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 pigeonnaire...my view from the road wasn't quite this clear, but I knew it when I saw it!
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!