We were on our way out of New Orleans and headed to Houston when we saw a sign pointing to The Laura Plantation. Something about leaving the south without visiting a plantation seemed wrong plus Donna’s friend Eve suggested it as a worthwhile stop. We pulled into the parking lot at precisely 4PM ,only to discover that the last tour departed at 4:00. Luckily, the workers showed us some of that Southern Hospitality we have found to be present and took us to the tour that was just beginning.
Our tour guide ,Laura ,(Do you think that’s fixed? She claims it is not but we’re not so sure) explained the history behind this lovely Creole plantation. We learned that family is business and business is family and in that the Laura Plantation was not so much a home as a business venture. Laura, the last president of the family business, had been quite a spunky and progressive woman who had turned her back on plantation life after marrying a *gasp* white Protestant from St. Louis. She had actually sold the plantation so it was no longer in the family. In her 70’s she returned to her plantation with her children to see it once again. After this visit she began writing her memoirs which is how so much information is available about this plantation.
Basically what we learned is that Creole plantations seemed a bit more fun. They were painted colorfully and their inhabitants were allowed to attend Mardi Gras balls dressed as a devil whereas white plantation owners would never have tolerated such behavior. We also learned that Creole families did not pass down the business to the oldest child but rather passed it down to the smartest child. The history of the Laura Plantation included many girls who were the smartest and many sons who were a bit (well, more than a bit) put off by it.
The tour was fascinating and there is so much more to tell. Maybe it is worth a trip to New Orleans to visit it yourself or maybe you would like to purchase the memoirs available for only $21.95 at the gift shop. There are many sad stories that Laura shares in her memoirs about how slaves were treated, particularly her grandmother’s rough nature and evil tactics.
To learn more visit http://www.lauraplantation.com/