In the nineteenth century, the twenty seventh year, Katherine and Balfour Miller settled in Natchez Mississippi, and established residence here. The Civil War tho' long over had taken its toll; still the beauty of Natchez captivated their souls.
But shortly thereafter a Mr. Bo Weevil arrived. He had a huge appetite, although small in size. He killed King Cotton, "The Cream of The Crop"; that's when the depression settled in and the economy dropped.
To help boost the economy plantation owners agreed, to show off their gardens for all to see. So in the spring of 1931, with their heartfelt efforts "a labor of love", Natchez played host to the Mississippi Garden Clubs.
Tho' the ladies of Natchez were anxiously awaiting, the springtime weather was not cooperating. For the weather grew cold, the frost took its toll, the beautiful Victorian Gardens closed.
Instead, the mansions now opened, their guests well received, and that is when the Natchez Pilgrimage was conceived.
The seed had been planted, now it was time to sow. Katherine had a dream, and she knew she must go. So in 1932, clad in southern attire, her bonnet and pantaloons turned many an eye.
Katherine traveled far and wide, clear across the country-side. Promoting Natchez was her goal; she gave it her all, her very soul. She spoke on behalf of Natchez, its fairytale past, its many antebellum mansions, its beauty and romance.
Curiosity grew rampant, for everyone had to see if what Katherine was saying about Natchez, was a myth or a reality. The seeds had been scattered, her journey now through; she must return to Natchez to have her dream come true.
Katherine returned to Natchez on a bright sunny morn. Her labor though tiring, her dream was born! Her name was Belle, soon to be known by all, for her elegance, her beauty, and her southern drawl.
Succeeding the "Birth of the Belle", tourism began. The economy started booming, the money rolled in. The Natchez Garden Club split; the Pilgrimage Garden Club formed. Tho' somewhat divided, they worked arm and arm.
A tableau was added to stage the way, depicting the gowns and waltzes of yesterday. Taking you back in time to the days of old, where romance and passion infiltrated the soul.
Today, because of the fervent dedication of Mimi and Ron, yet another Miller family lives on. Restoring its buildings, preserving its past, while reassuring us that our Natchez Pilgrimage will last.
With the undivided unity of the Garden Clubs, and the loyal dedication of its members and staff, it made it possible for us to live Katherine's dream, for it became a reality at last!
Natchez, Mississippi, "The Birthplace of The Belle", there's so much to see and so much to tell. Thanks to all who made Katherine's dream come true. It couldn't have happened had it not been for you.