Life beyond the French Quarter
Swamps & Plantations. As I’ve mentioned before, plenty of my decisions for destinations are based off of what I’ve seen on television or film. So naturally, my first trip to the South would not have been complete without a visit to some of the historical plantations and the Swamp! This inspiration coming courtesy of Disney’s The Princess & the Frog. I didn’t want to rent a vehicle so I decided a tour company was the best way to go. I booked with Cajun Pride Swamp Tours because they had the most economical tour combo of one plantation and swamp tour for only $83.00, which compared to other options was a steal!
Highlights and Recap
The tour begins with a 20 minute drive away from New Orleans and takes you to the Cajun Pride Swamp. At first I was skeptical since the swamp appeared to be right off of the highway, however once on the boat they take you further into the area and all the noise disappears and you start to get a feel for what it would be like if you were alone on a paddle boat. It was a very enjoyable experience.
They have a baby alligator you can hold! (It’s a little on the cheesy side, but hey, you’re holding a baby alligator!)
You can tell that plenty of boats must come through on the daily because even the raccoons are trained to come to the shore when they hear the boats. I’m sure the fact that the boat driver throws marshmallows at them helps!
After the swamp tour, the bus return and it is onward to the plantations. We toured Laura Plantation which is a “Creole” plantation. Completely different from what I envisioned a plantation to look like. The main difference being the colors.
Creole plantations distinguished themselves by being painted bright colors, whereas the “Anglo” plantations were simply white. Regardless of my original expectation, the tour was filled with historical facts that made me glad I had a chance to go. I enjoy history very much and this tour sure had plenty of that!
Even though I didn’t have a history lesson about the next plantation, I would like to give an honorable mention to Oak Alley Plantation. I mean… look at it! It’s gorgeous and is exactly how you think a Southern Plantation would look. I think the walkway to this home says enough for why it’s worth seeing. It just screams “Southern Charm” in my opinion. It’s even been featured in some Hollywood movies!
*Fun Fact* Southern Louisiana Plantations primarily grew sugarcane, not cotton.
The sightseeing during this part of my Louisiana adventure was extremely entertaining, however, I do believe my experience was heightened by my tour guide. His name is Caesar and he is AMAZING. If you ever find yourself in this area and have the time to go on a Cajun Pride Swamp tour definitely ask for him! He was so insightful on the city of New Orleans through his knowledge about the history and his own personal experience of being a local that you couldn’t help but listen and be fascinated by what he had to say. It also helps that he has a great sense of humor and in general is just tons of fun. He actually convinced my boyfriend and me to change our tour from the focus on Oak Alley Plantation to Laura Plantation. His tip was #1. There is more history at Laura and it’s much more interesting. #2. When they pick up the group from Laura Plantation, they stop at Oak Alley anyways, so it’s the loophole way to get more for your money. Who doesn’t love a tour guide that’s knowledgeable and can help you get a bang for your buck?
Pralines are an insanely sugary dessert that can be purchased at most candy shops as well as gift stores in the French Quarter, or any tourist location in New Orleans. I purchased my first one in Louisiana at Laura Plantation where they say they make them fresh daily. How true that is, I’m not for certain, but oh my goodness they were delicious!!
I’ve tried them in other cities where they have clearly been shipped to that destination and have been sitting on the shelves for who knows how long, but having them freshly made in the city that created them… well there is nothing exactly like it. It tastes like the love that it was made with hasn’t expired yet. If that makes any sense to you. This was such a standout snack that this was the treat I decided to bring back home to friends and family so that they could get a taste of the sweeter side of Louisiana.