Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oak Alley Plantation

Here's a brief history of Oak Alley, another spectacular antebellum plantation.

Jacques Roman acquired the property in 1836 from his brother-in-law, Valcour Aime, who was known as the "King of Sugar," and was one of the wealthiest men in the South.  Jacques began building the present mansion in 1837 and completed it in 1839 with the hope that his new bride, Celina, would be happy there. The marriage to Celina was pre-arranged and they were wed when she was 18 and he was 35. Celina was from New Orleans and, from what I heard, sounds like she was a spoiled society girl. They eventually had 6 children--3 who died when they were 2 years, 2 months, and 12 years old. Only one lived to be over 30.

Jacques died in 1848 of tuberculosis, and the estate began to be manged by his wife who had no skill for managing a sugar plantation. She also spent so heavily that she nearly bankrupted the estate. In 1859 her son, Henri, took control of the estate and tried to turn things around, but economic problems from the Civil War and lack of slave labor made it almost impossible for him to manage. He went into heavy debt, mainly to his family, and had to put the plantation up for auction. It was sold for $32,800!

Here are a few pictures of the property. Some of the oaks are over 300 years old. Many were over 100 years old when the home was built.

The thing over the table is a fan. A young Negro boy would stand in the corner and pull the cord continuously during a meal to keep the diners as comfortable as possible.

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