Heritage Travel Campaign-Part 20 (Fort Polk & Nottoway Plantation)
Updated: May 24
Part 20 of my "Heritage" travel campaign.
I left San Antonio, Texas, and headed back east toward Georgia. I made two stops in Louisiana. The first stop was Fort Polk, an Army installation near Alexandria that is known for its Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). The second stop was Nottoway Plantation, a former slave plantation turned resort, that is near White Castle and sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. I was able to catch them both in one day. https://www.louisianatravel.com/
I trained at Fort Polk in the spring of 1998 for one month, about two months after arriving at Fort Riley, Kansas, from my basic training/AIT at Fort Knox, Kentucky. We left Fort Riley on a long bus ride in chilly Kansas and arrived in warm, sunny Fort Polk. We spend about 10 days in garrison and about 20 days in the field, doing mostly infantry training with MILES gear (lazer tag).
We trained with other U.S. troops along with Korean and British troops. I wanted to revisit Fort Polk, about two decades later, to see how much it changed (or stayed the same). I was able to see more of the installation this time because I had more time to do it. https://home.army.mil/polk/index.php
I then took a 3 hour drive southeast toward the Mississippi River to Nottoway Plantation. Nottoway Plantation was built by John Hampden Randolph in 1859 is was one of the only plantation houses to have endured the Civil War without damage or destruction. Though it has been renovated and restored, most of the Nottoway Plantation House, and surrounding buildings, are still mostly a part of their original foundation. John Hampden Randolph moved from Mississippi, where he was in the cotton harvesting business and moved to Louisiana in 1842 to pursue sugar cane production.
Randolph was able to construct a state-of-the-art, steam-powered sugar mill, the first of its kind that had never been seen in Iberville Parish. With this new technology, about 200 slaves, and about 7,000 acres of fertile river farmland, Randolph was able to triple his profits over his cotton production, making him one of the wealthiest people in the Antebellum South. After the Civil War, Nottoway Plantation lost much of its value and land.
Today, Nottoway Plantation is a resort where people come to get married, have honeymoons, attend business meetings, have family get-togethers, etc. It's definitely worth a visit, even if you just wanna have lunch, take pictures, record videos, or just walk around and enjoy the tranquil scenery. I didn't get footage of the inside of Nottoway House because I didn't want to take away from the allure of the outside of it, but inside scenery can be seen via the website, along with hotel booking sites and search engines.
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