Tour Around the Resort
We were running late in our schedule, while the resort owner insist to drive us to tour around the resort. She is very good host indeed, keep talking, introducing the facilities in the whirldwind tour... It will be more relaxing if we had more time to allocate here.
Yummy Yummy Dirty Rice
We arrived at Lasyone's Meat Pies Kitchen at 12:30 noon, it was unbelievably packed, all tables were occupied with no seat left. You can imagine how good their business is! This is how amazing these people in this small town still running the family business generation to generation, instead of opening up franchise to other big cities. Customers range from all age range, from kids, young executive, to white hair old man. You really feel warm eating here, very much different from a big city. They even have annual Meat Pie Festival every year September, you can eat till you drop!!!
Plantation Country is south of Natchitoches is an area known as Plantation Country which follows the 35 miles of the beautiful Cane River. In 1994 it was established as the Cane River National Heritage Area and there are numerous historically significant plantations. Many are fine examples of centuries old Creole architecture and a true reflection of a time and culture. See Natchez page.
The prominence of plantation culture in the Cane River region is reflected in the historic plantation landscapes, structures, and artifacts, as well as the traditional agricultural land use of the region. Initially, tobacco and indigo were important crops in the area; later, they gave way to a cotton economy that dominated much of the region’s history. Today, corn and soybeans are the area’s most common crops.
Oaklawn Plantation was built between 1830 and 1840 by Achille Prudhomme, and was restored in the 1990s by Bobby Harling, playwright of “Steel Magnolias” fame. The beautiful Creole plantation home lies at the end of a 680-foot oak allée, one of the longest in Louisiana. The house is set on brick piers—the lower level was open historically, but was enclosed during the restoration. The upper levels are constructed of heavy timber framing and bousillage, a mixture of river mud, processed spanish moss, and animal hair. The house is privately owned and not open to the public.
Despite their timeless appearance, the national heritage area’s many plantations have been in a state of constant change over the years, continuously adjusting to demographic shifts, economic and political upheavals, and transformations in the landscape. The history of these plantations clearly shows the evolution of southern agriculture from the colonial era to the 21st century, including the transformation of agricultural labor systems from slavery to tenant farming and share cropping, and finally to mechanization.
The founder of Oakland was Pierre Emmanuel Prud’homme, a second-generation native of French descent. With his wife Catherine Lambre, he established Bermuda Plantation, as it was originally known, on a land grant on the Red River. The present main house was completed in 1821. Like many local Creole homes it is raised on brick piers and made of bousillage on lathe between posts. Many of the plantation’s outbuildings also date to the first half of the nineteenth century—among them are two pigeonniers (dovecotes), an overseers’ house, a massive roofed log corn crib, a carriage house, a mule barn that was originally a smokehouse, a carpenter’s shop, and cabins.
By the early 1800s, cotton was becoming Bermuda’s main cash crop, the labor of a growing slave community fueling its expansion. The Prud’hommes stayed in the forefront agriculturally, experimenting with crops, equipment, and techniques as much of the antebellum South moved toward a one-crop economy.
After the Civil War, farming continued under new conditions. Many of Bermuda’s freed workers remained at or near the plantation, at first because the Union commander at Natchitoches ordered them to. In time, though, they worked the fields under Freedman’s Bureau labor contracts, then as sharecroppers or tenant farmers. Some, like Bermuda’s longtime blacksmith Soloman Williams, negotiated separate bargains for higher pay and a different work schedule. A plantation commissary replaced the issuing of rations with a central location to buy supplied on credit against a year’s harvest.
In 1873, two Prud’homme brothers partitioned the plantation, renaming the portion on the right bank Oakland while the portion on the left bank was renamed Atahoe. Both Prud’homme and laborers’ descendants occupied and farmed the plantation until late in the twentieth century, continuing a relationship with the site spanning three centuries.
In 1998, Oakland Plantation was acquired by the National Park Service. Today is is open daily for tours.