Foto Friday: Laura Plantation

This installment of Foto Friday, Black History Month Edition, features pictures that I took at Laura Plantation (formerly Duparc Plantation), a 37-acre plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. Named for Laura Locoul Gore, this sugar plantation was built in the early 19th century and is on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. There are 12 original buildings, including slave quarters. This plantation is thought to be the site where Alcée Fortier collected the folktales from African-American freedpeople that became known as the Brer Rabbit tales.

My good friend and colleague Tiwanna Simpson and I visited it in 2003, when it was in the process of being restored. (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) Since then, there has been a fire that destroyed much of the house and of course Hurricane Katrina, but the restoration was finally completed in 2011. Daily tours focus on lives and lifestyle of Creole owners of the plantation. We learned very little about the enslaved people on the plantation. (Hopefully, that has changed.) We were told that there was a different tour, “the adult tour,” which focused on the enslaved people.

Laura1

Plantation Big House, erected 1804

View from the Big House

View from the Big House

The plantation was built on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Skilled workmanship

Skilled workmanship (left)

I was so glad that Dr. Simpson encouraged me to take this picture, although I didn’t know why at the time. The exposed brick shows the original brick (left) and an addition from the late 19th century. Skilled enslaved people built this home in the early 19th century. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that enslaved people had no skills.

Slave Cabins

Slave Cabins

Enslaved people (and later freedpeople) lived in these cabins on Laura plantation.

Close-up of a cabin

Close-up of a cabin

This cabin has been restored.

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