|Louisiana plantations: A reminder of a horrible past
by Heidi M. Pascual
| What struck me most was not the wealth of the slavemasters nor the beauty of the structure and the furniture in it; nor the fact that many films were made in part or entirely on location in this plantation. I was struck at the little story on the relationship of the family with their slaves. According to our tour guide, the dining room of the mansion was separated from the kitchen by a "whistler's lane." The cook must keep whistling as he/she delivered the food to the dining room assuring the masters that he/she wasn't tasting it. The story left a bad taste in my mouth.
At Laura Plantation, a few meters away from Oak Alley Plantation, there were many visible traces of history: slave cabins, Code of Discipline for Slaves, big sugar cane kettle, a slave bell, and a list of slaves with dollar amount of their original purchase opposite their names, ranging from $25 to more than a thousand dollars. There were even descriptions of each of the slaves. One read: "54 year old, sickly, can't work in the field well ... $25."
I felt sick to my stomach. I am 54 years old, sickly, can't work in the field well ... and most of all, my skin is brown. I thanked God it was history and prayed that this horrible past won't ever happen again in whatever form ... anywhere.
That dream has yet to be completely realized though, because there are many parts in the world still stuck in this horrible moment of history.
| One of the popular tours for visitors in Lousiana is the "Plantation Tour" that reminds one and all of America's horrible past. The tour showcases huge and beautiful mansions of former slavemasters in contrast to small and almost dilapidated slave cabins. I decided I wanted to see one or two of them.
Oak Alley Plantation, along Highway 18, is an hour-drive by car from New Orleans. It is famous for its majestic oak trees planted more than 300 years ago by an unknown settler. The Plantation's tour guide, dressed in a period attire, explained in detail the "history" of the family that built the mansion.
|Oak Alley Plantation is an awesome sight, beneath whose grandiose facade is what may be considered the darkest period in American history: slavery.|
|Inside a slave cabin are few day-to-day utensils and equipment.|