Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Plantation Alley

Hi there!  Thanks for you comments on my New Orleans trip.  It's a wonderful historic city and I hope you know more about it now.  We decided to add some adventuring to the end of our trip and I'd always wanted to tour some of the historic plantation homes to the west of N.O. - we picked two to visit - "Laura" which is reputed to be one of the most realistic and natural of the estates - and "Oak Alley" which is probably the most famous of them all.  We passed others along the way to Laura and on to Oak Alley, I didn't realize there were so many!  Below you'll see our approach to the colorful and charming Laura.  If you want to read the history that we were told by the docent, click on that link, then click on "The Sugar Plantation".

One of the huge Live Oak trees in front of the home.  I just loved them.

The centuries old oak branches arch gracefully over the grounds and home.

You begin your tour by entering the cool dark basement on the ground level.  They had life size images of Laura and her parents which was brilliant for bringing them to life for us.  We heard wonderful historic stories of the family - I won't try to tell you those here, but the link above will tell you all of what we learned.

The plantation was started by a French aristocrat named Guillaume Duparc and his wife Nanette Prud'Homme.

This house is not the biggest nor the most elaborately decorated, but that is part of it's charm, it's very real feeling.  I noted that the paint color of this room is the same as the lime green we painted our living room back home.  :-)  

I love the children's room here and the beautiful baby crib.

Filmy canopies protected the family from creepy crawlers of the day.

Not long ago the historians found descendants of the plantation who generously shipped boxes of old photos to them.  

Raymond Locoul married Elisabeth Duparc, grandmother of Laura.  Interestingly, the plantation was run by women of many generations.  The painting below shows the plantation house from the Mississippi River.

The lovely and large dining room.  What I wouldn't give to have one like this!  The slaves worked in a kitchen behind the house to prepare lavish meals for the family and also to feed the hundreds of workers of the sugar plantation.

There was a fire in 2004 but the house was saved and repaired.  They left this one room to show the fire damage on the beams in the walls - they call it the store room now and have spinning wheels, baskets, crocks and workaday items.

We then exited the house onto the expansive back verandah with a view of where the old cookhouse was, the 2 chicken houses in the back are built on top of the cookhouse foundation.

I loved the grain-painted doors that were so colorful and pretty.

Notice the wonderful colorful colors the house is painted?  Interestingly, the house was painted white for years.. when the fire happened and they were working to repair it, they found the beautiful original colors and when they re-painted after the restoration, they used these bright colors.. I love it!!

We were blessed with a fabulous sunny warm day for our tour, I so enjoyed sitting on a bench on the balcony overlooking the plantation grounds.

A close look at the chicken houses built in later years after the cookhouse was gone.

There were several slave quarters on the property, small houses shared by 2 families.  

I was very charmed by this tropical garden to the side of the house.  

We enjoyed passing back through the gift shop of the estate, I bought one precious memento - a wooden candle holder made from an original porch spindle removed during the restoration of the house after the fire!  Much of the house was built using Cypress wood.  Isn't this neat?  The house was built originally in the early 1800s.

OK.. we then headed on to find Oak Alley Plantation.  We all were hungry for lunch and happily there is a lovely restaurant at Oak Alley - built in an old farmhouse.  I was pleasantly surprised that they served local Cajun cuisine and we had one of the tastiest meals of our whole trip!  It began with crawfish gumbo.  The gumbo was the real deal, too.. made with a dark roux and served over rice.

Then a delicious sausage, rice, red beans and crawfish étouffée!

Outside the restaurant was the old dinner bell used to call the farm workers to dinner.

The back side of Oak Alley Plantation house - where horse drawn carriages would pull up and drop their passengers off under the porte cochere.

They took groups of 20 in at a time, we were able to rest on benches and chairs looking at the amazing alley of 300 year old live oak trees while we waited our turn.  Can you believe that the oak trees were planted before the house was built?

I walked down the brick walkway between the oak trees to snap a photo of the front of the house.. just beautiful.

Our group walked in and were ushered into the drawing room.. I was taken by the light fixture and the beautiful medallion on the ceiling.

Oops.. I didn't take another photo in the drawing room.. but next up was the dining room.  Our pretty docent was dressed in a period costume and I was amazed at how much detail she had memorized.  See the big fan over the table?  A slave would stand in the corner and pull the rope to keep the diners cool and to keep the bugs at bay.

On to the bedrooms and to hear more historic stories of the family.

Wouldn't it be lovely to live in such a wonderful home?

I think I'd like this room.  :-)

How lovely are these twin canopy beds?

In the hallway we heard more history and family intrigue!  I do hope you visit the plantation website and read some of the history for yourself.  For a sample - the lady on the left 2nd row from the top named Louise Roman was coming down that stairway and tripped and broke the whale bone stay in her hoop skirt and the sharp edges of the bone raked her leg - which got infected and they had to cut off her leg.  Women with disabilities like that were deemed un-marriageable and so she became a Carmelite nun and lived out her life in a convent in New Orleans.  She is believed to be seen as a ghost here!

Looking down Oak Alley from the 2nd story verandah - the Mississippi River is just beyond the road - it has a levee now, but in the old days you could sit on the porch and watch the ships and boats pass by on their way to and from New Orleans.

Our knowledgable and adorable docent.. I asked her if she like her job and she said.. "It's better than working at Sonic!".  :-)

The side section of the wonderful, deep and cool wrap-around porch of the house.

Another shot of the beautiful old oaks before we headed down the stairs and out of this beautiful plantation home.

After we left Oak Alley we stopped on the side of the road to snap "the famous photo" of the house down the alley of oaks.  I really wish those people would have not been on the walkway!  LOL!

I do hope you've enjoyed visiting these wonderful plantation homes with me.  It was one of the highlights of my trip.  I lived in Lafayette, Louisiana for 5 years and simply can't believe that I never visited them during that time.  But to be honest, I don't think they were as open to the public in 1970 - but they are wonderful now for visiting.  My next and last installment of this story will be a visit to Lafayette and Milton to see the houses we lived in during our 5 years there.  One is a very old place on the Vermillion River.  It's still there!  

We are still at the beach for the week.  Yesterday was stunning... sunny and warm and we went adventuring and out to lunch.  I'll share our beach photos after I'm done with this series.  :-)  Today it's rainy and cool so we're cozy in our caravan watching TV and relaxing.  With the roar of the ocean outside.  Lovely.  I think I will crochet today!  I hope you're enjoying your week.  ((hugs)), Teresa :-) 


  1. More lovely Louisiana photo's to dream over.
    I must say the colors of the house & porch are the same colors I suggested for your place. I still think that color scheme would make your place pop against all the beautiful green trees on your place.

    Nummy food photo's

  2. What a lovely tour you have taken us on, a real delight to have joined you.

  3. I love Oak Alley....the best Gumbo!! I haven't been to the Laura yet. From your pictures I just may tell my sister to take me there when I visit in May. I'm so glad you had wonderful weather...the pictures were beautiful!!

  4. Gorgeous photos, what an amazing place. I particularly love the greenness of everything outside and that wonderful wide wraparound porch. I'd love to sit there and read the afternoon away. CJ xx

  5. Amazing properties Teresa, I love those ancient oak trees...stunning.Enjoy your beach trip x

  6. It was a wonderful tour of the two houses, thank you for taking us along! They are very beautiful homes aren't they. It is interesting about the first one that had the fire that it was painted in such bright colours originally, it shows how wrong our perceptions of old buildings can be doesn't it. So glad that you enjoyed it!! xx

  7. Lovely to see these houses from your perspective Teresa - you have taken us on a very interesting/informative tour. I am off to follow your link and learn more. Hugs Anne x

  8. Thank you for taking us on this tour with you Teresa. I absolutely love touring old houses but don't get the chance to very often. One of my dreams has been to tour some of the old plantation houses of the south. I especially like the colors that they painted the house after the fire. That shows what a colorful history the houses had even back then. I'm glad you're having a good time at the coast and the weather's been cooperative for you. I've been at the lake since Friday night and it's been absolutely gorgeous here also. I have to go home tomorrow for a couple of days. Sad. On the bright side I get to see you and the girls next week!

  9. What a great tour you've given us, Teresa. Thank you for sharing. I really love touring old houses, especially the living spaces and kitchens. It's so interesting to learn about how people used the rooms in the past. I love the huge dining rooms and the verandas especially. You can just imagine all the entertaining they would have done. I hope you're having a good week!

  10. Thanks so much for creating this beautiful, interesting post, Teresa. I admire your artistry! The homes and grounds really are amazing for all the reasons you pointed out. While I enjoy learning about this era and area, I think I would wimp out living well then and there because of the climate, political tension, and primitive medical conditions, but I'm looking forward to your next post! xx

  11. Thank you for taking me on vacation with you. I have really enjoyed this series. Almost hate for it to end...but wait I have one more intallment left to read!

  12. All the trees are so gorgeous. I did notice the bright colors in the first house. So fun and cheerful.

  13. Thank you for the tour! I was debating going to New Orleans and now it's a must see on my list. I loved reading about it all.

  14. A fascinating post, I loved seeing your beautiful photos of the plantation houses, the amazing interiors and surroundings! Thank you for a lovely trip, dear Teresa!
    Helen xox

  15. Interesting and beautiful mansions! Definitely something I would do if I visited New Orleans, which I can't believe I haven't done. Glad you're enjoying your beach vacay too! You're livin' the life!

  16. Thanks so much Teresa for all the lovely pictures. I hope some day to visit the area & see all these beautiful plantations. I love the antebellum era.

  17. I think I love those oak trees more than anything else!

    Those cheery colours on the first house give it a very Caribbean look, don't they? Both houses are beautiful. I can't imagine living that "large". :)

  18. I am so enjoying your posts about your trip. I especially liked this one with the plantation houses. That view down the alley of trees was gorgeous.

  19. Thanks for the tour, Teresa! Love all the pics. I love to tour old homes like that. Haven't toured many, but a couple. It is so interested to see how they lived, what their rooms were like, etc. I appreciate your pics! :)

  20. Wonderful Teresa!!! Just wonderful!
    xo Kris

  21. The plantations are just gorgeous. When I briefly moved to Virginia after college I met a friend who lived on a plantation and had her wedding at her home. She had slave quarters, outside kitchens and everything. It was amazing to see as I grew up in Michigan and could not believe homes like this still existed.

  22. How lovely. I've been to some of the plantation homes but can't remember which ones. We lived in Lafayette for a while in the mid-80's. I worked for Kelly Temporary Services while there. How fun that was going to different companies for short term positions -- though some would be for a month or two. One of the positions I had was with Sikorsky, the helicopter company. :) Best wishes, Tammy


I absolutely love comments and thank you so much for taking time to leave me a note. :-)