I had plans for today. I was going to drive the 8 miles into Baton Rouge and hang out. Touring the governor's mansion and the capital was on my 'to see' list.
Those plans changed. I visited the breakfast room and while there became engaged in a conversation with one of the staff members of this hotel. The subject of St. Francisville came up and my plans for today changed. I decided to visit the cotton plantations instead of the government palaces of Louisiana.
20 minutes from here is the town of St. Francisville. A large graveyard sits on the north side of town well within the city limits. The old tombstones are a testament to the age of this little village. Large live oaks touch branch to branch creating a canopy around the perimeter. The hanging moss sways slightly from the humid breeze that occasionally moves through. I toured the historical section of town with the fine big homes that aren't considered plantation homes as they are situated residentially with neighbors yards ajoining.
As I drove by the town park, I realized that I had been here at an earlier time. The white gazebo dominated the middle of this park and this is where I listened to the Angola Prison Band a few years ago. The band played from that gazebo while armed guards stood on each side. In case you haven't heard these prisoners play, you have missed out on some great musicians and singers. I guess they have lots of practice time.
I was killing time until the plantation tours started. Their were two plantations that I plannned on visiting but when the heavy rains blew in, I cancelled my plans to tour the second one.
Rosedown Plantation This is where I spent the morning. I walked through the gardens, the winding paths protected by the trees that reached out with their limbs to embrace the neighboring tree, the sun dimly seen through the patchwork of leaves above. Graveled walkways wound around and through the 30 acres of gardens around the mansion called Rosedown.
The tour didn't start until 1000 hrs so I climbed the wide stairs to the porch and seated myself in one of the rockers.
My cell phone camera clicked away as I took pictures and emailed them from where I sat to friends around the country. From the early 1800's when this house was built, who would have imagined we would have came so far? This house during it's heydey in the height of it's growing and producing cotton, maintaining the gardens and with the 10 children raised here and the slave population that lived and worked here had no indoor plumbing. Whale oil for lightning and an outdoor kitchen, this house was the home of the very rich. I can't imagine how the very poor lived.
Plantation after plantation line the highway out of this town. When the civil war was over, they were all as destitute as the most common person around. Every plantation suffered the loss of the free labor and these families now struggled to just feed themselves.
I enjoyed a private showing. I was the only person waiting to be taken on the tour though later in the morning many more people arrived and were shown around by the second tour guide. My tour was informative and I got to ask many questions about the families that lived in this magnificent structure. Lucky me. I throughly enjoyed the private attention I received.
Tomorrow we head back to Lafayette. I'm still encouraging the husband to take a job in Colorado or any place "out west" and "north". He mentions Pennslyvania as a possible location. If that materializes, I'll tag along and rent a car when we get there. I want to go to Virginia and to Thomas Jefferson's home to tour it and the area. I have plans, though loosely bound, I'm ready for the east or the west. It's August here and it's time to leave for a while!
Oh, did I mention the hurricane that is brewing in the Atlantic? I need to check that out also. The husband says it's coming in south of Cuba which is a bad forecast for us on the coast. I'll be watching.