Plantations and Critters

Our first excursion today was to Oak Alley Plantation. The Big House (plantation house where the owners lived) was the main attraction, of course, along with the alley of oaks which gives the plantation its name.

The plantation was built by J. T. Roman in the 1830s; it was a sugarcane plantation, which meant they had lots of enslaved people – more than 200 at a single time. We took a tour of the Big House; our guide focused on the Roman family, of course, but spent a lot of time discussing the lot of the enslaved people and the economics of slavery. Roman had to take out a loan to build the plantation; it was partially secured by using his slaves as collateral. In fact, Roman mortgaged each of his slaves at least once; they may have been as valuable as capital as they were as laborers!

There was also an exhibit of six slave cottages which were used as housing well into the 20th Century.

I would have liked another half-hour at Oak Alley to be able to see everything, but it was not to be; we had to return to the ship for lunch.

Our second excursion took us to Cajun Pride Swamp Tours, about 45 minutes away.

Captain Danny took us out into the Manchac Swamp and showed us the wildlife and told us stories about life in the swamps many decades ago. We saw wild pigs, raccoons, birds, and, of course, lots of alligators.

We saw the graveyard that was hastily built after a hurricane destroyed the swamp town of Frenier in 1915 – one day after the local voodoo queen Julie Brown died after cursing the town. We saw her grave marker, too – she was buried a few hundred yards away, just in case!

Captain Danny passed around his turtles, Mike, Ike, and Stinky, as well as a baby alligatorso that we could see them upclose and personal. You were even allowed to hold the alligator; I passed.

2 thoughts on “Plantations and Critters

  1. Interesting…NOT the part of the South we’ve been seeing. But then, we spent most of New Orleans at the WW II Museum and most of this last wee and a half in Montgomery focusing on the Enslavement and Civil Rights history.

    Next time we’ll have to catch a mansion.

  2. People who took the Whitney Plantation excursion said that it really focused on slavery; all of the plantations discuss it to some extent (not the case a few years ago).

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