Vacherie: Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley is the beautiful plantation with its white-columned Big House and alley of multi-century old trees you’ve seen in dozens of film and photograph backgrounds.
Oak Alley is one of those places where the guides dress up in costumes, parasols sometimes included, to show you around the home. It’s one of those places that has buildings where you can spend the night and offers itself up to fanciful weddings and videos and shoots made for people much wealthier than the average tourist. It’s one of those places that has a restaurant and a café, both overpriced. In other words, it’s commercialized. (more…)
Vacherie: The Plantations
Plantations have a rough history thanks to the actions of the ancestors who roamed their halls. I struggle with giving money to such places, but then I also think it is important to face their history rather than try to hide it or let it disappear quietly like it never happened. While I visited plantations on our southern road trip, some of them stood out for their approach to history in good ways and very, very bad ways. Louisiana housed the best and the worst of these. While I don’t want to glorify plantations and tell anyone they ought to see them (because they aren’t a necessity for many), I know that others will visit them. So, we toured three – Laura, St. Joseph, and Oak Alley – and I did my best to provide an honest review of what each plantation is like so you can make the best choice.
If you’ve read enough about slavery or you don’t ever plan to visit a plantation because of their sordid pasts – both of which are more reason than anyone needs – please exit this post now (or just scroll through the photos if you want to appreciate the workmanship of the men, women, and children who actually built these structures rather than the people who forced them to do so). (more…)
Best Of: New Orleans
Best Surprise: “Before I Die” – Candy Chang
I blogged about Candy Chang’s installation being my favorite part of our stay in the city a couple weeks back and that statement still holds even after combing through the photos. It could be a simple thing, easily destroyed, but it wasn’t. The fact that the wall was left alone and used (mainly) for its purpose, speaks volumes about its message. It was a privilege to read the hopes and dreams of others even if I didn’t know to whom they belonged. Their inner reflections allowed me to reflect on my own hopes for the future and for that I am grateful. (more…)