what i saw in the south part ii (plantations and petticoats)

I need to get this out of my system first. I don’t know about you but I have NEVER seen a grasshopper as large as this:


I will come back to this later, but I couldn’t go on without mentioning my first viewing of a true locust! Man, do they grow them big in the South!


Now then, the rest of the post. When I was 12, my mother, sister, grandmother and I visited a plantation not far from our cousins’ house in Vacherie, Louisiana. Unfortunately, all I really remember about that visit is eating pecan pie in the plantation restaurant (pecan pie is among my favorite of all foods on this earth). All other memories have eluded me. So it was with great pleasure that I had a chance to take a second gander down the sidewalks of Oak Alley Plantation, and this time, I took in all of its magnificence and intriguing history.



Though disallowed from taking photos inside the mansion itself, I enjoyed capturing various moments during Camille’s and my “30 years later” tour of the grounds. For most of this post, I will let the photos speak for themselves.


Looking in from the outside…
And out from the inside…
The shadows from the oaks rather captivated me
Backside…love the circular (heart-shaped?) drive…
The hedges out back…
Imagine being a child here and peeking over the hedges…


This tree was out back as well. Ah, sweet magnolias!



Our appreciation for this tour probably was enhanced by the fact that Camille just finished Gone With the Wind, and I was happily working through my friend Rosslyn Elliott’s beautiful book, Fairer Than Morning. Both have themes that touch on this time in history.


Our tour guide, Sarah, and her colleague – pretty belles

It was the time of the slaves and those who owned them. Not the proudest time in our country’s history, to be sure, but history nevertheless and a time we should know about to better understand ourselves. We are not much different now, after all. We still like to label some human beings in our population as subhuman so we can do with them what we wish. We need to be vigilant not to judge our past in a way that releases us from our present failings.


Here, the various values of slaves were listed:

At the end of the tour, we were treated to a mint julep


We were free to explore the grounds until 10 p.m. We could only stay a bit longer, though.


The colonel and his apprentice sharing some Civil War history

Note: the apprentice is busy doing something…but what??




I honestly did not know what could be holding his attention pretty much the whole time the colonel talked. As I zeroed in on the critter in his hands, I was compelled to move over toward his bench. I then asked the shy lad for a photo so I could prove that I’d seen a grasshopper this large. He seemed to regard it as a pet, from what it seemed.


And then as we began to walk off the grounds — all too soon but a plane back to North Dakota awaited us — a final treat in a large pot…



It was a nice way to say “goodbye” to the South. Of course, the hugs of my cousins, even better!


Q4U: Is there someone you haven’t seen a while that you’d like to see this summer? How many years since you’ve seen them?

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