Long-time Pilgrimage Garden Club tour home joins Natchez Garden Club’s separate Pilgrimage tour this year

Published 1:12 pm Thursday, January 12, 2023

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NATCHEZ — In a coup of sorts for the Natchez Garden Club, long-time Pilgrimage Garden Club tour home Linden has joined the NGC ranks.

Marjorie Feltus Hawkins, owner of the home since the 2021 death of her mother, Jeanette Sanders Feltus, said her obligation is to sustain Linden in the best way possible.

“I am hoping we are still with the Pilgrimage Garden Club, as well,” Hawkins said. However, she said the Natchez Garden Club has implemented changes in its separate Pilgrimage tour planned for this spring, which will increase the visibility, availability and interest of the home for tourists.

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“I feel like I have a responsibility to keep Linden in the forefront. Natchez Garden Club had a very successful Christmas Tour of Homes and I really want to showcase Linden. I’m seeing this from the aspect of dollars, and it looks pretty good,” Hawkins said.

The Natchez Garden Club is pulling away from the historically joint Spring Pilgrimage with the Pilgrimage Garden Club and is hosting its own group of homes on tour this year.

The NGC has lengthened its Pilgrimage dates — from March 1 to May 15 — rather than the typical month-long Pilgrimage of previous years.

The Pilgrimage Garden Club plans its Pilgrimage this year from March 11 to April 11.

In addition, Little Easy Tours, owned by Eugenie Cates and Linda Smith, will be the primary source for tickets to Natchez Garden Club home tours. In the past, the Pilgrimage Garden Club’s Natchez Pilgrimage Tours sold tickets to its homes and Natchez Garden Club homes.

Cates is former president of the Pilgrimage Garden Club. Smith helped manage the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. The two opened Little Easy Tours in July 2021.

“I am a business woman. The Natchez Garden Club is more flexible on their hours. Who knows? The Pilgrimage Garden Club may end up being that as well. Right now, I’m looking at every aspect of it,” Hawkins said.

“Natchez should be a little Williamsburg. We have such a great mayor who is building Natchez so beautifully. We need to be playing right along with him,” Hawkins said. “I remember when we were younger, we had to have a docent in every room of the house because there were so many tourists, and everyone worked together. I want everybody to be able to see these homes and they should be promoted nationally and internationally.”

Hawkins, who lives in Nashville, is a member of the Pilgrimage Garden Club.

“I actually took over my mother’s position on the executive board when she died,” she said. “Whether it’s Natchez Garden Club or Pilgrimage Garden Club, I want everyone to play correctly in the sandbox. I want everybody to win. But right now, we’ve got to look at the dollars and my commitment is to Linden. My mother loved, loved, loved Natchez, as do I. I want to take my mother’s love for Natchez and really both garden clubs forward and continue on with it,” Hawkins said.