Monday, July 9, 2012

Houmas House And Laura Plantation

So far the Houmas House had the grandest grounds for a plantation with its massive oak trees, fountains, ponds, and gardens.  

There are a lot of photos I did not post on our Houmas House visit, so will post a few more here to give you an idea of how grand the grounds were.

Houmas House gift shop and entrance.

One of the beautiful ponds at the Houmas House.

Houmas House gift shop's back from across the pond.

One of the majestic Living Oaks at the Houmas House.

One of the paths to the Houmas House.

Houmas House through the trees.
Right side of the Houmas House.
I hope the above pictures show some of the beauty that the Houmas House grounds had to offer.  We were quite impressed and so far think it has the best looking grounds.

Our tour guide, Susan, did an amazing job at taking us back in time as she portrayed Caroline Hampton Preston, the daughter of General Wade Hampton, a Revolution War hero,  who purchased the plantation in 1810.

Out of all of the plantation tours that we have done so far, she was by far the best tour guide that we have had.

Susan portraying Caroline Hampton Preston.

The Laura Plantation gardens may not be as well groomed, but the main house is bright with color and charm.  

This plantation is unique because it is a Creole plantation which was ran differently from American plantations of the time.  This plantation was also mostly owned and ran by women, which was not allowed by the American plantations of the time.

It seems even though the plantation made the owners very rich, none of them really seemed too happy and lived lives that were empty due to the demands of running the plantation.

It just goes to prove that money is not everything and if you are not happy with your job, no amount of money will make it better.  We hope that our children realize material things don't make you happy, but it's the experience of life itself and relationships that you make along the way.

The Laura Plantation had more of a tropical feel to it than its neighboring French and American plantations.

Entry way to the Laura Plantation.
The big metal pots that you see all over the Louisiana plantation trail were used in the making of sugar by boiling the sugarcane juice down to make molasses and sugar.  Now they are used mostly for planters and fish tanks.

Sugarcane pot used as a planter.
Sugarcane pot used as a fish tank for gold fish.
 It was explained to us by the tour guide that if the house was painted yellow then French was the main language spoken.  If the house was painted white, then the language spoken in it was English.

Laura Plantation main house.
All throughout the house were olive jars which we were told made good refrigerators when buried with just the glazed part of the neck sticking out of the ground.  The inside of the jars were glazed while the outside weren't and when buried the outside would wick in the moister of the ground and keep the inside at around forty seven degrees, which is close to the temperature of today's refrigerators.

Olive jar.
The house was built on columns that went eight feet into the ground which rested on a pyramid style of support so that it did not sink into the silt and sand that makes up most of the land in Louisiana, especially near the Mississippi river.

Column in basement of main house.
The view from the front porch of the Laura Plantation was not quite as spectacular since it does not have the columns of oak trees leading up to the house. We were told that prior to the levee being built one would have had a beautiful view of the Mississippi.

Look towards the Mississippi from the front of the main house.
Behind the house was the kitchen and barns to keep the chickens and other livestock in.  At this period in Louisiana time it was illegal to have your kitchen in the house due to the threat of fire.  It also was not put in the house to help keep it cooler in the warmer months of the year. 

If I remember correctly, the kitchen burnt down at the Laura Plantation, which is also the common story at other plantations we visited.  I see the need for the law now.

Back view from the main house to where the kitchen used to be.  What remains are the chicken coops.
The Laura Plantation did have a working garden that also included all different type of peppers.  I can not remember the name of the peppers below, but they start out purple changing colors to yellow, orange, and finally red when ripe.

When Courtney saw them she said, "Oh, they look like pretty Christmas lights"!

Peppers Courtney thought looked like Christmas lights.
There were also bananas growing all over the Laura Plantation.  I wish we could have picked some, but the tour guide was not offering and so I did not ask.

Bananas growing on the plantation.

Ian next to a bunch of bananas.

The Laura Plantation still has some of its 1840 slave cabins which were still being used to house workers on the plantation up to 1977.

The real history with these slave cabins is that the famous west-African folktales of Br'er Rabbit or Compair Lapin were first recorded here.
One of the original slave cabins on the property.

In the next post I will show you our visit to Oak Alley and why it is named such.

I hope you enjoy our posts and that they give you a glimpse of what we are up to and experiencing on our adventure.

Until next time, God bless.

Don, Misty, and Kids.

Home is where the slides are out!


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    1. We've discussed it, but just have not done it yet.