7/07/2013

Plantation homes near Baton Rouge

Although the history of most plantation homes involves the horrific practice of slavery, the homes, themselves, that survive today are quite beautiful to behold and worth the travel time to visit.  They are lessons from the past from which we should grow, examples of amazing architecture and landscaping, and some are even renowned to be haunted.

In St. Francisville, a small town about thirty minutes north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sits The Myrtles, known far and wide as one of the most haunted plantations in America.  The Myrtles has been featured on several ghost hunting shows.  This plantation home is 215 years old.  Visitors can stay at the plantation's bed and breakfast rooms (11 rooms), and experience antebellum living firsthand.

The most famous ghost on the property is that of a slave named Chloe.  As popular as the story has become, it has yet to be backed up by facts.  It's true that several people who have owned the home at one time or another have died on the property as well as two men murdered by gunshot.  However, the legend of Chloe and her murderous rampage could not be confirmed.  Still, it's a good story, and anyone visiting the grounds surrounded by towering oaks decorated in Spanish Moss can tell you that there is definitely a certain "feeling" one gets standing on soil that has seen so much history.  (Prairieghosts.com/Myrtles)



Just down the road in the same Parrish of West Feliciana is Rosedown Plantation.  This vast estate has the wide tree-lined drive up to the main house that one would expect to see in a production of Gone With the Wind or North and South.  Off to the right of the main house are the sprawling gardens filled with azaleas, crepe myrtles, hydrangeas, and statues.  The pathways wind throughout and open onto the main driveway on one side and a visitor parking lot on the other.  Behind the house on the right are the remains of old slave quarters.  These are roped off, but visitors can peer inside and see for themselves the small amount of space and spartan conditions in which the slaves of Rosedown once endured.  Beyond that are the stables which still have some of the original carriages and equipment.

There are tours of the main house which is open daily from 9 to 5 p.m. except for holidays. 

Both of these homes are quite magnificent.  Should you find yourself driving through Baton Rouge, head north to West Feliciana Parrish and stop in at The Myrtles and Rosedown Plantation.