Saint Francisville is another makeshift stop for us as we will be bypassing our original visit to Baton Rouge because the dock is underwater. It gets its names from some Catholic Priests who lived in the St Francis monastery on the other side of the river but buried their dead here because it was on higher ground and not subject to flooding. The town was established in 1809 and is often called “the town that is two miles long and two yards wide” because it was developed on top of a narrow ridge overlooking the Mississippi River.
It was quite misty when we woke up but the day tis forecast to reach 30C. It’s still quite warm in the lower reaches of the river.
The main attraction here is the Rosedown Plantation, which we would have visited anyway had we stopped 35 kms down the river at Baton Rouge.
Rosedown Plantation is a 740 m2 historic home and former plantation. It was built in 1835 by cotton planters Daniel and Martha Turnbull and it is one of the most complete and intact plantation complexes in the South. At its height, the plantation consisted of four properties and had over 400 slaves. It now has just 350 acres and the historic house. Over 95% of the content of the house is original and it was restored by a wealthy Texan woman a few decades ago. It is now owned by the government.
The house has a main entrance hall, decorated with block-printed wallpaper with an elliptical mahogany staircase to the second floor, a parlour to the right, music room to the left, and an office, butler’s pantry and dining room in the rear that features a punkah that was pulled by a child slave. Upstairs are the family bedrooms.
The house has about 18 acres of garden and a beautiful smell something like the scent of Gardenias was wafting around. It actually came from a shrub with small yellow flowers that the locals called Sweet Olive. Its botanical name is Osmanthus fragrant and it is a native of China. Most of the old trees were dripping with Old Man’s Beard which gave it something of a mystical appearance.
Back in town, we stopped at the general store but there was nothing there that we wanted to buy. Instead, I did a little bit of street photography before it was time to head back to the riverboat.
A little while after lunch we passed the city of Baton Rouge.. By now the river is navigable by ocean going ships . Many of these were bringing oil from the Gulf up to the refineries along the river. The area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is an area of heavy industry.