A Natchez woman has been hosting tours of her antebellum home for 60 years

Jeanette Feltus looks inside her home at Linden Saturday in Natchez. (Nicole Hester, The Natchez Democrat)

Originally from Oxford and a proud graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Jeanette Feltus has been hosting tours at antebellum Linden in Natchez for approximately 60 years.

Coming from a family of educators, Feltus said she was always in the library when she was in college.

“I studied hard,” Feltus said. “I took pre-law there, but girls didn’t go to law school when I wanted to go.”

Feltus came to Natchez to work at Braden Elementary School. Feltus said she loved teaching, she had wonderful students, and it was always a challenge.

What Feltus said she hated, however, was having a class the last period of the day. She said everyone including the teachers were counting down the minutes and wondering what they were doing there.

“I thought if there was something that would interest them, besides sitting in a classroom then maybe we could learn more,” Feltus said.

Feltus said she made a deal with her class that if everyone had kept up with their lessons and had good discussions for four days out of five, she would take them to get ice cream next door and have class outside. All or nothing, she said. If any one of them didn’t keep up with their lessons it would result in everyone missing out.

Feltus said soon she had parents coming up to her asking what she was doing, because their children had never studied so hard.

“I told them they could thank their classmates,” Feltus said. “If one student didn’t do it, there was no ice cream. They all got punished.”

Eventually, she said, the principal of the school called her up and said she couldn’t take her class to go get ice cream, because she was taking them off campus.

“I said, ‘You can’t imagine how this ice cream is teaching them history,’” Feltus said.

She soon found a workaround. Feltus said she started walking her students to the fence, right to the edge of where the campus meets the parking lot of The Malt Shop on Homochitto Street.

Then, she would leave campus to make orders for her class, so she could continue to give them ice cream as a reward for them doing their work.

Her teaching career lasted only a couple years, she said, but to this day her former students will see her downtown and start quoting the Gettysburg Address and reminisce about being in her classroom.

She was in her second year of teaching when she met her future husband, Richard. Feltus said she had wanted to earn a doctorate degree but got married and had two daughters instead, a decision she said she does not regret.

“Everyone has to live their life that means the most to them,” Feltus said. “I’m very fortunate, I have a nice life and wonderful family.”

Jeanette Feltus stands in front of her home at Linden Saturday in Natchez. (Nicole Hester, The Natchez Democrat)

Feltus said when she first moved in to Linden, she would take the children to school, and borrow a pile of books from the library to learn about the Federal period, the period in which the Linden house was built and the era of the furnishings she used in the house.

“Even today I like to read and come up with true knowledge,” Feltus said.

As she sat in the drawing room, Feltus began pointing to different pieces of furniture and discussing what each feature meant. How it was specific to a certain era, a technique, marking or carving, something that would be missed by the untrained eye, something akin to studying a dying language that takes research, understanding of the past and paying attention to detail.

Feltus said she loves the antiques forum in New Orleans and still goes every year. Even before she was married she said she attended antique forums.

“I don’t do as much research as I used to,” she said. “I play more bridge.”

Now Feltus said she enjoys sharing her knowledge of her house and everything in it during Pilgrimage. After 60 or so years of presenting at Linden, Feltus said, she still appreciates getting to know the people who stay at her bed and breakfast.

“I enjoy meeting people from other parts of the world and especially the United States,” she said. “And getting their reaction to our Southern town, which is unique.”

She said people love Natchez’s houses, and the Southern hospitality. Feltus said she tells them you’ll never meet a stranger in the South.

“Anyone who comes,” she said, “offers something to our country or to our society, to our way of living, to our world. It takes all of us doing a little something to get to something greater down the road. I just think, you know, thank you, Lord for letting me get to 85 and come up with this attitude, that we all offer something, good, bad or indifferent but because we do we are a better world.”

News

Woman arrested, accused of stealing from Mississippi graves

News

Mississippi man arrested after stolen side-by-side vehicles recovered

News

Looking for Pizza Paradise? You will find it in the Mississippi small town with a scoop of ice cream too

News

Mississippi bears are on the move — one traveling as much as 150 miles to Baton Rouge, officials report

News

Police: Mississippi teen found dead after he takes family hostage

News

Search launched for Mississippi man on trip to Alabama, but never made it to his destination

News

Rapper sentenced for selling drugs out of Mississippi T-shirt business

News

One killed in shooting involving Mississippi officer

News

Owner of one of Mississippi’s most iconic seafood restaurants pleads guilty to mislabeling imported fish as being local

News

Pass the leftovers: Egg Bowl moved from Thanksgiving to Black Friday

News

Police say this man stole minivan from Mississippi convenience store. Do you recognize him?

News

Could this 90 acres attract new businesses and new tax dollars to north Mississippi? Small-town leaders sure hope so.

News

Mississippi woman pleads to pocketing thousands of dollars from car tags in tax collector’s office

News

Mississippi traffic stop leads to discovery of vehicle packed with more than 50 pounds of marijuana

News

Mississippi author Greg Iles reflects on ‘Southern Man’ the book he put off cancer treatment to finish

News

Police: Man found lying in Mississippi street with fatal gunshot wound to chest

News

Pop music icon Katy Perry gains keys to $15 million mansion after lengthy legal battle with Mississippi native

News

Officials: two children killed, four others sent to hospital in Mississippi house fire

News

Mississippi man dies after SUV broadsides another vehicle turning across Mississippi highway

News

UPDATE: Two people killed in Memorial Day explosion at Mississippi residence

News

Hundreds walk across Mississippi River bridge as part of 158-year-old Memorial Day tradition

News

Pedestrian killed after being hit by two cars on Mississippi highway

News

US legal scholar to discuss how country’s view of slavery has shaped conflicts over the US Constitution

News

Mississippi woman who reportedly killed husband live on social media pleads guilty, sentenced in case