Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Granddaughter's First Photo Album

This is a follow-up post to share some of the pictures my granddaughter Avery Grace took while she was on "Spring Break" from kindergarten. Avery will be six years old in May, and I recently introduced her to the world of photography.

A couple of weeks ago, Avery and I visited the Vicksburg National Military Park here in Vicksburg, and she had a good time exploring the park and capturing pictures with my Canon Power Shot camera. I think she did an excellent job, but, of course, that's strictly her grandmother's unbiased opinion.

If you will kindly indulge me, I would like to share some of Avery's pictures from our photo shoot (I did not enhance the pictures at all, except for resizing them).

I have also included some pictures I took of Avery while she was taking her pictures. She was concentrating so hard, and turning the camera this way and that ... and I was so proud and pleased to see that she was having fun, but was also taking her photography very seriously.

One of our first stops was to capture these pretty yellow wildflowers beside the road.

Avery took the next two pictures ...

She needs to practice her closeup shots ...

She did better on these closeups of some dandelions ...

She also got a closeup of her knee in this shot, but I think that just adds character, don't you?

We climbed up to a gazebo on top of a hill to capture the next two pictures ...

This is the picture Avery was taking as I was taking her picture (that reminds me of that old song, "I was lookin' back to see, if you were lookin' back at me, to see if I was lookin' back at you") ...

Next we visited one of my favorite spots in the Vicksburg National Cemetery — this old Gingko tree.

This is my favorite of the pictures Avery took of the tree ...

Avery called these white Irises "spring flowers" ...

I love these pictures I captured of Avery as she photographed the seal on the floor of the Illinois State Monument in the Military Park.

She was so cute turning the camera every which way, trying to get just the right angle ...

I think her picture was worth all her hard work, don't you?

I especially like the next three pictures, which she took of the river, the Naval Monument, and the eagle on top of the Illinois Monument:

Not bad for a five-year-old, are they!

I wouldn't take anything for that afternoon in the park with my little budding photographer. But the best part of the whole experience was when we were talking about the dandelions, and Avery said she "liked the kind you could blow on and make a wish." I asked her what she would wish, and she said, very solemnly, "I would wish that this day would never end."

Your grandmother's sentiments exactly, Sweetie.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vicksburg News

I love living in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Perched high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, Vicksburg is steeped in history, legends, and architectural landmarks — and I never tire of photographing it.

I am proud to announce that Vicksburg has been selected by This Old House magazine to be included in its fourth annual list of "64 Best Old House Neighborhoods," featured in its April issue. Neighborhoods were chosen based on architectural diversity, history, character and amenities, including summer activities, special events, holiday festivals, restaurants, and projects among residents.

Editors combed the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada for nominees, and Vicksburg's Civil War history, rolling hills, river views, and grand old homes helped land it a spot in the magazine.

The "Best Old House Neighborhoods" list is in a special section in the current issue, and can also be accessed online at This Old House Best Places. The website features photos of one home from each of the 64 places and a description of the neighborhoods. To see what the editors said about Vicksburg, you can click on this link: Vicksburg.

The house featured in the magazine is The Pemberton House, which was built in 1835, and was used by Confederate Gen. John C. Pemberton in 1863 as his headquarters during the 47-day Siege of Vicksburg (these are my pictures).

The architecture of the two-story house is a combination of Greek Revival and Federal-style, both common among Vicksburg’s old homes. In 2003, the National Park Service purchased the home, and The Pemberton House is expected to be open for tours by summer.

Here are a few more of Vicksburg's historical houses and buildings that probably helped cinch its spot on the This Old House list.

George Washington House, ca 1822

According to land records, George Washington Ball, a well-to-do distant cousin of our first president, built this Federal style house.

The Corners, ca 1873

Great Hope Manor, ca 1904

Belle of the Bends, ca 1876

I love the view of the river from the swing on the porch ...

Baer House, ca 1849-1870

Anchuca Mansion, ca 1830

Cedar Grove Mansion, ca 1840

McNutt House, ca 1826

Duff Green Mansion, ca 1856

Annabelle, ca 1868

Balfour House, ca 1835

Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Station

Sisters of Mercy Convent, ca 1868

Old Court House Museum, ca 1858

Christ Episcopal Church, ca 1830

The Church of the Holy Trinity

These are just a few of the historical houses and buildings in Vicksburg. Several of the houses now serve as bed and breakfast inns, offering southern hospitality at it finest.

If you are planning a trip to the Vicksburg area, I hope you can come during Vicksburg's Tapestry: Spring Pilgrimage celebration, which begins April 1st, and runs through the 30th.

Throughout the month, there will be tours of our historic homes and hallways, with interpretive presentations of Vicksburg's history that bring to life the heritage and culture of this remarkable river city. Some of Vicksburg's most historic properties will tell their stories — from antebellum grandeur, to the Siege of Vicksburg, to the turn of the 20th Century. Together, these stories weave the Tapestry of who and what Vicksburg is today.

Vicksburg's "Spring Pilgrimage" is a perfect time to experience the beauty, history, and southern hospitality of our fair city ... and see for yourself why it was honored by This Old House as one of their "best neighborhoods."

For more information on Tapestry, you can visit:

Tapestry: Vicksburg's Spring Pilgrimage
Vicksburg's Convention and Visitors Bureau

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Elegant Lady Banks

If you are a regular visitor to Southern Lagniappe, you're probably tired of seeing posts featuring Spring flowers and trees. I apologize for being redundant, but I can't resist capturing our long-awaited Spring in all its glory.

Today, I'm sharing pictures I took over the weekend of my elegant Lady Banks Roses (Rosa banksiae). They line the fence in our long, narrow backyard and their fragrance is absolutely heavenly.

We have one yellow plant ...

One white plant ...

And one that is a mix of yellow and white blooms ...

Although they are stunning from a distance, when you look at the clusters of flowers up close, they are truly exquisite. They remind me of miniature bridal bouquets — but no florist in the world could ever create such perfection.

The next few days are supposed to be rainy ones here in Vicksburg, but I hope to get out and take some pictures of some of the beautiful old antebellum homes while their Azaleas and Dogwoods are blooming.

Our "Spring Pilgrimage" begins this Friday, and I'll share more about it later.