Old Louisiana State Capitol. Here’s a little history behind it: “New York architect James H. Dakin was hired to design the Baton Rouge capitol building; and rather than mimic the national Capitol Building in Washington, as so many other states had done, he conceived a Neo-Gothic medieval-style castle overlooking the Mississippi, complete with turrets and crenellations. Dakin referred to his design as “Castellated Gothic” due to its decoration with cast iron, which was both cheaper and more durable than other building materials used at the time. The building design was so unusual and distinctive that its romantic, medieval appearance earned the Old Statehouse ridicule from the timelessly famous author, Mark Twain.”
San Francisco Plantation, established 1860. This plantation home is one of the most ornate in the South. The story goes that the French phrase “son saint-frusquin,” or “the shirt off his back,” was a description of what the construction of the house cost its first owner, Edmond Marmillion. This became mistranslated into San Francisco. The property and home is expansive and beautiful. You can opt for a guided tour of the home or, if you’re short on time, you can enjoy a self guided tour around the grounds.
Researchers at Laura Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana have been studying and interpreting the slave experience in Creole Louisiana for more than 20 years. It is a part of the history of the plantation and when you visit you will leave more informed about the slave experience on this plantation and their lives beyond the Emancipation Proclamation.
The tour is incredibly educational and really helps you to understand that although slaves were freed by the law of the land, their circumstances and ties to the plantations and lands where they worked didn’t allow many former slaves to experience freedom in their life.
The drive into Afton Villa Gardens in Saint Francisville, Louisiana is magical. It’s like entering a secret garden of sorts. And this is only the driveway to get to the gardens! If you’re planning a trip anywhere near West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana, make sure to add Afton Villa Gardens to your list. It only takes about an hour to tour the gardens and it’s worth your time. Read about the gardens and then go explore them!
Today is Audubon Day, celebrating the life of ornithologist, naturalist, and painter, John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851). He’s known for his detailed illustrations of birds in their natural habitats. 32 of his Birds of America series of paintings were completed here at Oakley House in Saint Francisville, Louisiana, where he served a short term tutoring the owner’s daughter.
The house is within a 100 acre-forest that now serves as the Audubon Historic Site. If you need a peaceful escape, you’ll love hearing a wide variety of birds singing throughout the site forest. It’s easy to understand why Audubon was so inspired while he lived and worked here. Visiting may just inspire you too!
Some of my favorite pictures have been taken thanks to “I pulled over for this” moments. I’m sure you’ve had that moment when you’ve been on the road. You pass by something fascinating or beautiful and you make the call to delay your trip, get off the road and capture and embrace the moment. That’s what happened when I was on a road trip along the Great River Road in Louisiana.
We had visited a few plantations and were trying to find a restaurant for lunch and as we were driving we passed this church. I looked at her and she looked at me and we knew we just had to pull over and see this beauty, St. Philip Catholic Church, right as a storm was moving in. I was thankful to be able to get a few photos before the rain came down.
The Avenue of Oaks at Evergreen Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana seemed familiar to me when I visited. I did a quick search on my phone and discovered scenes from many movies have been filmed here including Django Unchained. The plantation and the avenue of oaks are just off of the Great River Road in Louisiana.
Any visit to New Orleans involves exploration and surprises. The city is full of life and surprising treasures like this townhouse. You’ll find it at 624 Pirates Alley. It was once the home of a young writer from Mississippi named William Faulkner. He lived here for six months in 1925, and that was enough time to launch his literary career. While here, he wrote for the Times-Picayune; some poetry; and the draft of his first novel, Soldier’s Pay.
The townhouse now serves as a bookstore and literary shrine called Faulkner House Books. When you walk in you’ll be surprised by what you’ll find in such a tiny space. The 16′ ceilings are packed with books! It’s a must visit the next time you’re exploring New Orleans.