Sunday Plantation Tour

Sunday, we joined Jessica and Karim out to the Cajun Country to explore some of the plantations that dot the Mississippi outside of New Orleans. (Lesson: Creole implies the culture of the African/Carribean slaves who were brought to this country. Cajun implies the culture of the white french decended plantation owners who settled in this area. We learned that one may be pointedly correctly if these are confused.)

First we went to Laura Plantation. This plantation had been a french-speaking, family owned facility until 1985 and feels much different than your average plantation tour (a nice change). Additionally, a thunderstorm kept things interesting. It soaked Will’s stroller so that Paul and I had to take turns carrying a crazy, explorative toddler through the tour (it was mostly outdoors through the slave cabins.) Will was good, but ready to be done by the end. The tour itself is touted as a great history tour, and it was. The information is based on Laura’s written account of the four generations (of women!) who ran the family plantation as well as historical documents. (Lesson: Under French rule and French law, women and people of color could own land and plantations.) It also includes detail, and photographs, of the slaves on the property. This history is important to the significance of Laura, as it was here that the stories of Br’er Rabbit were penned.

Then we drove by beautiful Oak Alley Plantation. Seen in lots of movies, Oak Alley has a most impressive entrance.

Then we got lost. Directions were a little difficult to come by. First, folks had a hard time understanding Karim’s french accent (unfortunately, french creole speakers were hard to find) and the directions themselves were a bit weak (they were of the “… follow the curves, turn left at the third large oak, then right at the first high water…” variety).

Finally, we took our last tour at Nottoway Plantation. Here, we got the standard slavery apology (“…we aren’t saying that Mr. Randolph was a great humanitarian, but he did recognize the value of carrying for his property and therefore touch steps to keep his slaves as healthy as possible.”) Paul gave the best analogy: “we pad our electric chairs!” Still, it was an interesting and impressive structure with unique history.

A very fun day! They’ve inspired us to check out more and get out further into the country… maybe even take in a few swamp tours!