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Laura Plantation – A Creole Creation near New Orleans

Laura Plantation house in 2002

Image via Wikipedia

Laura is a place I’ve been meaning to visit for some time. I heard about it years ago and have passed by it several times on my way to the Oak Alley Plantation only 4 miles away down the river road.

Laura has the distinction of being considered the best historical tour in the United States so being an amateur historian of sorts I have been eager to see it. A few years ago the main house sustained a major conflagration which did some extensive damage to the house. But because the history of the place is more important than the actual place itself tours didn’t stop and continued the day after the fire.

My two cousins and I hopped in the car and headed west on I-10 to the 310 cutoff, crossed the river and made it to the gate of the plantation about an hour after we left New Orleans just in time to get our tickets for the noon tour with a few minutes to spare to peruse the neat gift shop.

The grounds of the plantation are beautiful and are almost paradisiacal in their layout. In fact, you feel like you might be on some kind of Caribbean plantation with the palm trees, oak trees and the spacious feeling with the cool breeze wafting over the sugar cane fields.

The house is built in a true creole style with muliti-colored trim, doors and railings. It set it apart from the white houses of the locals. One could always tell if a creole family lived in a house along the river because these were the ones not painted completely white. When the anglos finally got hold of the Louisiana in the early part of the 20th century and outlawed French in the schools the creoles felt they needed to start fitting in so they also eventually painted their houses all white as well.

I’ve addressed the meaning of creole in an earlier post and stated that there are several different definitions. The meaning they use here are the first born of French ancestry. They had their own customs and traditions and of course the French language. And one thing that stuck in my mind is when the tour guide stated that the creoles did nothing in moderation. They drank to excess, grieved in excess and apparently made money in excess since this family were extremely wealthy people. And for the most part it was the women of the family who were in charge of the business.

The tour lasted about an hour and a half and I found it to be extremely interesting and highly recommend it. You’ll get to see beautiful gardens, an old grove of banana trees, slave quarters still standing, and experience a wonderful tropical feel.

It’s the type of place that one could go to again and again

For more info go to www.lauraplantation.com

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