“She had the idea that, as slaves were expensive, she would grow her own. She went to the market and bought five men and twenty women. Within ten years she had her first crop of young slaves.”
“If their daughter was to run the plantation as it’s president then she must be talented, accomplished and above all, beautiful. When she was 15 years old she broke out in acne. Distraught, her mother found out about a ground breaking new treatment in Paris for acne and so they sent their young daughter over seas to receive it. The marvellous French doctor injected her with the wondrous treatment – whatever it was – the single dose killed her”.
The Laura Plantation had a powerful impact on me… I’m still digesting and trying to manage my frustration and anger that in the last two hundred or so years we really haven’t progressed enough. The first story may not be common place these days although it still happens, it is thankfully considered abominable by all but the very worst sort of humans imaginable… but the later, well, it’s more common now than ever. It’s bordering on the norm in first world countries and is actively encouraged by most facets of society. Anyway, not wishing to linger on such odious topics I shall move on.
The following day we had booked a swamp tour with Pearl River Eco Tours on their 6 man boat. Despite Orla’s impressive effort to absolutely ruin it we had an incredible time. Up close with alligators we had a wonderfully knowledgeable Cajun guide whose love and passion for the Louisiana swamps was both infectious and satisfying. I had hoped for better pictures but am actually very happy with these knowing full well how hard it was to take them. Not just in a swaying boat but one handed while my legs engulfed Orla, preventing her determined attempts to dive into the alligator infested waters and my other hand was continuously stuffing snacks into her unbelievably loud and aggressive mouth – jaws like a snapping turtle I swear!
This boat was carried 20 miles by hurricane Katrina before being deposited here where is it now home to a host of turtles, birds and other inhabitants. The swamps are so beautiful, peaceful and intriguing habitats. I’ve never been in a swamp before but I definitely want to explore more of them, and in greater depth in the future.
After the swamp tour and an incredible Cajun feast nearby we pressed northward again. I rapidly got bored of the interstate and frustrated that we were probably missing out on far more interesting places on the slower roads running parallel. So we detoured and ended up in the wonderful town of Vicksburg. Not only does it boast an incredible position towering over the Mississippi River but the result of it’s position means it has a rich history of Civil War battles. The old part of the town has been beautifully preserved and strolling along the sun warmed streets infused with jazz music from secret flowerbed speakers we decided interstate detours are going to be an essential part of our planning from now on!
The next morning we visited the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum where the world best known brand was first bottled. Being the mean sort of parents that we are two of our three children had never tried Coke before and Alfie only had when he went out with someone else’s parents and got bought some! So we decided that it was time they tried some of the iconic tonic – plus we wanted some and it seemed a little too unfair not to let them have some too. Rob and I tried the original sugar cane type and the kids got the modern syrup made sort.
Orla polished off the bottle, Patrick had most of one until a burp came out his nose, made his eyes water and shocked him into a strange fear of the fizz, and Alfie enjoyed the first few swigs but like his mother isn’t much of a soda pop fan anyway – we both passed ours over to Rob to finish off and we all burped our way back to the car for the next leg of the Journey… bouncing our way into Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee… Poor boys and pilgrims and families (that’s us), we’re all going to Graceland.