Tuesday, October 15, 2013

OAK ALLEY PLANTATION

Magnificent! A grand old sugar plantation with even grander ancient oaks. The alley of oaks from which its name is derived is like walking down a grand corridor. There are 28 of them, 14 to each side, planted roughly 300 years ago, long before the house was built.

At every turn I saw a ghost out of the corner of my eye. Not a ghost in the traditional sense, but a ghost none-the-less. A ghost of someone who should have been there and would have certainly reveled amongst those ancient oaks.

The roadside sign.

Three of the six reconstructed slave quarters; originally there were twenty of them; they were called “doubles” because two families lived in each quarters on opposite ends of the building, a fireplace generally separating the two. They were unique in that they were relatively close to the Big House at Oak Alley which was generally unheard of back in the day.

Outhouses were not common to plantations until after the Emancipation. Behind a tree, a bush, or in a ditch would have to do. The sun and crescent moon holes let in light and air, and delineated between the sexes…crescent moon for women, sun for men.

A sugar kettle used as a flower pot; sugar kettles came in four different sizes, this one the largest at 7.5 feet in diameter.

The Big House from the northeast (over the Smith Gardens).

East side, 1st floor portico of the Big House.

The Big House fa├žade (north side) from the alley of oaks.

There were a few “southern belles” there to add a little atmosphere and give tours.

The parlor; an interesting side note is, though original to the time period, none of the furniture except a crib in the master bedroom is original to the house.

Anyone care for a glass of wine?

The dining room.

Another belle in the first floor main hallway.

2nd floor visitor’s bedroom.

2nd floor main hallway; the gentleman leaning against the hand rail was out tour guide.

Children’s bedroom; it looks empty, but there are beds just out of camera range.

The master bedroom; I tried playing with the camera for the best possible shot without sing a flash, but it came out a little fuzzy; a few others are fuzzy as well; on the extreme right in this photo you can see the crib I mentioned earlier as being the only piece of furniture original to the house.

The other half of the master bedroom and, again, the crib.

I don’t quite remember whose bedroom this is, perhaps the son of Jacques Roman who built the Big House, and the son’s wife.

Looking down the alley of oaks from the 2nd floor balcony.

Same view at a slight angle; note the wedding party at one of the oaks on the left; yes, they have weddings there.

A closer view of the wedding party.

East side, 2nd floor balcony.

The Smith Gardens, named for a more recent owner; the building in the background, although a garage for Smith era cars, was the site of the original plantation kitchen.

South side, 2nd floor balcony.

The plantation overseer’s house southeast of the Big House; it’s a private residence now.

Our tour guide.

West side, 2nd floor balcony.

Back inside, another belle at a bedroom doorway.

1st floor, main hall.

West side of the Big House.

Looking down the alley of oaks.

Looking back at the Big House from part way down the alley of oaks.

Further down the alley of oaks, looking back at the Big House; yes, Oak Alley has its own cat (Alley Cat?).

Even further down the alley of oaks, looking back at the Big House; the “alley” with its 28 oak trees is a quarter mile long.

The Big House.

The Oak Alley Cat.

The Big House, south side.

Oak Alley, and three nearby plantations you can visit.

The west side of the Big House; I took this photo from the Jeep as I was leaving.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the great story and terrific photographs! We are pleased to announce that we just re-acquired some Roman family furniture, and so there are more original furnishings in the house now!

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  2. Many thanks for the fine day at Oak Alley, exceptional hospitality and presentation; our tour guide of the Big House was wonderful with stories and knowledge of the plantation. I’ll most certainly be coming back again.

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