Thursday, January 13, 2011

Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site

This state park is the site of the Maison Olivier plantation house. It was built by a Creole man, even though at the time this was mostly Cajun territory. We learned a few interesting things there, both at the house and in the museum. First thing we learned is that Evangeline was not a true story. We also gained information about Spanish moss we had had not heard before. Until today we were primarily told that it is not to be picked and has chiggers in it. Henry Ford stuffed the seats of his first cars with it. This was the first time that we heard that it use to be an important commodity.  In the museum of this state park there is a bale of Spanish moss, called "bousillage". In the nineteenth century this was used in building homes. It had to be dried out first. Once dried out it is a tough wiry material which, after some mud is added to it, was stuffed between the beams of buildings. Below is a picture of a bale of Spanish moss.
 We had a guided tour of the plantation home. In one of the bedrooms we saw a rolling pin bed. At the head of the bed was a rolling pin which the slaves would use to smooth out the bed. The bed pictured below was made in 1803 in New Orleans.
 Another interesting feature of the home was a fan placed above the dining room table. A young slave child would sit nearby while the family was eating and pull on a rope which kept the fan moving. The fan provided a cool breeze as well as it kept flies off the food. That was something we had never seen before in the many homes we have toured.
 I will conclude this posting with a picture of an ardisia bush. At this time of the year it grows beautiful red berries which reminds me of the holly berry bush, however, its leaves are quite different.

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