Today was our day to go explore the old southern plantations that this area is famous for. They date back to an era in our country’s history when sugar cane plantations reigned supreme. Back in the mid-1700 to late 1800s sugar was king and sugar cane was the richest of all cash crops.
Larry and Ruth had recommended a number of plantations that we should consider to visit and the one that most intrigued Mary Margaret was the Laura Plantation. Thus, with that in mind, we hopped into our little Fiat and off we went.
However, we ground to a halt before we were able to get out of the campground part of our state park. We were being blocked by a Sheriff’s car with its lights flashing. As it turned out, a film production was using our state park to shoot scenes for an upcoming movie. The film will be entitled “Simper Fi”. We ended up talking with one of the support crew as we waited for the shooting to take a break so we could continue on our way. He shared with us that the scenes being shot where supposed to be in Pennsylvania. That really surprised us because the scenery here is definitively Louisiana bayou, not Pennsylvania deciduous forests. Anyway, we had to wait about 15 to 20 minutes before we were allowed to continue on and leave the state park.
We arrived at Laura’s plantation and learned that it was a Creole plantation. Thus, instead of the white, tall, pillars that are so tied to the antebellum Greek revival plantations we envisioned, the Laura plantation is a wonderful example of the architecture that was so typical of plantation homes here along the Mississippi River during the early days of sugar plantations. This region was developed and owned by the Catholic French Creoles during the early sugar era. In fact, they banded together and strongly resisted the Protestant Americans who tried to buy or take over plantation lands when they came onto the market.
Over time, the Protestant Americans took over the some of the plantations and many of the Greek revival style plantation houses that are still standing today.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the Laura Plantation as our guide was very knowledgeable and shared a great amount of details into the history of ownership, the family feuds that ensued and the inter-racial offspring that played major roles in the history of the plantation.
Here are some of the photos that I took which capture what we saw.
We also drove by a few of the Greek revival styled plantation houses that come to mind when one thinks of the southern sugar plantations. One, the Oak Alley Plantation, had a paddle wheeler tied in front of it, bringing a boat load of tourists to it. We opted to avoid the masses of tourist and not tour this plantation but thoroughly enjoyed the visual aspects of the scene as we passed by.
Tomorrow, we will spend the day exploring the bayou region via an airboat. We are really looking forward to this as we have never been on an airboat before.