Planting Hospitality: The Orchid Bed & Breakfast
Located at the historic Millsaps Buie House, The Orchid Bed & Breakfast is the vision of locals Jason and Katrice Thompson, who have lovingly restored it to its original grandeur as the premier Black and Veteran-owned bed and breakfast in the capital city.
A respite consisting of 11 sleeping rooms, two indoor event spaces, and beautiful outdoor areas, The Orchid also features Black artisans and creators throughout the property – making it a welcoming space for relaxation, celebration, collaboration, and everything in between.
What Guests Can Expect
A unique feature of The Orchid is the attention to detail in the guest rooms. Ten are named and designed after matriarchs who have loved and inspired The Thompsons, and the eleventh room – Lily – is dedicated to all of the other Black women, known and unknown, who have torched the way in the local Jackson community and around the state of Mississippi.
"One of my favorite rooms, Lilly, is about celebrating women and their achievements,” Katrice said. “The idea behind the name is that a flower, like a woman, is delicate yet brings so much beauty and strength. It's not just about my grandmother – who loved flowers and is The Orchid’s namesake – it's about the beauty of the flower itself. And the room is purple, which also happens to be my favorite color,” Katrice said, laughing.
“We're committed to showcasing the wonderful things women have done and can do, so every product in the Lilly suite was created by a woman,” Katrice said. “And around The Orchid, we hope to feature as many Mississippi-made goods as possible.” Artwork by Atlanta artist and friend Toni Thorne adorns the rooms, alongside soaps, lotions, hand-crocheted makeup removers, linen sprays, and more, all locally and regionally sourced. If you wish to purchase a product after your stay, The Orchid has a gift shop on-site that’s open during the week.
A bed and breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a wonderful menu, and guests can expect to wake up to a delicious seasonal breakfast in the mornings, as well as surprise treats straight from the Thompson family recipe box throughout the year. Renowned Jackson chef Enrique Williams of Fauna Foodworks is also the house chef for private packages if you’re planning a special occasion during your visit.
Katrice’s family was one of the first Black families to move into the Woodhaven neighborhood of Jackson, only 11 miles from the property. She has served for 20 years in the United States military and is a reservist in the Air Force. Jason spent much of his upbringing in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, and established Fahrenheit Creative Group next door to The Orchid, a full-scale marketing firm.
The entrepreneurially-minded couple has spent the last several years running Alorod Property Management to serve low-income families with affordable housing and be a part of breaking the cycle of poverty in Jackson. As their family’s base on State Street grew larger, so did their dreams of restoring the c.1888 Queen Anne mansion, originally built for Civil War Confederate Army Major Reuben Webster Millsaps, the founder of Millsaps College. Records indicate the Millsaps family owned enslaved people in Copiah County, near Jason’s hometown and the site of the Forks Of The Road, one of the most historic slave markets in the American South.
"I love history, and the intricate legacy of the house is what struck me the most,” Katrice said. “Seeing it vacant for 10 years, knowing its rich story and beauty, made me feel that it deserved attention and care. It's truly amazing to see the details that went into this house, especially when compared to other historic sites and houses in Mississippi. The quality of craftsmanship is unparalleled; it's something you simply can't buy."
The Orchid’s Future Legacy
Katrice and Jason hope that The Orchid can be solidified as not only a place to stay but a genuine home away from home for everyone who walks through the doors. “Whether someone wants to relax and escape, or they want a luxurious night with all the frills, we want to be that for them,” Katrice said. “I want them to experience the genuine hospitality Mississippi is known for, and to be able to make this space whatever they want or need it to be. The Orchid is somewhere to experience history and luxury, to be part of something bigger, and to feel like you're truly part of a community."
Katrice’s Jackson Recommendations
“One of the best parts of the house is its walkability to so many great places in Jackson,” Katrice said. “There's plenty of wonderful things to do here if you're willing to go out and explore.” Whether you’re visiting for game day or a weekend getaway, her recommendations span everything from culture to cuisine to ensure you get a proper introduction to Mississippi’s capital