TRAVEL THERE: FROM PLANTATIONS TO PO’ BOYS
When it comes to travel, food is a just part of the fun, but if you’re talking Gulf Coast, it’s a big part of the fun. On this trip I’ve had crawfish in Evangeline Country, nibbled on beignets and dined at Brennan’s. Over the next few days, food moved to the forefront. I had fried this and broiled that. I had seafood stuffed with crab and shrimp in all kinds of formats. I had seafood every time it was on the menu and I loved every bite of it, but there’s more to the Gulf Coast than seafood. Come see what I mean.
Just outside of New Orleans is the River Road. Along it you’ll find one plantation after another. In this day and age, slavery is a slippery slope. Anything and everything associated with it is pretty much off limits. I get it. Slavery was bad. What I don’t get is trying to revise history. It’s like some people want to erase the first century of America’s existence, including anyone and everyone that owned a slave.
Well, America didn’t invent slavery or even participate in the worst of it. It’s been a part of every society, virtually from the beginning of time and some slaves did a whole lot more that work in the fields or clean house. If someone wants to erase slavery from the history books, they’re going to have to get a pretty big eraser. Name a society from the Egyptians to the Mayans to the Celts – well to anyone you want to name. They all had slaves, along with practicing a myriad of other sins – discrimination against women, child labor, sex trafficking, cruelty to animals – pretty much anything and everything we complain about ourselves today. It’s really quite myopic to want discard everything American that is in anyway related to slavery and the Civil War.
If you are one of the eradicators, I don’t recommend the River Road to you. You’ll be for pulling down the plantations and that would be a shame. To begin with, the architecture is stunning, but it is also surprising. While some are luxurious, you’ll most likely be surprised at how small the houses of the plantation owners were and many of them were quite plain. Hopefully, visiting the River Road will get the Gone with the Wind images out of your mind and put you in touch with what it was really like to live out in the country raising cotton and rice.
Like many things on this trip, I can’t actually remember visiting the River Road plantations with my family, but I do remember recalling them when I visited them in later years. We also saw The Myrtles, a home famous for its ghosts. However, I’d be lying to you if I pretended I knew which order we saw them in.
Whatever order we saw the plantations in, Biloxi was our final destination. While we saw a variety of sites, including taking a ride on the Shrimp Tour Train, we were in Biloxi to see Beauvior. If slavery is off limits, then I guess Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy is beyond the pale. Rather than apologize, I’ll just direct you to this post I wrote back in 2012. The president has changed, but my politics haven’t.
At Biloxi we stayed on the beach, though I can’t remember our accommodations. I know about the beach, because Mom’s coiffure, which was pouffy in New Orleans, is decidedly flat in Biloxi. That indicates time spent in the water and we’ve always enjoyed sea water more than pools. One of the pictures on my scrapbook page is also seashells in the sand.
Were I to go on this trip today, I’m sure I’d have more than my fair share of food pictures, taken with my phone. As I write I can see piping hot oyster po’ boys. I can see baskets filled with fried potatoes, hushpuppies and shrimp, still sizzling from the hot grease. My mouth is watering from the memory, but we used film back then and it was expensive – so we didn’t take all those food pictures we do now. In fact, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been considered particularly polite and manners were quite important.
Our Gulf Shores vacation was over. It was time to take Aunt Edie home and get back to Dallas. Next week I’ll shift gears a little. Come see where we’re headed.