Monday, January 3, 2011

A Creole Plantation

Along Louisiana's Great River Road is the location of about six restored plantation homes. Over two hundred years have passed since the time when those plantations were symbols of wealth and culture. The one we toured today, Laura Plantation, was a plantation where the family living there chose to live apart from mainstream America and keep their cultural identity. The Duparac-Locoul family, owners of the plantation, were wholly of French and French-Canadian blood but shared a history and culture more closely in line with the slaves and tenant farmers of the plantation than with their Anglo neighbors of the same upper class ( this is one explanation of Creole noted in a commentary by Norman and Sand Marmillion in the book Memories of the Old Plantation Home). The plantation home built by the Duparc family in 1804, by its style and colorful paint, can clearly be labeled as a Creole home. It stands on brick pillars.
The last owner of the plantation, Laura Locoul Gore, was the first in her family to break from the Creole tradition and at an early age desired to learn to speak English as well as find her own self fulfillment as an American. At the age of 29 years, in 1891, Laura sold the sugarcane plantation and married Charles Gore from St.Louis Missouri. St.Louis was to become her home for the rest of her life. The old plantation today still has some of the slave cabins, which are about 160 years old. In 1860 the plantation had 183 slaves living in 69 cabins, two of which are pictured below. There are only two rooms in each cabin, for two families.
It was in the slave quarters on this plantation that Alcee Fortier recorded African folktales of the miscreant Br'er Rabbit in the 1870s. Fortier listened in when former slaves told the tales to their children in French. The rabbit was originally called Compair Lapin, a French term meaning clever rabbit.

1 comment:

  1. If you are in New Orleans still, we'd love for you to join us as our guests on our tour! We continue the story of the Duparc-Locoul family in New Orleans! We go out every day at 10.30 from 624 Royal Street. Just mention your Blog for two free tickets!