Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Laura–A Creole Plantation Part 3

Here are some pictures of Laura though the years. Originally named after her great grandfather, the Duparc Plantation name was changed in 1874 to "The Laura." In 1872, Laura's grandmother, Elisabeth, divided the plantation, giving half to Laura's father, Emile, 3,000 acres plus the Big House, and, to his sister, Aimee, was given 3,000 acres and the sugar mill. The following year, Emile had a successful harvest but, his sister and mother, wanting to take back his half of the farm, refused him the use of Aimee's sugar mill. His entire crop spoiled, Emile found lenders in New Orleans and, in 1873, built his own sugar mill. To celebrate the mill's opening, Emile asked Laura to invite her teenage girl friends, instructing them to suggest a name for his new mill. Laura's best friend, Lily LeGendre, offered "the Laura Mill." Realizing the opportunity, Emile, in front of Elisabeth & Aimee, declared that his half of the plantation would be called "the Laura Plantation." When Laura sold the farm in 1891 to the Florian Waguespack family, she stipulated that from that sale forward, the name of the farm must be called "the Laura Plantation." Laura was born in 1861 and died in 1963 at the age of 102. After she sold the plantation in 1891, she moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to live with her husband.


This is a view from the back balcony. The building you see in the distance is the Maison de Reprise. It was built in 1829 by Laura’s great grandmother as a “retirement home.” If you did not work for the family business, you did not reside in the main home. So upon her retirement, she purchased a slot of land from the plantation and had this built. After retirement, she lived an additional 30-35 years!


I really hope that one day, before it’s too late, that funds will become available to where this beautiful old building can be restored!  This is what the house looked like in 1919.
Maison Reprise, Laura Plantation, 1919
I scanned it from this book, “Memories of the Old Plantation Home” by Laura Lecoul Gore.
It is an excellent resource for more information about the plantation and Laura’s life.  Before her death, she wrote down her memoirs for her children and held in safe keeping by a family friend. The manuscript was not found until restorers of the plantation were searching for old pictures and other documentation.  It is an amazing book that gives the reader a glimpse of her own life as well as stories passed down in her family.  I purchased the book and highly recommend it!  If you click on the picture, it will take you to Amazon, where it can be purchased.  Another resource is The Laura website.  It also has quite a bit of information, including this info that I’ve shared below!
Laura Plantation was rescued from demolition, not because of its Big House but, because of its remaining slave quarters and what happened in them many years ago. In the 1870s, Alcée Fortier, a young neighbor of Laura's, visited the workers' cabins at this site and at nearby plantations. On his visits, he wrote down stories that he heard the former slaves telling their children in French. Throughout his life, Fortier was known for the passion he had for his native Creole culture and for his special interest in recording folklore that he, as a child, had been exposed to on his family plantation on the River Road and in New Orleans.
As a teenager, Fortier began to collect these stories from former slaves, all lively accounts of Compair Lapin and Compair Bouki, the clever rabbit and the stupid fool. In 1894, Fortier, the president of the American Folklore Society and Dean of Foreign Languages of Tulane University, published his stories, entitling them "Louisiana Folktales."
One year later, Fortier's friend and colleague in Georgia, Joel Chandler Harris, published stories that he had heard in English, tales told by former slaves (whose ancestors were from Senegal) in Georgia and the Carolinas. To great success, Harris published "Tales of Uncle Remus", including his "The Little Tar Baby." Ever since, English-speakers would know Compair Lapin as that rascal: Br'er Rabbit.
To purchase a copy, as written by Alcee Fortier in 1894, click on the picture above.  Below is an original slave cabin that remains at the plantation today.  It was in cabins, such as this, that the old stories were told!
slave cabin @ laura plantation, vacherie, la
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of The Laura Plantation.  If you missed any previous posts, I have them listed below:
Part 1
Part 2
Thanks for stopping by!
Sharing with:
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Make it Pretty @ The Dedicated House
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll thru Life
Open House @ No Minimalist Here
Tuesdays Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
The Scoop Link Party @ The Farmhouse Porch
Tuesdays at Our Home @ Our Home Away From Home
Show Me What Ya Got @ Not JUST A Housewife
Be Inspired Friday @ Common Ground
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Fabulously Creative Party @ Jennifer Rizzo
Tweak it Tuesday @ Cozy Little House
Tips, Tutorials, & Tidbits @ StoneGable
Spring Party @ DIY by Design
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
Oh, the Places I've Been @ The Tablescaper


  1. Tammy,
    What an amazing place and story! I do hope they will restore it back to it's former glory!

  2. So enjoying this travelogue! What an interesting place so steeped in history. Thanks for sharing!

  3. It certainly is a whole different world from our history in the west.

  4. Thanks so much for introducing us to this incredible home and even more importantly, the stories that it inspired. Cherry Kay

  5. I just love these posts; thanks for sharing and thanks for following my blog. ;)

  6. Such a wonderful place. It certainly deserves too be restored.

    Happy to have you at "Oh, the PLACES you've been!"

    - The Tablescaper

  7. Hi, Tammy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about The Laura Plantation! What a wonderful old place full of so much history. I also enjoyed reading about your own home! I loved hearing about tearing down the old house and how much you were able to reuse. Your home is gorgeous!

  8. Gorgeous place and wonderful stories. So much history. It would be fabulous to have it totally restored. Thanks so much for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  9. I stumbled across your blog from BNOTP--what beautiful pictures, and I love the story of the plantation's name. I will have to check out the other previous parts.
    We homeschool in Louisiana too! Eleven years now. Learning to bloom where I'm planted, as growing up I always claimed I would "NEVER!" live precisely-where-we-do. :)
    So good to run into another Louisiana blogger!

  10. What fascinating history! I have totally enjoyed this tour along with all of your very informative and interesting stories. Thank you so much for taking us along on a tour of this plantation that I am sure I would have not otherwise seen! I really enjoyed it!


Thank you so much for all your lovely comments! I try to return the favor and visit each one of you! ~Blessings, Tammy~