River Road Plantations 2010

Sweet tea, bread pudding, Live Oaks and plantations.  All of these sing to me whenever I am in the South.  While my northern roots are true, there’s always been something about the South that just captures my heart and has a piece of my soul.  My father was born in Mississippi and perhaps that is why I have a piece of my heart there?  I don’t know but if I were to ever move, you can be sure to bet that it would be somewhere the Crepe Myrtle thrives.   Three weeks ago, I was able to take my yearly trip to the New Orleans area and visit my friends as well as take a trip to the East Bank of River Road and visit some plantations.  As my luck would have it, Hurricane Alex decided to visit the Gulf the same week so while it didn’t hit New Orleans, it did cause lots of rain, flooding and just flat out terrible weather.  I still was able to take pictures of some of the plantations we visited though and wanted to share some on the blog!   They aren’t my best work by far but sometimes it’s the experience and not perfection that makes a picture beautiful!

Our first stop was at Ormond Plantation.  This plantation used to be a Bed & Breakfast but I’m honestly not quite sure what is going on with it now.  I had emailed the owners a couple years ago asking about taking photos of it and they informed me that they were undergoing renovations with the new owners and it would be closed to visitors until then.  It didn’t look open for visitors so I just hopped out and fired off a few pictures before leaping back in the car.


We drove up the way a smidge and stopped at the next plantation site that the helpful green tourism signs told us to, the La Branche Dependency House.  However, I think again that this site is no longer open to the public and it looked lived in and not for visiting.  I think that the tourism board needs to update things a bit around here!


Our next stop was a place I’ve been twice before, but I still adore, Houmas House.   The last time I was here, my friend Jacques made me order this bread pudding and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  I was so glad we were able to make it here before Cafe’ Burnside closed so I could have it again.  It’s DELICIOUS.  My stomach just growled looking at this picture.


When we got to Houmas House, it was pouring so I didn’t even take my SLR out of the car, instead I rocked my point-and-shoot and I am pretty pleased with how the images turned out considering the weather!  You can somewhat see in this image just how hard it was raining.  If I lived anywhere near this home, you can be sure that I’d be here on a weekly basis somewhere on the grounds curled up with a book.  It’s the sort of place that invites you to sit a spell and drink in the beauty.


If this home looks familiar to you, it is perhaps because you’ve seen it in one of the many movies that have been filmed here including Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Revenge of the Bridesmaids which was on ABC Family last night.


There is a rumor that the trees here are haunted and move positions depending on if the home is being threatened or not.


When I was here two years ago they had just started working on the Tea House and it’s finally complete and GORGEOUS.  The next construction phase will be building a Bed & Breakfast and I can’t wait to be able to stay on the grounds for longer than a couple hours!


After leaving Houmas House (with a few goodies in my pocket from their amazing gift shop!) we stopped at L’Hermitage which was supposed to open for touring in August 2008…. then sometime in 2009.  As you can see, it’s still not open which is sad!  We were going to drive up but you can see another car beat us to it and I didn’t feel like getting arrested for trespassing!  Hopefully on my next trip I’m able to find out the status of the home and get in for a closer look!


The final home on my tour was Ashland aka Belle Helene.  It is currently owned by Shell Oil and is fenced off and closed to visitors.  One weekend a year they open this home for visitors and I hope to make it sometime!  It’s a GORGEOUS home and the grounds are well kept especially considering that it’s essentially abandoned.

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