Our day started early (for a vacation day that is) with a drive out to Oak Alley Plantation in Vacharie about an hour away from New Orleans along the banks of the Mississippi of course. The restored 1200 acre plantation was built in 1860 on a site where lines of intentionally planted mature oaks decorated the lot 100 years before construction of the plantation. We talked with an elderly creole civil war buff manning a military tent mockup that Louisianians of the early civil war days had no allegiance to the confederacy or the union, they thought both side were uncouth Americans and considered themselves French…some things never change. It was really interesting to listen to the native perspective on the civil war and its aftermath to the local area. Our lecture included cautionary tales of the ills perpetrated by carpetbaggers (non local shyster) and scaly wags (local shyster. I plan to start using these terms more. This is just not something you can get out of a textbook. We wandered around the beautifully maintained grounds and Sarah frolicked with the resident insects.
After the plantation tour we made our way to our swamp tour about 45 minutes away just outside Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Barataria Natural Preserve with the Cajun Style Swamp Tours. It was so awesome. I highly recommend this outfit if you are ever looking for a swamp tour. Our airboat captain (a Josh Duhamel lookalike) was both laid back and thorough. We got tons of cool info like the dates of gator hunting season (September), handy biological tidbits (their length can be estimated by the length of their snout- number of inches equals feet) and that they like marshmallows.