Monday, August 26, 2013

Cajun Country

On Saturday our plans to visit Fort Morgan were shot down when it rained cats and dogs most of the day.  It finally stopped long enough for us to go to St. Margaret of Scotland Church.  It was gorgeous with medium dark wood floors and a long center aisle.  Great church for a wedding.  We went home for dinner and prepared to leave Sunday morning.

It had rained again through the night but wasn't raining while we drove through Mississippi and stopped at the Louisiana Welcome Center.  We ate a sandwich and continued on and immediately were on Washboard Lane, also known as LA I-10.  Too bad they had Huey Long instead of Robert Byrd.  I am still in awe of the West Virginia roads.

We arrived at Cajun Palms RV Resort in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  Unlike the use of the term Resort by some parks, this one truly is.  We have a super long, double wide pull through spot with the next spot about 20 feet away.  There is plenty of room for the trailer, truck and picnic table on the pad with lots of grass on the sides.  There is a water park, movie theater, fishing pond, a restaurant that will deliver to your rig, a train ride, miniature golf, video poker, and a camp store that sells liquor!  They said it is almost impossible to get in on a weekend.

What a surprise when we opened the door and all seven of my French white corning ware dishes were splintered and broken all over the trailer.  I will be picking up white slivers for years to come!  The cabinet door flew open and tossed them right out.  Thank you Louisiana DOT.  I bungee cord the doors together for this very reason but this is a single door with nothing to attach a cord to.  I guess I will be at Bed, Bath and Beyond sometime soon.  

We went to dinner at Crawfish Cafe instead of having them deliver food to us.  Then we took a ride around the area.  We checked on Poche's RV Park that some of our friends use and saw the most exquisite sunset but I didn't have my camera.

Today we drove to Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, LA.  

On the western banks of the Mississippi River, southwest of Baton Rouge and northwest of New Orleans, stands a stunning and truly awe-inspiring Greek and Italianate style “White Castle”. This is Nottoway Plantation, the South’s largest antebellum mansion, and the mere fact that she actually is still standing is a tribute to the tenacity, courage and commitment of many people throughout her history. Nottoway has survived the Civil War, a variety of owners, and years of decline and disrepair to become a favorite destination for visitors the world over.

     Completed in 1859Nottoway’s 53,000 square foot palatial white mansion awes visitors with its 64 rooms and countless extravagant features like 22 massive exterior columns, 12 hand-carved Italian marble fireplaces, exquisitely detailed plaster frieze moldings, soaring 15½-foot ceilings, enormous 11-foot doors and a lavish pure white oval ballroom, as well as unheard of innovative features, like modern bathrooms with running water and a gas plant providing gas lighting throughout the 

     The construction was commissioned by John Hampden Randolph, a very prestigious sugar planter, to be the ultimate showplace of his wealth; he wanted no expense spared and ordered that it include every extravagance and innovative feature possible. Stately, opulent Nottoway would be home to John, his wife, Emily Jane Randolph, and their 11 children, but also the perfect setting in which to elegantly and dramatically entertain their many visitors.

I was in awe of the live oaks that are 100, 200 and 300 years old and tried to capture their majesty in photos.  I didn't succeed because they are so much more beautiful than shown here in my photos.

Our initial approach.

A closer look.

And close enough to show the wings that were deliberately built differently so the mansion would be distinctive from the river.

Here are a few of my attempts at capturing the trees on the property.

This is a small garden surrounding a bell used to call the slaves to the start of the work day.  The area is where the detached kitchen stood before it burned down.  The threat of fire kept kitchens separate from the main house frequently. 

This is the white ballroom mentioned above.  Everything is white and was built specifically for the seven  Randolph girls' debuts and weddings. 

This is the dining room with the Randolph china.  

This is the music room where the girls learned to play various instruments.  The boys were not encouraged in the arts.

Here is a view from the second floor balcony of a barge passing on the Mississippi River which used to be eight acres away but floods and time has brought it closer.  In 1940 a 53 foot levee was built next to the road.

A view of lovely crepe myrtles.  You can see the road, levee and river from this vantage point.

We watched a short video of the history of the Randolph family and visited a small museum.  Information on John, Emily and their 11 children was extensive.  The oldest son was killed in the Civil War at Vicksburg, the second came home with malaria, the third one served but would not talk of his experiences.  The youngest took up with a mulatto slave and was shunned.  They had two daughters but never married.  He died alone in New Orleans but had reunited with his family by then.  There was no further information on him, the woman or the children.  The girls were all married except Sallie who was sickly her whole life and died at age 40, engaged but not married.

Our last visit was to the family cemetery.  Those not initially buried here were moved from St. Mary  Cemetery, Bayou Goula, Louisiana, December 2003.

It rained off and on our way home.  We decided to stay one more day to take a swamp tour tomorrow.  Ted does not need to stop in Beaumont so we will head out early Wednesday heading for home.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Beautiful pictures - would love to see it in person! Can't imagine staying in such a wonderful campground (doesn't sound like a campground - but I guess that is the point)! Safe travels the rest of your way home.