Monday, March 9, 2015

Whitney Plantation, Edgard, LA 3/5 & 9/2015

On the road again Thursday March 5.

Wow, what a change in weather.  At midnight the temperature was 71.  I awoke at 2:30 am.  It was 75 degrees.  At 7:30 it was 41 degrees and dropping.  But I know I dare not complain.  Back in Phil's hometown of Merrill, WI it is minus 21 degrees.
We toured the Whitney Plantation Museum., Edgard, MS.  It is "the only plantation museum dedicated to understand the facts of slavery."  The Big House is the "earliest and best preserved" Creole Plantation on River Road.

We start in the Antioch Church.
Inside the Church are statues of many children.  Thru the WPA in the 1930's many former slaves told their life experiences.  Theses statues depict their ages at the end of the Civil War.
Wall of Honor lists the slaves who were on this Plantation before 1840.
 The field slaves were given Sunday off.

Names of 107,000 who were slaves in Louisiana before 1820

 It was cold and blustery.  I'm bundled up in coat, hat and gloves.  The tour guide said it is good to do tours on a cold day like this.  We have to realize the women slaves had one dress and the men capri pants.  No shoes, no coat or gloves but still they had to work outside.
"Field of Angels" where 2,200 slave babies who died before their 3rd birthday are remembered.

Slave cabins and kettles for boiling sugar cane.

The slaves took their water from the nearby stream.  Could have worms, bugs, many impurities in it.

Oldest detached kitchen in Louisiana.
Straight walk to the Big House to serve the food.

 Olive oil vessel buried partially in the floor was used to keep food cool.
 Main dining room floor is tile in case of flooding.  
 What we would call the living room
Master Bedroom.  A house maid wanted to be sure to keep her "inside" job.  Remember it's cold outside today and it was warm in the Big House.  Maybe the missus would like a fire and that would warm her bare feet.  There were 20 house slaves.  They were 24/7.  Always available.
Throughout the tour we learned of the many uncertainties the slaves faced.  Would they get the bath water the right temperature.  If not what would the misses do to me?

At an auction in 1840 a 12 year old carriage driver went for $1200, the most for Louis, a blacksmith & cooper for $1600, a household worker for $700.

It was very touching to read the memories of the former slaves.  How harsh their working and living conditions were and the insecurities of measuring up to the Master's expectations.

Very moving.

We have been watching the weather and see how cold it is from here (SE LA) to home.  We decided to stay 2 night at Bayou Segnette State Park, Westwego.

Friday March 6 was a day of R and R.  Phil worked on genealogy in the morning and I worked on the blog in the afternoon.  I visited with new friends that we met at the Grand Isle State Park.
 Love the lights a camper has.  Solo cups and Christmas lights.
 Beautiful sunset at Bayou Saynette State Park.

 On the road again Saturday March 7.
As we travel I-55 I notice the trees are starting to leaf out.  At home they usually leaf out the first of May.

Bridges, bridges, bridges.  We have traveled numerous especially in Louisiana and Texas.    The bridge to Grand Isle, LA was 8 miles but their is not the longest we traveled.  The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is 18 miles and we travel is twice.  

We stayed at a Flying J Truck Center in Jackson, MS.

On the road again Sunday March 8
 We attended Mass at St. Richard's in Jackson, MS.

We stayed at Pilot Truck Center in Marion, IL.

On the road again Monday March 9 and after 83 days we made it back home.
Home again, home again.  As you can see in our backyard some of the snow has melted.  I read they set a record of being the coldest February.  We left Dec. 17 (but had some January weather days in November).

We traveled 8533 miles.  We explored parts of San Diego, enjoyed activities in conjunction with and  attended the Rose Parade, Nixon and Reagan Presidential libraries, the Hearst Castle, Big Sur highway, 5 California Mission churches, 2 of CA's deserts, Joshua Tree National Park, celebrated Christmas with new friends at Jojoba Hills Escapee Park, Monterey Aquarium, and John Steinbeck Museum during our 31 days in California.

We experienced our first Quartzite gathering, visited family and friends in AZ and TX.  We were awed by the McDonald Observatory, impressed by the presentation at Fort Davis, learned about the Biosphere, the seafood industry and camped often by bayous and on barrier islands.

We hiked up in the Chiricahua Mountains, walked 5 miles seeing the Historic homes in Lake Charles and visited some of the "Painted Churches" near San Antonio, TX.

We have fond memories of celebrating Mardi Gras in Gautier, MS with other Roadtrekkers and at Rainbow Plantation, AL.

I was so impressed by the Walter Anderson Museums, Ohr-O'Keefe Museum, the Sports Art Museum and the Whitney Plantation.

Our food highlight was the Low Country Boil at Pogo and Vicki's.  What a great time hanging out in their backyard with 30 other Roadtrekkers.  We ate plenty of gumbo, po' boys, great steak and cooked fresh shrimp.

It was a fabulous trip.  The RV is unloaded.  Now to dream of our next trip.....the Boston watch.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Houma, Chauvin & Grand Isle, LA 2/28-3/3/2015

On the road again Saturday Feb. 28
On the other side of the bayou I see these cattle grazing.  Can't take the girl out of the farm.
 Phil visiting with Houma, LA resident, Phil Chauvin at the Houma Genealogy Meeting.
The speaker talked about the Montegut, LA area.  She is working on a book about the parish.  People keep giving her photos.  Since she keeps gathering more information it's delaying the printing of the book.  We learned so much about the area since it was first settled in the early 1800's.
 After the presentation we had refreshments.  What a spread:  beans, rice, cupcakes, cane syrup cookies, banana cake, pie and more.  The people were so friendly.  Loved hearing their stories.
We attended Mass at the Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales.

 After Mass gentlemen from Israel were selling beautiful wooden statues.
On the road again Sunday March 1
 We were only 21 miles from Chauvin, LA.
 Small town of 3,000.
 We see the shrimp boats docked along the bayou.

 We drove to the end of Hwy. 56  To a marina "where the road ends and the catchin'' begins."
 Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
 We often saw trailers up on stilts and framed in.  (Hurricane protection)
 A building going up...needs a strong foundation.
 Different foundation than the Midwest.  Totally different climate.
 We are staying three nights at the gorgeous Grand Isle State Park.  Right on the Gulf of Mexico.
 We have seen people tenting right out on the beach.
 It got cloudy before sunset.   But so delightful to be in this warm air. (65 degrees)

Monday March 2
 Walking the beach we noticed black sand.  A guy told us it was from the oil spills.  This barrier island was greatly affected by the BP oil spill.  It was almost wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.
 We walked out on the pier and watched for dolphins.  What a treat to be able to get a photo.  We saw maybe 20 dolphins usually in 2 or 3 swimming.  Twice we saw one surface out of the water.  We both yelped an exclamation it was such a thrill to see them.  (and for free)
 Waves just rolling and rolling.  So majestic.
We talked with people from Boston, MA, from MN, from WI and Ohio.  Everyone has such good experiences to share.

Tuesday March 3.  Oh, was it humid overnight.  100%. But during the day it has been sunny and a wonderful breeze so we don't notice the humidity during the day.
 A bonus of staying in a Louisiana State Park is there are free washer and dryers.  So took advantage of that.  I took a walk to the pier while the clothes were washing.  I could see the dolphins again.  While the clothes were in the dryer I went back to the pier and saw more dolphins.  In fact i saw one jump out of the water 4 times.  He was having a good time and so was I.
 Two spots of the the sky and reflection on the shore.  I didn't know I was doing that.
 What a peaceful serene place.