Friday, June 18, 2010

Louisiana's Scenic Byways

This week, I had to travel from New Orleans to Marksville, Louisiana to take a sworn statement of a witness.  Sounds like a blast, right?  Well, I actually did have a bit of a good time on my drive, thanks to Hwy. 1 North, a designated "Louisiana Scenic Byway." 

I usually have to travel on the interstate to reach my work-related destinations.  Not this time!  I cruised the entirety of Hwy. 1 N between Baton Rouge and Marksville, admiring the mossy trees, cane fields, and boats docked along False River. 

Aside from admiring the general slow pace and having many "Wow, I forget how beautiful Louisiana is!" moments, the happiest accident of the trip was literally stumbling across Parlange Plantation.  I have been a long time fan of Angele Parlange, still often flipping through Creole Thrift for inspiration and New Orleansy-Louisiana eye candy.   

I bet most of you Gimleters own this oldie, but goodie, right?
If you don't know about Creole Thrift, I strongly recommend that you borrow or buy it. 
The tag line: "Premium Southern Living without Spending a Dime" says it all. 

I have read so much about Angele Parlange and her family plantation over the years, but somehow missed that Parlange Plantation is clearly-marked as a U.S. Historic Landmark and a property on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  I just assumed that the Parlange's plantation home was simply a private residence located "somewhere in Louisiana." 

A clear snap of Parlange Plantation in its French Colonial glory.  It is a two-story raised cottage with a brick basement and walls fashioned from mud, horsehair and Spanish moss. 

The second I passed by and saw the famous pigeonniere pretty close to the front gate, I knew that the clearly-marked National Historic site was, indeed, Angele's family plantation and not another "Parlange" home (Remember, Parlange is a French name and, in South Louisiana, that is not necessarily unique...).  Again, what an unexpected treat!

The view from the road wasn't quite this clear, but I knew it when I saw it! 
via here

Here it is, zhushed up for Creole Thrift. 
...seeing it was kind of like seeing a movie star in real life. 

According to the National Park Service website, the home was erected around 1750 and remains owned and operated by the original owners, the Parlange family.  Amelie Gautreau, better known as John Singer Sargent's Madame X, lived there. 

One of Parlange's first residents....

As it is a private home, you can only tour it via appointment.  (Sadly, I was unable to just pull on into the drive and knock on the door!)  Honestly, just happening upon this historic home out of nowhere was the thrill. 

I know many of you have likely seen the images from Creole Thrift time and time again.  You know, though, when something is this good, it should be shared from time to time, right?


I hope that every Gimlet reader occasionally discovers a treasure in his or her own backyard....this was certainly mine for the week.  Oh, and per the requirement of any historic home in Southern Louisiana, Parlange is said to be haunted by a young woman wearing a bridal gown.  Just sayin'.



P.S.  HAPPY WEEKEND.  If you are so inclined, please share your fave Creole Thifts with Gimlet!


  1. love Louisiana! I was a tour guide at Nottoway when I was in college :)

  2. I was loving the house until you mentioned the ghost. And a bridal ghost at that! Side note: this just made me remember our conversation about modern day ghosts carrying blackberries and ipods.

  3. Of course, I added that comment at the end for you. It was your Versailles. Until.

  4. Angele is awesome. Somehow, not sure everyone can pull off what she does in Creole Thrift as easily! You know the New Orleans house and gorgeous blonde boy in the book belong to Fifi! What is she up to these days? Last I heard she was between here and NYC. Everything I have from her former Magazine Street shop I am still obsessed with!

  5. yep, i own a copy! having been a tour guide at houmas house in my high school/college years, i have a fondness for old houses & hoop skirts ;-)

  6. I want to go there next trip. I think I need a copy! must check with my MIL in BR to see if she has one. xo

  7. These are such great pictures but the one that keeps drawing me back? The last one!! Those book shelves are so unique and stunning!! My next house will have those, I hope! ;-)

  8. I've never read the book, but I remember these shots from a magazine- was it Cottage Living? Of course j'adore!!

  9. You know, I've made that drive several times myself and always loved taking the "back roads." I'd seen the house and the pigeonnaire but never knew what it was. Ya learn something new every day!

  10. Parlange!! And, a bridal ghost - may favorite kind. I have ACTUALLY been the exact way you drove to Marksville. How's that for a "fake local."

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