Oak Alley: is Louisiana’s most stunning plantation?
Oak Alley Plantation is one of many Louisiana’s plantation, located in Vacherie, one hour from New Orleans or Baton Rouge and was the highest place on my bucket list to see during my stay in Louisiana. As soon as I found out I was picked for the exchange project in Louisiana, I knew I wanted badly to see this place that seemed so magical from pictures.
Built between 1831 and 1836 by Jacques Roman entirely with enslaved labor, the mansion is still a symbol of slavery typical of that time in plantations all over the South. Along the bank of Mississippi river, the main house is a classic example of antebellum building, with its greek elements and still very well preserved.
Tours allow you to visit the interiors and guides dressed up in typical gowns explain you how life was back in a sugarcane plantation and share you stories of the owners families, including some curiosities. Do you know how they used to inform a guest that his time by the mansion was up? They put a whole pineapple on his breakfast tray.
As you may imagine, the highlight of the plantation is its gorgeous oak alley that, with its 240 meters length and 28 trees, perfectly frames the façade of the mansion. These 300 years old trees create a romantic setting, where, more often than you can imagine, wedding proposals and breathtaking ceremonies take place.
The 25 acres of the property includes also a blacksmith shop showcasing some historical pieces regarding forging metalwork on the plantation. A Civil War tent displays the impact of the event on the property. Slavery at Oak Alley Plantation played a huge part both in building and then running the plantation and an exhibit located in slaves cottages helps you understand who lived at the plantation and their living conditions.
The sugarcane exhibit show you how these crop was grown and processed when the plantation was active and how Roman family built its fortune on it. The grounds around the Big House also include a formal garden, built to separate the mansion form the garage.
My visit at Oak Alley has been magical, I’ve dreamt so much to see it that it really felt a dream that became true. Besides the beauty of these tall and ancient trees that perfectly frame the mansion, like in the cover of a children fairytale book, the property is a true heritage of history and a forever reminder of its dark side during slavery.
You may now also stay at Oak Alley in one of their cottages to enhance your experience in the plantation or simply enjoy an authentic cajun/creole meal in their restaurant ( I truly recommend you to di this as cajun and creole cuisine is exquisite!).
In case you are wondering, Oak Alley is one of the places I dream of going back again and surely will on my next visit in Louisiana. As I go through my photos of the visit I feel the same emotion I had when I step into the plantation, the feeling you have when you get to see that place you dreamt so bad and finally is in front of you with all its splendor.
Read more about Oak Alley Plantation on its official website.