Scenic USA - Louisiana

Oak Alley Mansion

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Oak Alley Mansion - Vacherie, Louisiana

Photo by Scott Dommin
Inset photos provided by Oak Alley Plantation

     Here on the Mississippi Delta it was common practice Oak Alley Porch - Vacherie, Louisiana for early 18th century Louisiana settlers and planters to define their new land grant entrances with two rows of live oak trees. By the time Jacques Etienne Roman arrived from France, sugar was becoming a major crop along the lower Mississippi River and the lines of mature oak trees gave the impression of grandeur for these river plantation homes. The successful class of French Creole (native born) businessmen managed a strong hold on prominent political offices and continued as leaders of plantation society. Jacques Telesphore Roman and wife Celina shared in the success of the Roman lineage, and enjoyed the Oak Alley Entrance - Vacherie, Louisiana prosperity under the family name. Their new home on the Mississippi River, bearing the name Bon Sejour, was a fitting mansion for close relatives to the King of Sugar. Completed in 1839, the mansion was enhanced with a colonnade of 28 Doric columns, a broad veranda to shade the home, and 12 foot high ceilings and 16 inch thick masonry walls to maximize comfort.
     Although Jacques Roman died in 1848, Celina continued with her opulent lifestyle, with her only surviving son to run the plantation. By the conclusion of the Civil War, son Henri was forced to sell out, ending the Roman's 30 year reign at Oak Alley. Oak Alley Slave Quarters - Vacherie, Louisiana
     This grand roadside view shows the 800 foot long alley and its 300 year old live oaks. The grounds included a formal garden which separates the mansion from the plantation outbuildings. Notable features include a blacksmith shop, slave quarter buildings and the Stewart graveyard (Oak Alley's last residents). Mansion tours are led every day of the week on the hour and half hour. You'll want to add more time to tour the mansion grounds and enjoy a delicious meal at the Oak Alley Restaurant.

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