When you think of New Orleans several things come to mind for me – and probably for a lot of other people as well – great food, great music, lots of partying (AKA Bourbon Street & Mardi Gras), and hurricanes! During a recent trip to this city and surrounding area I had the opportunity of touring a couple of old plantations. They were no longer working plantations, but they certainly were during the 1800’s. Taking these tours and learning about the lives, living, and working conditions of the plantation workers – slaves – was a very humbling experience. Yes, many of us (I don’t want to say all because I’m convinced that a huge percentage of the American population have no clue what it was like to be “owned” and work on a plantation) may have read about plantation life but until you actually visit some of these plantations and mentally immerse yourself into the life that these individuals experienced, one cannot appreciate the mental and physical hardships that the slaves had to endure. At the Oak Alley Planation, the foundation that was established to preserve the grounds and to educate the public about slave life and conditions, does an excellent job of “allowing” the planation visitors to see what it was like to be a slave. As mentioned above, it was very humbling for me. It is hard to believe that man can treat his fellow man the way we did, and unfortunately, still do.
Back in New Orleans, which was, I believe, the slave trading capital of the south for some time, we experienced one of those “greats” that the city is famous for – food! NOLA, an Emeril Lagasse restaurant in the Quarter, provided us with a fabulous meal and great entertainment as we sat at the chef’s bar, chatted with one of the line chefs, and watched the evening’s meals come to life through the superb orchestration of the Executive Chef. NOLA has always been a favourite of ours.