Bucket List Item #428 – Oak Alley Plantation
Just off the west bank of the Mississippi river in St. James Parish lies Oak Alley Plantation. This was one of the first ever items I remember having written down on my bucket list. You see, I’m a huge fan of Interview with the Vampire, but I never realized that Louis’ home was a real place you could visit. I don’t remember where this useful tid bit of knowledge came from, but I knew I had to go. So, when we decided to do New Orleans for our anniversary it was the number one priority.
Oak Alley is one of those places that when you see it in real life it’s actually as grand as your imagination has painted it. From the seemingly endless row of oak trees at the entrance to the hedge mazes out back to the details inside the home: it’s the real deal! I could see Louis riding his horse through the trees, eating dinner in his grand dining room and torching the place and damning himself to hell. It’s really just beautiful. Of course, you also have to remember the history of sites like this while you’re visiting. Oak Alley was established as a sugar cane plantation and has a history of slavery (of course all plantations do). Actually, one very important man named Antoine was a slave on the farm and in 1846 was successful in grafting the first ever pecan that you could crack with your bare hands. It was revolutionary at the time. He managed to graft 126 of these trees at Oak Alley in his lifetime, which paved the way for other farms to produce these trees as well. Sadly, nothing else is known about Antoine other than that he was a very talented gardener and his worth was listed as $1000 in Jacques Télesphore Roman’s (owner of Oak Alley) ledger. It’s too fucked up.
Anyway, this is a bucket list check I enthusiastically recommend. The staff there was really lovely and gave a ton of information. The tour guide dressed the part as well and they let us take pictures, which is always a plus. The grounds were great and there are just endless photo opportunities. I would do this again in a heart beat if I could. I really wish I was blogging back then and would have thought about creating some really great photos because the property is just so photogenic. I wish we could have stayed there as well. They have some overnight cottages and the restaurant was top notch. It was actually some of the best food we had in Louisiana and that’s saying a lot because we ate at a ton of great places. The Étouffée and pecan pie will blow your mind. I’d like a do-over, please! 😀