Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oak Alley Plantation

Thanks to recommendations from several who have visited plantations here in the New Orleans area before, we decided to visit Oak Alley Plantation.  Laura Plantation was the other we considered. 

We were slow getting around this morning and the plantation was about 45 minutes from our campground so before we started the tour, we had lunch of left over shrimp from last night with fruit and chips under one of the gorgeous Oak trees on the plantation.  IMG_5113

The entrance fee was affordable, $18 for seniors.  It was definitely worth the cost. 

First we toured the slave quarters.  There were information stations which explained the work required of the slaves, how health problems were treated and punishment.  However, the buildings were new, reproductions I suppose.  I’m not sure they were a real example of how the slaves lived.  One of the most touching displays was a list by name of all the slaves who worked on this plantation as a tribute to their contributions.

Another interesting exhibit was this map.  It shows the southern states and numbers of slaves by shading.  The darkest shade indicates a population of 80% slaves. Notice how dark along the Mississippi River.

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We were lead through the main house by a costumed docent.  She did a wonderful job describing not only the history of the house but of the family who built it.  The Roman family ended up loosing the plantation shortly after the Civil War mostly due to poor management.   Thanks to the last owners, the Stewart family, the house and grounds were put into a trust so all can be made available to visitors.

The alley of oaks is the most striking visual of the plantation.  They were planted in the early 1700’s by an unknown settler which makes them 300 years old.  Even with the beautiful house and grounds, we were most impressed with these trees.  My camera could not capture how massive they were.  Picture from the upstairs porch.

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Picture from the road looking in

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It happened there was a Civil War enactor on the grounds today.  Of course he was a Confederate officer which is a different perspective than what we generally hear.  He told us about battles won by the south and how they fought.  He had a wonderful New Orleans accent and we ended up spending almost 45 minutes listening and asking questions. 

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The picture I took of the trees and house above was from the dike of the Mississippi.  It was a great place to watch the traffic on the river. It is definitely a working river—lots of barges and ships.  It was the first time we have spent any time around the river since we arrived.  It is so flat and there are dikes everywhere, the actual river is hard to see.

One more night here at the Bayou Segnette State Park.  We cooked our evening meal again.  We might have to try again, but as of now, crayfish are not our favorite.  

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