Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oak Alley Plantation

Our road trip to Florida got off to an exciting start in the wee hours of the morning of Sunday, June 12. We rolled out of the driveway at 5 AM with the kids still in their pajamas. By the time we got close to Beaumont the sun was rising.



I got to look at this handsome sight all day.



And if I looked in the back seat I occasionally saw something like this.





We stopped at a Shipley Donuts in Beaumont and I'm telling you these donut and kolaches were anointed by God. I've never had anything close to that good in all the years I've eaten at Shipley's. Well done, Beaumont!

The minute we crossed into Louisiana, it felt like we were in another culture. Maybe that's how people feel when they visit Texas. Suddenly there were signs with French words on them advertisements for food I'd never eaten. Boudin and cracklins, anyone? I got very insecure about not being able to read or pronounce French. The bridges were unbelievably long but the scenery of swamps and marshes was beautiful.

Our plan was to stop in New Orleans, play around, and spend the night. This is why I love smart phones: half-way there I looked up the location of Oak Alley Plantation - a place I've always wanted to visit - and it was right outside of New Orleans. So we went!

It was absolutely gorgeous, uncrowded, peaceful, and a great chance for our kids to stretch their legs. I do have to say that it was sad to see the beauty and peace of this place and yet know that slave labor made it all possible. One family lived in the lap of luxury while a few yards away other families lived in oppression. Maybe "a living hell" is a more fitting description.

*Uneasy transition*

Here's my little girl in front of a water feature. Did that sound fancy?





Jackson had a bad attitude about taking a picture with his sister. He was trying not to cooperate and smile but he finally cracked one. This is his attempt to cover it up.















These trees were magnificent.













Annabeth sat herself down in front of these flowers so that I would take her picture. Her rubber band had broken and her bow wouldn't stay in, and I made the mistake of trying to do something with her hair before taking the shot. Huge mistake! All the pictures I took look like this.



Except for this one, which is an absolute treasure.



Later we ate at the restaurant and I had some incredible fried shrimp on a po-boy. Unfortunately, we were seated in a little room with two other tables of adults who were eating very quietly. It was so very awkward because two-year-olds eat as obnoxiously as possible. By the end of the trip I was asking hostesses to seat us next to other families.





After our visit to Oak Alley Plantation, we headed into New Orleans. I'd never been there before and was excited to see it. We had a hotel room booked and everything. Well, when we got there it was a couple of hours until we could check in to our hotel, it was very hot and crowded, and we couldn't find a place to park to visit Cafe DuMonde for a beignet. I also started feeling weird about having my kids there. So we decided we had the grace to finish our drive to Florida and we carried on. I'm glad we got to see a bit of New Orleans though.

When we realized we weren't going to experience the beignets I've been hearing about since I was a little girl (my parents used to go there), we knew why God had made our donuts so tasty. People, He cares about the little things!

More pictures to come.

45 comments:

Gena said...

Those trees are amazing!

Cheryl said...

The 'treasure' picture CRACKS me up! I literally laughed out loud. That girl has some attitude.

WendyB said...

Amanda,
You can actually buy Cafe du Monde Beignet Mix in some grocery stores!

WendyB said...

All is not lost - you can actually buy Cafe du Monde Beignet Mix in some grocery stores!

Britt said...

"One family lived in the lap of luxury while a few yards away other families lived in oppression." This occurrence was not solely contained to the 17th and 18th centuries.... it happens today. Millions of middle class families live in nice, gated communities, spending obscene amounts of money on clothes, SUV's, eating out, family vacations, Seven jeans, you name it while a huge portion of the world goes to bed hungry, is working 3 jobs to make ends meet, can't afford healthcare, you name it.

Let us not judge the sins of those before us while failing to recognize how we ourselves are committing the exact same sin(s) today.

Angie said...

I love OAK ALLEY...on my blog the bride at the top was taken there. Her husband proposed there and so they married there and I got to go take the pictures!!

Did you know that Hope and Brady off of Days of our Lives married on the show there and also part of Interview with Vampire..ugh!

beautiful pics!

http://arobinsonphotography.blogspot.com

Steph said...

I grew up in New Orleans, so I have had boudin and cracklins. Boudin is a sausage type food that has rice in it, cracklins is sort of like pork rinds.

I can remember going to Oak Alley Plantation as a little girl and have went to Cafe DuMonde more times than I can count. I love the original in the French Quarter, I enjoy the one in the suburbs more - it is much more family friendly.

Jennifer said...

I totally agree, that New Orleans is not a place for kids. We went there on a mission trip one year in high school and I remember thinking it was the scariest place I had ever been to.

Sunni said...

I'm laughing a little. We had beignets for breakfast yesterday. They are actually pretty easu to make. You should try them. :)

I can't stop thinking about all of the yummy Tex-Mex places that we don't have here in Louisiana. We are planning a trip to Houston this fall and I have mapped out Freebird's and Chuy's.

Amber said...

We were in PCB the same week! It was a great time. We left at 4:45 am and my 2 year old was awake the entire 8 hour trip. And not just awake but talking - what a fun memory :)

bethany said...

what an enlightening experience to travel to an old plantation. i am kind of a history buff and have read tons about life in the south on a plantation, but visiting would make it so much more real-make the people that suffered there come to life in a way. wow. one more thing to put on my list of things to do if we ever get around to moving back to houston :)

Amanda said...

Britt, the irony at Oak Alley is that the rich family was directly oppressing and causing the poverty of the other family while becoming rich from their enslavement. I understand that that is still very often the case in our world but I do not believe that my family is directly, intentionally causing and profiting from the enslavement of another. We are very blessed but I do not think you have the knowledge to be able to judge how we care for the poor or not. If I have misinterpreted the tone and intention of your comment, I do apologize.

Heather F said...

How funny!! I'm from Beaumont and LOVE Shipley's! The kolaches are amazing!! Glad you liked them!! : )

Rhonda said...

Beautiful pictures! I desire to see New Orleans someday!

Brandi said...

I agree. Being a Louisianian, boudin and cracklins are staples. I prefer boudin though. Looks like you all had a wonderful time!

Kathryn said...

Hi! I just came across your blog from your Twitter post. Oak Alley looks GORGEOUS! I would love to visit there. I just love big, old homes. Your pictures are great, and your kids are so precious. I love the "treasure" picture :) Looking forward to seeing more pics.

Love, Kathryn

Tara G. said...

Smiling because I think we had the same vacation- different people, different places, but the same! :)

Mary said...

I agree with your response Amanda. To suggest that you do not always love on and willingly give to the poor is not a fair statement for another to make.

Shelli said...

Wow! I've never seen such big oak trees! Your pics are great.

I know what you mean about being in another culture. We just returned from our first trip to Southern California and passed a number of signs in Chinese (or Japanese - I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know which language it was!). It was so strange for us since we only have English signs in Michigan.

But I have many fond memories of visits to Canada where every grocery product has English and French. I remember being fascinated comparing the words.

The Bull Family said...

As a life long New Orleanian, raising 3 daughters here, I have to say I'm a little saddened that people are saying NOLA is not a place for kids. Yes, Bourbon Street is not a place you'd want to bring your children, but that one street does not define our city. There are many things to do and places to go for families...the zoo, the aquarium, the children's museum, horse drawn carriage rides touring the city and much more. I know that along with Amanda, most of the commenters here are Christians and may feel put off by a vibe they get from the city, but I'd just like to point out that NOLA is made up of a large number of Catholics who send our children to private Catholic schools, so it's hardly as sinful as it may seem.:)Just showin' some love for my hometown and hoping this will remind people to keep an open mind!

April said...

I'm a native Texan now living in Louisiana. I've had boudin and liked it. But I've never tried cracklins. (And never plan to!)

We toured another plantation last month and drove by Oak Alley. We would have loved to have toured it, too, but those plantation tours aren't cheap!

We really enjoyed the beignets at Cafe du Monde! My girls are older, so New Orleans wasn't as scary as it would have been a few years ago.

The grocery stores in Louisiana carry Cafe du Monde beinet mix. It's really easy to make. And I think you can order it if you can't find it in Houston.

Erica said...

What GORGEOUS pics...and I love Annabeth's hair! I love you for posting them!

Amanda said...

@The Bull Family, I so wish I would have done a better job prepping for our time in NOLA! Once we realized our original plan wasn't going to work, it was too late to make better plans. We had no idea what we were doing. I know some amazing, godly folks in New Orleans and I know the Lord is doing some incredible things in the city.

Dionna said...

I do adore those trees! What a beautiful spot.

We went to New Orleans last summer for the first time. The beignets are warm and heavenly. You'd love them. Although I should warn you - they are messy! (Good info for a parent of small ones to know. :))

Wendy said...

What a gorgeous place!! Thanks for introducing it to so many of us.

Mommy Dot Com said...

I took my daughter w/ me on a train to New Orleans. Cafe Dumonde was great but there were definately other things about New Orleans I wasn't prepared for, especially with an 11 yr old.

I love AB pic. And Jackson is getting cuter and cuter. What a blessing your family is.

Thanks for sharing. I just love seeing pics of your family.

Bourg Family said...

I LOVE Oak Alley. My hubby & I were given a weekend there for our wedding a few years ago. It was so much fun to stay in the little cottage.

Kirsten said...

Those trees are AMAZING! What a fun start to your trip! :)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The stop at the plantation looks like it was wonderful. You were able to gather such wonderful pictures.

Jennifer said...

The trees and plantation are gorgeous!

Bogie and Lea said...

Your children are so adorable and precious! I hope you and your family had fun on your vacation. I'm sorry you didn't get to stay and enjoy the scrumptious goodness of a beignet with a steamy cup of coffee. But I found something that might help. You can buy the beignet mix on http://shop.cafedumonde.com and it is really easy to make. :)

Happy blogging,
Lea

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

What a beautiful place to have pictures taken! I've always wanted to go there. Its hard to beat a good donut in the morning!

doo-dah said...

Amanda--
I have just started the revised Breaking Free series. Is this the same plantation from the session 1 video?

Traci said...

Great pictures!!! Can't wait to see more.

Sunni said...

If you get the chance to visit, this is a great place to take the kids. It's always a must-do for us when we visit my sister. It's comparable to Disney World in the eyes of my 4 year old. ;)

http://neworleanscitypark.com/carousel_gardens.html

Alecia said...

You've never had boudin??? I'm from Beaumont and just assumed that people in Houston eat boudin. Thank you for educating me :)

Brandi said...

April, I agree please don't try cracklins. I'll even spare you the contents. Amanda, I know there's a website called Cajungrocer.com if you were thinking about getting Britney mix. It's delicious!

Lizzie Fish said...

we lived in new orleans for six months and before i really knew where I was I accidentally turned down Bourbon street RIGHT on the block where the 18 year old girls dance around in their underwear and throw beads at people. SERIOUSLY one of them threw beads at my husband who was RIGHT next to a very pregnant me and our daughter who was 2.5 at the time. She had her eyes and ears covered by Mom and Dad respectively but I could not believe I had done that. *shudder*

Siesta OC said...

J'adore you A!

THere is a haunting beauty of the south. A love and a unspeakable depth...in the pain, GOD dwells among all!

(uneasy transition - perfectly fit)

Annabeth's hair is so long, when did that happen?

Marla Taviano said...

Oh my word, those trees. And that picture of Annabeth--ha!!

UL Cards Fan said...

Currently doing the updated "Breaking Free" and loved seeing your pics after seeing Beth at Oak Alley in the DVDs.

Linda

Bobbie said...

i grew up an hour outside of New Orleans. I take for granted all the beautiful plantations and the great food (and the french signs!)

ottszoo said...

as a southern gal from south Louisiana there is nothing like beignets from Cafe' DuMonde....however, I have visited New Orleans many times and I am always uneasy (uneasy in the big easy-ha!) My kids and I do enjoy the zoo and aquarium but walking the streets is sometimes a scary thing. We try and park close to where we are going and are never there after dark. There are just some things that go on that I don't want to expose my kids too. oh, and the boudin and cracklins?? I've lived here all my life and have never tasted either!

Peter and Nancy said...

This world is such a mixture of beauty and depravity -- if you go to any bigger city, not just NOLA, you can see lots of both. Your comments about the plantation and Brit's follow-up did make me think about where things I wear are made . . . there's a store in my city that only carries (very expensive) things made by people who weren't exploited. I know that some of the things I buy at Target, etc. are made by people in terrible working conditions.

I don't have a solution, though, except buying second-hand goods at rummage sales & thrift stores when I can so the companies who exploit people in developing nations aren't getting my money. That's my one little thing I can do so that I'm not living at the expense of someone else's humanity.
Nancy

Deirdre said...

I don't think I've ever actually parked at Cafe du Monde. We usually kick one person out of the vehicle to go get stuff for the whole crowd of folks in the car and then we circle round the block and pick them back up. But only if they've gotten the goods of course.