Since the weather is perfect for motorcycle touring right now, HH and I took a long weekend to head farther south.
Along our way to Vicksburg, we saw cotton fields so full, they looked like waste-deep snow. It must be a high cotton year, y’all.
The following day, we continued our ride into Southern Louisiana. We saw crops unknown to our North Mississippi area. It was field upon field of sugarcane! The marshy swamplands of South Louisiana provide the perfect terrain for sugarcane production. I’ll share more about that in tomorrow’s What’s Blooming Wednesday post.
Late in the afternoon, we pulled into Oak Alley Plantation, hoping for a tour.
Oh, my goodness! What an estate!
In 1934, 34-year-old Jacques Roman married his 18-year-old bride, Celina. As a wealthy southern gentleman, Jacques bought this sugar plantation from a brother-in-law as a gift to his wife. The home took 3 years to build, by slaves, and was completed in 1839.
This picture of the parlor from Oak Alley Plantation’s website shows the Italian marble mantel I want you to see. The mantel’s cream-colored portion is the only marble salvaged from what originally covered the floors.
After the Romans both died (he in 1848, she in 1866), a subsequent owner kept cows in the first floor of the home. Cows! Cows – for 12 years.
Can you imagine this stately mansion used as a barn? (Times must have been very hard, to go to that extreme.) When the most recent owners and residents (the Stewart’s, 1925-1972) renovated the home, they barely salvaged enough of the marble to use on the mantel. What a story, eh?
Our tour guide was a 16-year-old high-school student with a Southern/Creole accent. She did a very nice job. Here she is in the dining room, which I’ll cover in more detail on Thursday.
Upstairs, the bedroom to the left of the stairs was a guest room that doubled as the “sick room”. When someone fell ill, they were taken to this room for seclusion from others in the household. If they died, the room’s mirrors were covered in black lace – a superstitious protection.
The extreme left of my picture shows the edge of a mirror with black lace draped to the side.
To the other side of the stairs is the nursery. No baby beds, though – only adult sized, complete with mosquito netting. With the low-lying marshland, the nearby Mississippi River, and no air conditioning, of course bugs were a problem.
On an adjacent wall is a matching twin sleigh.
An original furniture piece to the Roman family is the child’s rocking chair occupied by the doll. Very few furniture pieces in the home belonged to the original owners.
Take note of the two doors (above) to the right, one of which is shown better in the photo two pictures up.
Down the hall and behind the nursery is the master. Do you see where the doors come through from the nursery? Only one is in view, but there is a door on each side – handy from either side of the bed.
Notice the beautifully ornate cradle above!
The medallion on the ceiling is made of horse hair. It is stunning in person!
The purple room across the hall from the master is another guest room and was a favorite of the lady of the house. Can’t you see her reclining in that purple chaise lounge?
The grand ooh-aah happens when you step out onto the second floor wrap-around porch for the view. It’s a quarter of a mile to the end of the Live Oaks. Perfect for an afternoon stroll, don’t you think?
The levee just beyond the walkway was only 5 feet originally. At the time, you could see the river from here on the porch. (Now, the levee is too tall for river views.) Even with the low berm, there has never been a flood at Oak Alley. That surprised us to hear.
Oak Alley originally had another name given by Celina Roman. Due to the Live Oak trees along the approach, visiting ship captains dubbed the estate “Oak Alley”. With a name so appropriately fitting, naturally it became so – Oak Alley Plantation.
HH and I walked the grounds, viewed the garage and old vehicles, the blacksmith, the slave quarters, and want to return to tour the horse stables. There is so much to enjoy at Oak Alley!
Have you toured Oak Alley Plantation – or others? If not, would you like to?
I hope your week is going well. I apologize for this late post, but you know how it is when you return from a trip. With no servants in The Land of Making Do, our make-do plantation must be serviced by you-know-who…me, the Queen and HH, the King. 😉