Wednesday, September 20, 2017 : From New Orleans to Baton Rouge


We leave our Best Western in New Orleans and take the road to Baton Rouge. No, not the straight road, of course, the one that, after crossing a few industrial parks, gently follows the west bank of the Mississippi, connecting all the plantations.

 

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Laura Plantation

 

Since the whole area is the frequent victim of the river's wrath, cotton culture is almost unheard of. Sugarcane prevails. The river itself is used as the main thoroughfare : supplies have to be brought in, and sugar must be exported. Plantations are therefore all placed next to each other along both banks of the river.

 

At the time, although French occupation has ended in 1803, French presence is still acutely felt, and the usage of the French language prevails. Most village and family names still have French-sounding names.

 

We visit laura Plantation, a middle-sized plantation that takes its name from the fourth-generation owner. Laura lived from 1861 to 1963. As such, she was very well-placed to follow firsthand how the status of black populations evolved, from slarvery to emancipation to segregation to the struggle for civil rights. Her writings are a live testimonial.

 

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Oak Alley Plantation

 

Later on, we visit Oak Alley Plantation, a similarly properous plantation, masterly handled by several generations of owners, then more or less fallen into dereliction. After several takeovers, the last owner, deceased in 1972, launched the foundation that still runs the plantation as of this day.

 

In case you did not guess, this day tought us a lot about the history of Louisiana and its inhabitants.

 

We then drive to Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, first following the Mississippi, then on the interstate. Our hotel is just across the river.