Live Oak Trees at Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana

Oak Alley Plantation is located in the community of Vacherie in St James Parish, Louisiana, along the Mississippi River. It was a sugar cane plantation owned by Jacqaues Telesphore Roman. He built a Greek Revival architectural style mansion which completed in 1839. The home was built entirely by slaves. The distinguishing feature of the plantation is a long row of majestic live oak trees which leads from the mansion to the Mississippi River.

Curtis took some photos of the majestic live oak trees which are over 300 years. 

They were planted around 1710 which was many  years before the current plantation was built.

The Greek Revival style mansion is square with a central hallway, high ceilings and large windows. A stairway to the second floor is in the central hallway. A free-standing colonnade of 28 Doric columns circles around the home. The is a very distinguished home and a National Historic Landmark designated for its architecture and landscaping.

The home has been the location for filming several movies. Most memorable was “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte,” a 1964 American psychological thriller directed and produced by Robert Aldrich. It starred Betty Davis and Olivia de Havilland. I can still see Betty Davis’ character pushing the flower pot over the balcony killing the villains.

Another notable achievement of this plantation is the successful grafting of superior pecan tree by slave, Antoine, aged 38. At one time, pecans trees were an important cash crop in Louisiana. Antoine grafted a pecan tree with a thin shell which could be cracked by hand.  It was entered into competition at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia where it won a prize and was henceforth named the Centennial variety of pecan trees.

The main feature of this plantation is the double row of 28 trees, 14 trees on each side. They reach 240 meters from the home to the river. The trees were planted around 1710 by a French settler. I visited this plantation years ago and remember being told that the row of trees was originally much longer. However, changes in the path of the Mississippi River shortened the number of trees in the double rows.

The largest of the monumental southern live oak trees is named the “Josephine Armstrong Stewart” tree and has a girth of 9.17 meters.  It is approximately 31’ in circumference and is more than 70’ tall with a crown spread of approximately 150’. All the live oak trees are registered members of the “Live Oak Society.” Refer to our blog post of January 6, 2016, for more information on this society of trees.

The azaleas were blooming, too, adding beautiful pastel colors to the landscape.

It is impressive to visit this plantation in southern Louisiana. Step back in time to another era.

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