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!
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 :-)