A photographer friend of mine from up North stopped down for a visit and he wanted to explore some Southern plantation homes…so we hopped in the car, hugged the Mississippi River, and made the short drive over to the Oak Alley Plantation (about an hour’s drive from Baton Rouge).
It was well worth the trip. As we approached we were greeted with a view of a quarter-mile avenue of gigantic 300-year-old live oak trees that lead down to the classic Greek revival antebellum plantation home.
We opted for the house tour (about $20 bucks for 30 minutes). The tour guide was fantastic, dressed in period costume and full of energy, enthusiasm, and quite witty. The subject matter was focused mainly on the families who lived there rather than the general plantation-area history itself (e.g. the slave workers that made it successful), but it was still quite informative and very enjoyable. The view from the balcony overlooking the live oaks was breathtaking, and that in of itself was worth the price of admission.
After the tour you are welcome to tour the grounds for as long as you like. The property is meticulously cared for and is very serene and peaceful…I could have stayed for hours. You really can’t appreciate how magnificent those giant oaks are until you are completely surrounded by them. I’ve never felt so small! And BTW, they start serving mint juleps at 10am.
POP Culture Alert: I’m a fan of Ann Rice’s book “Interview with a Vampire” and it turns out that the film (starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt ) featured Oak Alley as Louis’ home. That’s kinda cool, eh?
Oak Alley Plantation
3645 Highway 18 (Great River Road)
Vacherie, Louisiana 70090
Phone: (225) 265-2151
Note: Special thanks to T.C. Pellet for the great photos.
This post will probably be dreadfully boring for Southerners to read.
Please commence collective eye-rolling, Baton Rouge.
I’m sorry, but this ex-Northerner had no idea that cotton was so cool! How did I manage to go this long without touching real cotton while wearing it on my back for 42 years? I definitely need to get out more.
And it feels just like, uhm, oh, what’s the word I’m looking for?
Oh yeah, it feels just like cotton! Neat-o!
Okay, sorry to bore y’all. I act like 5-year-old when I discover new things.
Geeky Trivia Aside
I tried to do a little research on the term “Cotton-Pickin’ Minute” and discovered many different explanations.
- Literally, a measurement of how much cotton can be picked per minute. Perhaps used to compare the output of manual labor vs. machines?
- Bugs Bunny said it! Credit for first recorded use?
- A term that came into use in the South in the 17th Century to describe a nuisance or something unpleasant (Cotton picking was hard and uncomfortable work!)
- Because picking cotton requires pulling off each tuft of cotton individually, the term means tedious and boring?
- Polite slang term for “damn”?
- A slur with racial overtones?
Any Southerners out there who can set the record straight?