Saturday, October 8, 2011

A plantation experience

You know, I've lived in Louisiana all my life and never really been too interested in visiting our historical plantation homes.  But that's one of the things Becky really wanted to see while she was here.  After our time in New Orleans we headed back to Baton Rouge, and on the way, we stopped off at Laura Plantation.

Laura is a Creole plantation.  The Creole people are Louisiana natives of French or Spanish descent.  Their plantation homes are different to American plantation homes.  They are colourful!  It was generally known that if a plantation home was white, it was American (from English descent) and if they were brightly coloured, like Laura, they were Creole.

Colourful Creole!  Laura Plantation....

Laura was the plantation that Becky wanted to see.  It was named Laura after Laura Locoul, the Creole woman who inherited and ran the plantation for many years.  It was only when doing the guided tour though, that we realised just how much Laura and Becky had in common! 

Laura Locoul was the fourth mistress of the plantation. She was born in the house and ran it until she sold it in 1891.  She sold it because she wanted to follow her heart.  Laura had fallen in love with an non-Creole man, and wanted to be with him.  Despite her families best efforts to change her mind, she sold the plantation and moved to Michigan.  As always, Laura's determination and hard-headedness won.  She was a risk taker and a she was willing to give up all she knew to be with the man she loved.  Sound familiar?

This is Laura dressed as a she-devil for her debut at Mardi Gras.  She was always one to break tradition!
Laura Plantation is also known as the birth place of Br'er Rabbit.  These stories started their lives in Africa and were told by the slaves to their children. Alcee Fortier was a family friend of the Locoul's, and during one of his visits to the plantation, he collected the stories and eventually published them as the stories we know today.

Slave quarters at Laura Plantation
There was so much to experience at Laura and we really only touched the surface.  We learned about the Creole lifestyle and the life of the slaves, but we mostly learned about a wonderfully strong woman.  Her story drew us closer together and made us realise that the changes we were both making to our lives, were not really unique. 

People all through time have fought to be with the ones they love.  Our story though, was just beginning.

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