New Orleans – The Huey P. Long & Destrehan Plantation

There is a lot of water in Louisiana that means you need a lot of bridging.  The 24-mile bridge from Mandeville to New Orleans was the longest; the Huey P. Long  was the most interesting.  It is the longest elevated train track in the U.S.  Very impressive.  We crossed “The Heuy” each time we drove from our campsite at Bayou Segneete State Park into New Orleans.  I’m glad it was not a toll bridge.

Close to 50 years ago a well-dressed, bitter old man at the Miami airport shared with me how he missed his youth, and the years before air conditioning came to Florida.  He longed for fewer people, and when a black man walking towards him would cross over to the other side of the street.  My young spirit, my younger me sensed the wrongness of the matter of fact, supremacy, egotistical words.   Visiting a plantation was not on my radar, but we did. Cotton bales the size of semi trucks sitting along the roadway, and seeing maps of 1858 New Orleans poked at my interest button.

We toured the Destrehan Plantation.   Super energetic, well spoken, period dressed Beverly hosted our 45-minute tour.  The artifacts, and props took us back a couple of hundred years.  After introductions the tour started in a climate controlled room containing an original document signed by a Destrehan, and two presidents, one being Thomas Jefferson.  History class has begun.

Napoleon fought Spain for territory, and France didn’t want to give up their turf until they needed some cash to fight another war.  The U.S. got a lot of real estate for 11 million dollars.  From fourth grade history class learning of slavery, the made for television show “Roots”, and the civil rights movement, put history in its place.  Yet it is the smallest fraction of time when set alongside eternity.  It’s good having a personal relationship with Jesus, and a coming to terms with the true difference between heaven and hell.

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Destrehan Plantation restored by historical society
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Sitting in front of 500 year old Live Oak, referring to limbs on the ground – as if it were walking.
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Live Oak
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Mule barn – relocated from another plantation. It took lots of mules to operate these plantations.
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People were shorter/smaller in the 1800’s. Average man 5’4″, average woman 4’11”. Note lower door handle.
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1858 map of plantations along the Mississippi.
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Plantations over time were divided among family, rarely sold to non-family.
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Beverly – after a 45 minute tour she remembered (8) peoples names. Very impressive.
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Hair brushes provided product for hair art. Boring times for ladies.
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Inventory of slaves, listing name, class, origin, age, other, and value.
Note definition of Creole.

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