Monday, April 4, 2011

Visit to Destrehan Plantation

On a chilly but sunny day in February, the LIEP Culture Class climbed into the Loyola van for a trip to Destrehan Plantation on the Mississippi River. The theme of the Culture Class this semester is life along the river, and the class had been studying Louisiana plantation life, slavery, and the cultivation of indigo and of sugar cane -- all of which could be found at Destrehan Plantation, about 25 miles upriver from New Orleans.
On the way to Destrehann
Destrehan Plantation
Destrehan's columned porch
We were impressed with the interior of the plantation house: beds with mosquito netting, smaller beds for daytime resting, a bedroom prie dieux at which to kneel for prayer, an elegant dining room with chandelier, men's card-playing area, and a massive bathtub.
Bed with mosquito netting
Small bed for daytime resting
Bedroom prie dieux for kneeling comfortably at prayer
Dining table
Men's area for playing cards
Massive bathtub
The slaves' cabins were far more austere. Slaves worked not only in the fields but also in the house and kitchen. The kitchen was built apart from the main house so that the heat from the kitchen fires would not become oppressive to the inhabitants.
Slave cabin
Kitchen, apart from the main house
Sugar tub
A highlight of our visit to Destrehan was Ms. Mamie's demonstration of her indigo crocheted items. We also saw weaving in progress on a loom with yarns of many colors.

Ms. Mamie with her hand-crafted indigo items
Loom and yarn of many colors
After our visit to Destrehan Plantation, we enjoyed a wonderful seafood lunch at Middendorf's Restaurant -- famous for thin fried catfish -- in the small town of Manchac, Louisiana, before heading back to Loyola.
Middendorf's Restaurant in Manchac, Louisiana
Middendorf's menu
Eating a wonderful seafood meal at Middendorf's
Upon returning to Loyola, the Culture Class continued to build on what they had seen and learned at Destrehan Plantation. The students created a video in which they took roles as members of the plantation-owning family or as plantation slaves in the early 1800s. The video depicts plantation life as experienced from these two perspectives.

Our next post will feature our LIEP Mardi Gras celebration, where we played Mardi Gras games, baked a Mardi Gras King Cake, listened to Mardi Gras music, and crowned our own King and Queen!

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