This weekend we finally, FINALLY had a Saturday without either rain or a triple-digit heat index, which hasn’t happened since June. I drove up to Edgard, the parish seat of St. John the Baptist. Seat or not, it’s still only got about 2,500 residents. The “saints” (St. John, St. James, St. Charles) parishes or river parishes that line the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge are really rural, most of the towns are actually unincorporated or census-designated areas. There are a lot of old plantations in the area, in varying degrees of upkeep, some of them open to the public and some not.
The main reason I went there was Evergreen Plantation. It still has a lot of the surviving outbuildings—pigeonniers, garçonnières, slave cabins, a kitchen, even a privy that looks like a tiny Greek temple—and I often find those kinds of buildings are more interesting to photograph than the houses themselves. However, the tour was kind of a disappointment. We got dragged through the grounds with hardly a stop on the way to the main house; which, other than an exterior double staircase, is frankly not that interesting. (If you’ve seen Django Unchained, you’ll recognize it as Big Daddy’s house.) We did get to stop at the slave cabins, because that’s where the tour ended, but I would have appreciated a longer look at the other buildings. And they didn’t let us stay on the grounds afterwards, which literally every other plantation on the River Road that I’ve been to does. At $20 adult admission, they need to give you more for your money. (And I made my feelings clear in my Yelp review!)
But a trip to the River Road is never wasted. I always find interesting things to photograph: tiny churches, graveyards with odd mausoleums, and of course abandoned buildings by the dozen. The highlight of this trip was the Caire’s Landing building, which I’d seen photos of in Richard Sexton’s Vestiges of Grandeur. I knew it was in Edgard, but it was still weird to drive along and just see it there. It’s not even fenced in, you can just walk up to it. Of course I also photographed the local Catholic cemetery, too. Supposedly General PGT Beauregard, who ordered the first shots fired in the Civil War, is buried there, but I didn’t come across his tomb.
p.s. I started an Ello account yesterday and I still have a couple of invites left. PM or email me your email address if you’re interested. Or if you’re already on there and looking for more friends, I’m sarah_kay_gee. (I have no real reason not to use my full legal name, but decided not to just because I could, unlike with Facebook.)