During my recent visit to New Orleans, I managed to fit in a visit to one of Louisiana’s famous plantations. I’d always wanted to visit a plantation, the history surrounding them had always interested me.
There are a number of different plantation tours that you can take, and some companies offer multiple plantation tours.
But I had my eye on one in particular. The Oak Alley Plantation.
Ever since stumbling across this beautiful place online, I knew I’d visit one day.
We were given a little overview of the areas history on the bus ride over. We passed several other plantations on the way, including the Laura Plantation.
The plantation was originally established to grow sugarcane. The Oak Alley that this plantation gets it’s name from was beautiful, as was the big house. We had a while to explore the areas of the Plantation before our tour of the big house.
The Slavery Exhibit
In the far back of the plantation were recreations of the original slave houses. This area illustrates this history and lives of the 200 slaves that lived and worked on the plantation. We learned about the difference between field slaves and house slaves, and how there was a kind of hierarchy among them.
One part of the exhibit showed a list of Jacques Roman’s slaves and how much each one was worth. Part of the list read “Creole negro woman and her four children; George 9, Andre 5, Jesse 3, and Michel, 11 months old”. Can you imagine being a piece of property with a price allocated to you at 11 months?
I know that there are many movies and books documenting America’s history of slavery, but visiting Oak Alley was definitely an eye opener.
The Big House
Once inside the Big House we learned about Jacques Roman and his family, the family who first lived here. The house was set out as it might have looked in 1839 when the house was built. On display are outfits similar to what the Roman’s would have worn.
I’d highly recommend a plantation tour, it’s big piece of Louisiana history, and really puts into perspective an important part of American History.
Our tour to Oak Alley Plantation was through Gray Line; I’d used this company before in Munich. This tour was approximately 5 hours long and starts at 12pm. Tours are $65 USD (2018 prices before tax) and depart from the Gray Line lighthouse office, which is just along from the Natchez cruises.
Have you ever been interested in visiting a plantation?
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