My brother Rian has a thing for River Road plantations, so we usually see at least one every visit. This year it was Laura Plantation in Vacherie. It was owned by four generations of the same Creole family, and always ran by one of the women. The last one sold it for less than $20,000, even though it was making millions in sugar every year. The story is that, as a child, she asked one of the old (black) field hands where the scar on his face came from, and he told her that when he’d been a slave on the plantation and tried to escape, her grandmother had her initials branded into his face, so he’d never forget he was her property. The plantation totally repulsed her after that, but her other siblings were all mentally ill or learning disabled (inbreeding, yay!), so it had to go to her. Her name was Laura, and her father named the plantation for her (it was orignally called DuParc) to sweeten the deal. But she must have never made peace with it, because she eventually sold it, got married, moved to St. Louis, completely disowned her Creole heritage, and died at 101. And that’s not just some bulshit they made up for tourists, because she published her memoirs in the ’40s, after reading Gone With The Wind and deciding it was a bunch of over-romanticized, sentimental crapola.
This was a woman after my own heart. Just earlier that very visit, I was expressing frustration with the way people in that area of Louisiana cling to the rotted-out hulks of houses rendered uninhabitable by hurricanes, constantly picking at the scab by visiting them and refusing to have them torn down. I don’t get the idea of investing all your emotion in some malarial patch of swampy ground, just because a billion generations of your ancestors never had the guts to GTFO. That bullshit just breaks your heart in the end. Fuck Henry, Louisiana; it’s all going to be under water eventually anyway.
The main house was yellow, red, and green. Creoles liked color; that whole solid white/neo-Classical architecture that you probably think of when you think of antebellum plantation homes was an Anglo thing.
The second owner’s husband’s family owned a vineyard back in France, so she also ran a wine import business out of the plantation.
One of the ways they used the wine bottles was by planting them neck-down around tree and flower beds. I’m pretty sure my mother is going to steal this idea.
Here is the full set. They actually let us take photos inside of the house, which is rare.