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** New Orleans: PHOTO journal @ Western Caribbean & NOLA post-cruise (Sept. 2012) **

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The mansion has a square floor plan, organized around a central hall that

runs from the front to the rear on both floors.

 

 

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Twelve-and-a-half-foot ceilings rise above the lovely furniture.

 

 

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"The floor in the hallway had to be replaced," says the tour guide,

"because the young boys liked to gallop their horses through the hall from the front door to the back door."

 

 

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Doors sport faux-bois cypress, painted to look like mahogany.

 

 

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The Oak Alley mansion tour ended and for whatever reason we still felt transported to another era...

 

 

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No wonder so many movies were filmed here

(not to mention how many celebrities came to visit)!

 

 

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Steping back into the Antebellum beauty of the old South with this tour of the Oak Alley Plantation...

 

 

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Passionate and witty guides dressed in period clothing lead informative tours of the mansion.

 

 

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TIP: Oak Alley's signature Mint Julep's = available for sale at the mansion!

 

 

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The design is Greek Revival architecture, with some facets of French Creole architecture,

which was heavily influenced by Caribbean plantation architecture.

 

 

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The mansion - the exterior features a free-standing colonnade of 28 Doric columns on all four sides

(a common feature of antebellum mansions of the Mississippi Valley).

 

 

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"In the beginning ..." there were the (oak) trees!

 

 

Sometime in the early 1700's, probably a few years before the 1718 founding of New Orleans

as the colonial seat of government, a settler claimed land from an original royal grant for his dwelling

and defined its entrance with an alley of live oaks in two rows (2) leading to the river.

 

 

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Native to the area, the oaks thrived and by 1722, when the early Capuchin Fathers arrived at

St. Jacques de Cabahanoce to establish the settlement of St. James Parish,

 

the young trees had already attained a stature which hinted at the magnificence that was to be theirs.

 

 

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The design of the mansion combined several styles, the most notable being the 28 classic columns

surrounding the house. The columns measure 8 feet in circumference and are solid brick.

 

The bricks were made in pie-shaped molds in order to achieve the circular form of the columns.

 

All the materials used in the construction of the home were found or manufactured on the plantation

with the exception of the marble for the floors and fireplaces and the slate for the roof,

both of which were imported.

 

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"A gentle southern breeze



sashays by-

 

 

Aged oaks breathe relief



Secrets carved-

 

 

within her sturdy branches



For eternity"

 

 

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"Rebel flag still flies-



testament to a past era

Still unyielding-

 

 

to southern pride



Bathed in beauty

Caught in time"

 

 

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"Standing alone

shadowed by the great [Oak Alley] plantation-

Lazy muddy Mississippi

wanders by

Eyes locked in a gaze-

under her mighty oaks

 

Nostalgia from ages ago

now imprinted on her soul"

 

 

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"Souls of slaves

inhabit these grounds-

Do you not hear

whispers of clinking metal?

 

One lone cup

holding water

from a well

Single reward-

for each slaves daily toil"

 

 

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We still had few minutes to kill before the driver was to arrive,

so time for more shopping and some refreshments @ the Gift Shop!

 

 

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Another interesting bit of tree history took place at Oak Alley Plantation:

 

 

In the 1840s, Antoine, a talented gardener who was a slave of the plantation,

grafted the first paper-shell pecan trees.

 

 

By 1865, 126 grafted papershell pecan trees were growing on Oak Alley Plantation.

 

The variety of pecans which Antoine created became known as "Centennial".

 

 

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The Gift Shop is located next to the Restaurant and the Plantation Café

(not far from the antebellum mansion)

 

 

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The Gift Shop offers a large selection of Louisiana and Oak Alley souvenirs.

 

 

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We concluded our visit at the Blacksmith shop

(located adjacent to the Gift Shop and the Restaurant).

 

The shop has been remodeled.

However the forge is original and is one of the few remaining forges of its type in Louisiana.

 

The blacksmith was an important part of the plantation, and he was always in high demand.

 

The blacksmith kept the horses and mules shod, repaired rims on wagon wheels, and maintained barrel supports.

 

Additionally, he fabricated iron hooks, nails, door and gate hinges, latches, wrought iron gates and fences,

and created and maintained tools like farming hoes, shovels, fireplace tools and many everyday use items.

 

 

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The driver came to pick us up and off we went... back to New Orleans (1 hour drive)!

 

 

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Sugar kettle (used as a water garden now)

 

 

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After two days of grey clouds and rain, the weather couldn't be more perfect that Tuesday afternoon!

 

 

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"Let's take a walk a sunny day

And find those hidden roads

Which goes to secret places

And to magic nooks"

 

 

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"Can you hear the whisperings

From the trees?

They're fortelling memories

 

Creatures you've never seen catch

The gossip from the sizzling leaves

When we walk the alley of the oaks"

 

 

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David Middleton said it best @ Oak Alley Plantation:

 

 

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Driving in Louisiana Plantation Country...

 

Remember? Louisiana is home to some of the grandest plantation homes in the South.

 

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St. Joseph Plantation is one of the few fully intact sugar cane plantations in Louisiana.

 

 

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In addition to the main plantation house, St. Joseph Plantation has numerous outbuildings including the

original slave cabins, detached kitchen, a blacksmith’s shop, a carpenter’s shed and a school-house.

 

 

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St. Joseph Plantation - according to our driver and outstanding tour guide, several buildings have been moved

to their present location from another part of the property, but most remain exactly where they were built.

 

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Since Louisiana plantations were all built along the Mississippi River or along Louisiana’s largest bayous such as

Bayou Teche, it’s fairly easy to go from plantation to plantation by simply following the roads along these waterways.

 

 

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As the driver/tour guide explained, although the French West Indies style plantations and

the Greek revival style plantations can be grouped into distinct architectural styles,

 

many Louisiana plantations defy classification - those will have unique architectural styles.

 

 

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Did you know that Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes?

(local governments equivalent to counties)

 

The largest parish by population is East Baton Rouge Parish, and the largest by land area is Cameron Parish.

 

 

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Not all the local plantations are open to the public. So check out this warning! : - ))

 

 

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It was a glorious day!

 

 

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While there are no plantation homes still standing in the New Orleans city limits,

Louisiana is home to some of the grandest plantation homes in the South.

 

 

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In 1861, before the Civil War, half the millionaires in the United States lived on the Mississippi River.

 

 

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Much of this antebellum opulence survives today as majestic architectural treasures and

testimony to a bygone era in American history.

 

 

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Today, many Louisiana plantations have been converted to bed and breakfasts, wedding venues and restaurants.

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Since Louisiana plantations were all built along the Mississippi River or along Louisiana’s largest bayous such as Bayou Teche,

it’s fairly easy to go from plantation to plantation by simply following the roads along these waterways.

 

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At this point, our driver couldn't stop talking... about

Brad Pitt and the filming around this famous staircase : - ))

 

 

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Driving back to New Orleans after the Plantation Tour was such a joy!

 

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Pretty houses... evergreen trees... sugar cane fields... and Cajun music blasting from our driver's ipod!

 

 

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Originally named St. John the Baptist for the church at its heart,

Edgard was renamed in 1850 for its postmaster, Edgar Perret.

 

 

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Edgard's first church, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (1772), was destroyed by the Poche Crevasse in 1821.

 

Another church was soon erected. Unfortunately, in 1918, fire gutted the sacred building.

 

A testament to the Church's place in the community, the parishioners gave generously,

and when the new church opened its doors, all debts had been paid.

 

 

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Enjoyed your awesome pictures and review. We enjoy going to see the old plantation homes and Oak Alley is my favorite of them all. Back in the 1800's the levee wasn't there to block the view of the Mississippi River and the trees used to funnel the breezes off of the river to the house. There are other plantations along the river further North in St. Francisville which is near Baton Rouge. One of them is The Myrtles which is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country. There are also more up around Natchez, Ms. Glad you enjoyed your time down here.

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Enjoyed your awesome pictures and review.

 

We enjoy going to see the old plantation homes and Oak Alley is my favorite of them all. Back in the 1800's the levee wasn't there to block the view of the Mississippi River and the trees used to funnel the breezes off of the river to the house.

 

There are other plantations along the river further North in St. Francisville which is near Baton Rouge. One of them is The Myrtles which is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country.

 

There are also more up around Natchez, Ms. Glad you enjoyed your time down here.

 

Great insight - thank you kindly for the additional details.

 

Had a fantastic time in NOLA and will certainly return in the future, exploring more of those fascinating plantations too!

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"The bluest blue water

the greenest green grass

the blackest black dirt

 

Earth rising up

ties the heavens

to the ground"

 

 

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"The theory is

drops of water

collected on dust

 

What I see is

a brilliant mix

of sky and earth"

 

 

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"Waves of energy

tumble down

purging tainted lands

 

The healing power

of Louisiana sky

washes the past away"

 

 

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