Sunday, November 15, 2015
San Francisco Plantation
One should always see at least see one plantation when down in the southern part of our nation. There are 10 of them along the Great River Road between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. As I wrote previously, we are in Hammond, about 40 miles north of New Orleans. Saturday we drove west along Highway 10 and then south to Highway 44, the road along the Mississippi River. We were expecting to start seeing large stately plantations with rows of live oaks lining long winding drives along lush green lawns. No, what we saw were large grain silos with enclosed conveyors belts connected to them arising over the road and a high levee. Cargil was the name on one complex of buildings. Further down the road we saw oil refineries and a sign indicating that this was Louisiana Refinery District. Gone are the days when sugar cane and cotton were the big money-makers of the day!
Now back to the tour and information regarding the history of the plantation. Until the 1970s, when Marathon Petroleum Foundation bought and restored the plantation at a cost of several million dollars, the plantation house was lived in by several families. The present house was built between 1853 and 1856. The owner, Pierre Edmond Marmillion, died in 1852, leaving the plantation to his son Valsin and his German-born wife Louise von Seybold. Over the next 23years while she lived on the plantation Louise wrote faithfully to her mother back in Germany, 100 of her letters have been found. In those letters Louise writes of her unhappiness pertinent to that time of violent upheaval in Southern history. Hearing from our tour guide stories about the family (from those letters) certainly made the tour of the house quite fascinating, and brought to life the actual events which took place within the various rooms.