Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | July 10, 2011

The Big Easy Journals

New Orleans – An Attempt at Journaling #3

Yesterday was another great and interesting day in the Big Easy – and just outside the Big Easy.  EV and I had decided we wanted to take a few tours, so we kicked things off with two plantation tours.  We shuttled through some of New Orleans (past the Superdome and the home of the New Orleans Saints – I’m in the Who Dat Nation, in case you didn’t know!) and out about an hour to the Laura Plantation.  The Laura plantation is a Creole plantation – there were two very different worlds in Louisiana, and those worlds were the Creole and the American.

Laura: A Creole Plantation

The Creole plantation was different in a number of ways from the “American” plantation, in terms of culture.  Oh, it still had the same human rights issues, don’t get me wrong – but it was a home.  It was the place you lived while you did business. The Creole plantation is also much more colourful.  The Laura Plantation, when it was being restored from a fire, revealed colour under the white paint.  It is a yellow, blue and red building, which the Creole had eventually painted white to essentially fit in and protect their land rights.  If you can’t beat ’em, paint ’em, as our lovely guide said.  The Laura Plantation was also distinguished in that the Creole tradition didn’t dictate that property passed from the eldest son to the eldest son, but instead to your smartest, most capable child.  And in this family’s case?  That was women.  It was kind of neat.  The Laura Plantation also is one of the few (or maybe even the only) where you can still tour the slave quarters, because they are still intact.  They were so small.  It makes me sad, that people have been so cruel to other people.  That we can still be cruel.

The Oak Alley Plantation was our next visit, and it was in the American style.  It looked much more like what I expected from a plantation – large, white, huge columns – it was very Gone with the Wind.  As were the tour guides in their big hoop skirts.  The home was very elegant.  There was a memorial to the slaves on the grounds, but the quarters had not survived.  The grounds were also  absolutely divine.  Of course, my camera died on the first tour – fortunately EV loaned me hers, so I will be able to get photos from her.

We came back for the early afternoon, and did a little shopping after lunch. Where did we eat, you might ask.  At an IHOP.  I’d always wanted to go to an International House of Pancakes.  Mmm, it was good.

After shopping, we split up for a bit.  I needed a bit of downtime, so I relaxed in my room for a bit, while EV  did some of the things I wasn’t really interested in.  That would be going to an Oyster bar (ew!) and an Absinthe bar (which was apparently expensive and I doubt it was real wormwood absinthe, given it’s illegal for sale in the U.S., I believe).  Next, we met up and saw Spamalot, which was tons of fun.  We got to drink champagne in the theatre – which was also fun.  We had a late dinner on Bourbon Street – we snuck in right before closing, because the restaurant was nearly dead, but they didn’t tell us they were closing or rush us out, so nice tip for them and we hurried any way!  After our long day and early morning, I was pretty bagged, so I hit the sack, to get ready for today.

And what’s today!  Swamp! Gators! And, hopefully, 20 degree weather!  Woo hoo!

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