“For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
and he ponders all his paths”
Last Tuesday my sweetie called around lunch time and said, “do you want to go to Louisiana”? My immediate response was “sure, when are we going”? He said “in about three hours”!!! I don’t do spontaneous as well as I used to, but I threw together a suitcase, jumped in his truck…and off we went! It was a business trip that entailed over 1000 miles of travel in a 33 hour time span! Whew-that is exhausting just to think about, isn’t it?! But, I wouldn’t trade anything for the time shared in his truck riding down the interstate and back roads of “Cajun country”!
There was a surprise reward for me on this trip-we took a couple of hours and toured one of the beautiful plantations in St. James Parish! Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana rests along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River about an hour west of New Orleans! It was built in 1837-1839 and famous for its alley of 28 giant live oak trees, and is a National Historic Landmark. Plantation houses were once scattered along the Mississippi valley, though this “grande dame” Oak Alley is probably the finest of those remaining! As you tour with us today, this fabled plantation may look familiar, as it has appeared in many movies and television shows! Hope you enjoy without having to endure the long ride!!
The Alley of Oaks is a quarter mile alley of 300 year old Virginia Live Oaks. In the early 1700’s, an unknown settler planted an alley of 28 oaks in two equal rows spaced 80 feet apart leading to the river. Live oaks have a life span of approximately 600 years, which makes these 300 year old trees middle aged! I’d say they outlive humans by a few years!
Perhaps the most photographed plantation in Louisiana, this splendid Greek Revival style mansion was completed in 1839.
The view of the alley from the mansion to the Mississippi River!
Our very knowledgable and entertaining guide, Katie explains the tastefully appointed Roman parlor…a 19th century drawing room. The warmth of Creole hospitality is reflected in a collection of fine books, paintings, games, and music (a grand piano is out of camera view).
Chandelier in the drawing room
The Dining Room is gently cooled by the movement of the “shoo fly” or punkah fan suspended over the table. It is original to the house and is still in working order as demonstrated by our guide!
Social events were very popular on the large plantations in the South prior to the Civil War!
The doors step out onto the veranda and would have been open during dining in the warm months! Guests were able to enjoy the view of the river!
Frequent dinner guests would have enjoyed sumptuous meals in the beautifully appointed dining room!
Four bedrooms occupy the second floor of the mansion. This room served effectively as a guest room, an infirmary, and even a mourning room for the dead! Notice the black around the mirror and the mourning clothes!
Black hats, a symbol of mourning, occupy the chest!
Precious memories of childhood joys are captured in the nursery!
Upstairs Hall with doors leading out to a stunning view of the oaks!
The blue Master Bedroom with an early 1800’s Louisiana bed. Carved pineapples grace the bed posts!
A very ornate medallion and chandelier!
The Master Bedroom is appointed with antiques representative of the 1800’s-this is my favorite room in the mansion!
The Lavender Bedroom is preserved essentially as Mrs. Josephine Stewart left it. She was the last resident owner and she restored, maintained, and ultimately bequeathed this splendid historic treasure so all could enjoy!
This spectacular view of the avenue of mighty oaks is from the second floor gallery facing north toward the Mississippi River!
Just look at how large these oaks are!
The Office, occupying a rear corner on the main floor, would have been used to run the everyday affairs of the household and a thriving sugar crop!
A recreation of the slave houses that existed on this sugar plantation. The exhibit shares the story of daily life of those who were enslaved from approximately 1835 to the end of the Civil War!
The back alley of oaks were planted by the Romans (original owners) in the 1830’s and the Stewarts in the 1930’s!
A rear view of the plantation home
A view in the distance through the oaks to the Overseer’s House, one of the original buildings!
No trip is complete without excellent (and local) food! This is called butter beans and shrimp and is unique to this area! It was absolutely delicious and was served with rice and lightly battered catfish!
As y’all know I love desserts, and this local confection was not disappointing! It is called Ba Ba and I was lucky enough to score the recipe! I may share in the future!
Thanks for coming along with us!
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