My afternoon off helped tremendously, but I was concerned about doing too much and falling back into Museum fatigue, so rather than visiting two plantations as I had originally planned, I visited only Oak Alley. It is refurbished, the grounds are lovely and it is very welcoming. The row of oak trees leading to the Mississippi River are 300 years old and were there before the house. They are a romantic and stunning sight. The house was built in the 1830s for Jacques Roman and his family. After his death, his frivolous widow squandered money and mismanaged the plantation forcing its sale. The house was not damaged in the Civil War but was abandoned for almost two decades. In the 1920s, Josephine Stewart and her husband purchased, renovated and then she created a foundation for the plantation. My guide, dressed in period costume, spoke positively of the Romans and their wealth. All I heard was wealth gained from slave labor on this sugar plantation and spoiled women. In addition, the guide spoke highly of the management skills and vision of Josephine Stewart; this was a strong-minded woman looking to the future of her beloved home. Josephine’s grand-nephew heads the foundation and it is thriving.
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