San Francisco Plantation was next. I was immediately surprised by the bright colors and by how close the mansion was to the highway. We learned that most of these plantation homes could easily see the river in their early days, but the very important levee that has since been built obscures the view. However, with disasters such as Katrina still fresh on everyone’s minds, no one complains.
On this tour, the story of the Marmillion family was shared. Valsin Marmillion married Louise von Seybold after meeting her during a trip to Europe. Her Bavarian heritage is reflected in many of the architectural and decorating details of this home. It is NOT a typical white mansion. No, this one has lots of gingerbread and ornamentation. Marathon Oil has been a very generous benefactor of the San Francisco Plantation. The property of the plantation joins that of the oil company.
In order to stay in the area that we were touring, we checked into the Holiday Inn Express in LaPlace, Louisiana. It was an especially nice Holiday Inn Express. We really enjoyed the ceiling fan in the room, the walk-in massage shower, and the afternoon happy hour with very substantial snacks, including red beans and rice, hot spinach dip, veggies, cheeses and dips. In addition there was a large comfy chair and ottoman in the room as well as a nice desk. This HI Express had a swamp area between it and I-10. The sounds of all that nature was intriguing. We definitely kept our eyes peeled for gators and snakes when we were in the parking lot!
Dinner on Day 1 was at New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company. Alligator bites, anyone?
Just a few more thoughts about this part of the country — As you probably know, in Louisiana, counties aren’t called counties, they are called parishes. And the term “River Parishes” refers specifically to St. James Parish, St. Charles Parish and St. John the Baptist Parish. Those 3 span both sides of the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. They love to claim Fats Domino and Corey Webster (New York Giants) among their famous past residents, and proudly mention that the first black, multilingual newspaper in the United States was printed in the River Parishes. Jo Banner, the communication manager and film coordinator for New Orleans Plantation Country, loves talking about her native area and boasts of her Creole heritage. She specifically mentioned the strong religious identity with the Catholic church and how closely-connected people are to their families. If you substitute the word “Protestant” for “Catholic” in the previous sentence, it sounds a lot like North Alabama, doesn’t it?
Read more in this article I wrote for Trip101.com.