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Report 2041: Driving the Great Mississippi River Road

By BJinNM from New Mexico, Fall 2012

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Page 27 of 33: Day 27-Natchez, MS to Vacherie, LA

photo by BJ Firestone

Sugar Cane Field in Louisiana

Today we left Natchez and continued our River Road adventure into Louisiana. Before leaving town we took the car to the car wash. It was the first time I have ever been to a car wash where you stay in the car. Hopefully, it will be the last time. It was a really claustrophobic experience with the soap suds covering the windows and then the water blocking out anything you might be able to see out the windows. UGH! Alan thought my reaction was funny and I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to get me to go through one again. Not bloody likely if I have anything to say about it.

We crossed the bridge from Natchez into Louisiana and proceeded south. River Road is hard to find and we are not sure we were ever really on it today even though we were on the road right next to the Mississippi River. We never saw one of those now familiar River Road signs. Nice country to go through though.

We crossed back to the East side of the River in order to go to St. Francisville. It is a very friendly, small Louisiana river town with several plantation homes and it is also the home of a friend, Mary, from music camp. Alan tried to contact her but there was no answer so we decided to see Oakley Plantation out in Audubon State Park. The owner of Oakley contracted with John James Audubon to tutor his 16 year old daughter. Audubon only spent four months there but drew 32 of his famous bird pictures during those months. The plantation is in a lovely setting full of flowering trees and live oaks with Spanish moss. Good choice for a plantation tour. There are several other plantations in the area but we moved on back to the West side of the River.

Now that we are into southern Louisiana it is time to remind you of the third of the "c" crops we have been through on this trip. To review we have seen corn fields and then cotton fields. Today's "c" crop is cane as it is known to all locally or sugar cane for you non-Louisianians.

Continuing down the road right next to the River we passed many signs for plantations which are no longer in existence. Finally we got to "our" plantation Oak Alley. We checked in and were shown to the Doctor's Cottage. It is an entirely separate two room cottage one cane field over from the "Main House." We had ordered dinner to be left for us and it was already there so all we had to do was heat it up.

We are now very comfortably relaxing in our own little house and look forward to the next day and a half here. We hope to go up river to Carville tomorrow. Carville was the site of one of the two leper hospitals in the United States. It has been closed since the mid-1990s but the US Park Service runs a museum there. We also plan on stopping at at least one if not more than one plantation home along the River and do some touring.

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