February 6th was my 50th birthday. Not a day I have been looking forward to but not one I had been dreading either. Ordinarily I am not one to get too caught up in a number, but this one was a quite different. My 49th year was excruciatingly painful and not a year I would ever, ever wish on another person. My birthday, in particular was very lonely for a variety of reasons. When I look back to this time last year I realize that I was on the verge of figuring out a number of troubling facts, one of which was my cloak of invisibility that I didn’t realize I had been wearing. I would find out near the end of this month, 2016. This blog was one of my attempts to shed that cloak, and thanks to this wonderful community, I know it is working. I feel stronger now then I did then, or have in a long time.

For my milestone birthday, my husband and I have been in New Orleans and I have posted about the first part of our trip in Beignets, Bourbon street and Breaking a Sweat in New Orleans! Today I will write about the birthday plans. My husband surprised me with a tour of a plantation, an airboat ride through the bayou and a fabulous french dinner.

We started out at Destrehan plantation. I have to admit, being from Seattle I don’t think about Louisiana when the topic of slavery comes up. Georgia, Virginia and Mississippi spring to mind. But of course there were numerous plantations all along the Mississippi River and Destrehan Plantation was one of the most prosperous. The property is still beautiful and the main house has been restored with much of the original art work, building materials and furnishings. The first thing that caught my attention were the numerous oak trees and the spanish moss that symbiotically thrives on them.

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This massive branch was a small part of the larger tree

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The main house was set a little way from the main road, which of course did not exist in the 1700’s. The entire plantation was self sustaining with a black smith, small trading post run by the slaves for profit which they kept and 2 hospitals. Each plantation was so far from one another that they had to be more like small cities.

The main house had a wrap around porch wide enough for four adults to walk side by side. These pictures are from the butlers pantry, two views of the room held by the lady of the house (who had 14 children!), the Master’s room and the eldest daughters bed, where she died from yellow fever.

The slave’s quarters were considerably more modest, as you can imagine!

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By our count, 2 adults and 5 children lived together here

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The adult bed

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An example of a child’s sleeping area

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This was a separate building called the wash room

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all the laundry for the plantation was done here

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Part of the blacksmith area

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A loom that was maintained in the main house, used to make all the clothing needed by the slaves and master’s family

The tour guide took great pains to remind us how great the slaves in Louisiana were treated compared to the other slaves in the south. Still, two slaves were found guilty of collusion in the uprising of 1811 and put to death-guess no one told them how great they had it!

After the plantation we made our way over to the airboat tour. The boats were noisy, fast and fun! We began by moving through the canals of the bayou, and were immediately impressed by the many cypress trees that naturally grow in the swampy water.

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More Spanish moss, it was everywhere!

We moved from the bayou into the marsh, were there were less trees and a lot more snakes! The water moccasins were masters of camouflage and I never got a good picture, the alligators were a little easier to spot.

 

We wrapped up our outing and were pretty tired after the 5 hours of history and eco tourism! Our next stop was an amazing dinner at Bayona. My brilliant husband made this reservation in advance. This restaurant was neither cajun nor creole, it was traditional french and delicious!

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My first cocktail of the evening

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Crispy Quail Salad

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Rabbit Ravioli! 

It was the perfect end to a fantastic birthday celebration! My hubby will have a tough time out doing this one next year! No Pressure!

My final gift was one that a gave to myself. I have never been a tattoo kind of girl, but this year needed, begged really, for something different. I needed to take my invisible-no-more concept to a new level and I wanted my outside to reflect the intense growth I have been experiencing through my mid life crisis. So,

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This is the celtic symbol for New Beginnings. Thank you New Orleans and my dear husband for an amazing trip!

 

4 thoughts on “Best Birthday Ever!

  1. Happy belated birthday to you. What a wonderful and very special way to celebrate your milestone year. And I love the tattoo. Hope the year ahead is an amazing one for you. Hugs and love sent your way. xo

    Like

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