  It sure didn’t disappoint, arriving and seeing the beautiful antebellum mansion from the American Duchess was such a beautiful surprise.  One thing that did exceed my expectations was that they had a buggy for those who were not able to walk over the small mound and across the road to the plantation home – so everyone was catered for.”


We asked Laura for her highlight of the day. “I found the story telling style of the guides- dressed in their antebellum gowns very fascinating. They really gave you a sense of what it was like to live in this house throughout the decades. They told you about how the house was built, through to how they cooked and took care of the family, to the scandals that went on with the Randolf family. It was really nice to see the history fully preserved throughout the grounds.” said Laura.

Interesting Facts

Laura was fascinated to hear how the Randolph’s (the original owners), created a call system due to the size of the house and grounds that seemed way ahead of it’s time. The house is the South’s larges extant antebellum plantation house and has 4900 square metres of floor space, 22 columns, 64 rooms and a 40 foot long entrance hall. During the Randolph’s ownership, Mr Randolph went to Texas to grow sugar during the war and left his wife and children to run the house and plantation.

Karen marvelled at the incredible finishings in the buildings. Including double curved granite staircases (one for ladies and one for men) and the fact that John Randolph destroyed the architect’s plans of the mansion after it was built to that the mansion couldn’t be duplicated.


Laura says, “To explore the house it was very easy. It was a short walk from the dock, but they had little golf carts to take us- door-to-door service. The grounds are large and took a bit of time to explore well, but very flat and easily accessible.”

Lasting Impressions