I used Emily’s visit as an excuse to tour yet a different plantation house. Pretty soon I will have seen them all, and then what will I do? I’ll have to start visiting Civil War battlefields. Laura Plantation, though, was one that I had heard a lot of good things about. It is, after all, one of the top attractions.
But I admit that I wasn’t terribly drawn to it. It’s kind of a lovely little house. I like the colors and style of it, but it wasn’t grand like Oak Alley or Nottoway or Houmas House. So I kept putting it at the bottom of my list. I gave Emily the choice of visiting Laura or Houmas House (which I think is my favorite so far) and she chose the former. I was really excited that someone else made the decision to go because I’m not sure if I ever would have gotten around to it.
Alice was turning slightly pink from our day in the French Quarter, so we stopped off for some sunscreen. Baby Alice did not take well to the sunscreen. Poor little girl had an allergic reaction to it just as we were starting the tour.
Our tour guide was about 12-years-old. That’s him in the blue shirt pointing at something.
He wasn’t quite sure what to do about Alice’s cries, so she was banished to the other room for the entire tour. Emily and Alice had to follow behind us the rest of the time.
I ended up really enjoying the tour even though it was more about the history of the family than the architecture of the house. Our little tour guide did a fine job explaining everything, and this was the first plantation I have been to that didn’t describe slavery as though everyone was one big happy family, so that was refreshing. So often at the plantations here, the guides will say that in Louisiana, slaves were treated well because there was a law that said you had to. On this tour, they said the same thing at first, but then told a story about what happened to an escaped slave and explained how the owner (a woman) said that the law is the law but on this plantation, she is the law and no one would know what happened. Unlike other plantations, too, we were taken to one of the slave cabins. Originally there were 26 double family cabins lined up behind the house. Now there are only two.
Even though the house wasn’t stately, it had some wonderful details. I loved these doors.
Here are just a few more pictures of the house (I also loved that we could take pictures inside the house).
And here’s just a little white church down the road that I thought was sweet.
I’d probably rank Laura Plantation near the top. If you’re keeping track of my plantation visits, the ranking would go something like this:
- Houmas House: The house is just as grand as Oak Alley on the outside but nicer on the inside (and they let you take pictures inside). Plus, it has gardens!
- Nottoway: The house was just so beautiful, and I still love those white floors.
- Laura: The tour was really interesting and informative.
- Long Vue House & Gardens: Not really a plantation, but it was built to look like an old estate, so I think it counts. The gardens are lovely and the house/art collection was fascinating.
- Oak Alley: I know this is the most popular one, but it is down on my list. Best things about it are the alley of oaks (you can see them from the road) and the mint julep.
- Destrehan: I mostly forget about this one. What I remember most about my visit was hanging out with Jenn and the old man who talked so slowly and moved so slowly that I didn’t know if he was alive.
We’ll see how the next two on my list, St. Joseph and Bocage, stack up on a future date. And if anyone out there knows of any plantations that I’m missing, please tell me. I want to see all of them.