Back in August of 2009 I did a report on where I'm from -- a little town about 30 miles north of Baton Rouge. At that time it had been three years since I'd been to St. Francisville & I relied heavily on the internet to make that report.
Earlier this month I went back there to attend a family reunion, so got to walk through the beautiful town again & take my own pictures, which I present to you here.
Flying into the Baton Rouge airport, late morning of October 4:
October is easily one of the prettiest months in Louisiana. This area is known for its native birds and the bird song was just wonderful. This is the little man-made lake at our hotel ~
cypress knees ~
My sister & I arrived together before the rest of our immediate family, so set off revisit the town. On the way down to the now defunct ferry landing, we went up Catholic Hill, but the foliage between the hill & the river was too thick for us to see the river.
Even though the church is on a bluff, you can see higher land to the right in this picture. St. Francisville is surrounded by the Tunica Hills.
We continued on down to the river, to the ferry landing. The ferry is no more, as the new bridge was opened in May of 2011. It's odd to be here without a lineup of waiting cars, which was always a feature before.
There are just some people fishing and some abandoned equipment on the shore now.
But other river traffic goes on as before. Looking across the river to the new bridge and the Big Cajun II power plant:
And back to town for a restorative (& excellent) Americano at the Birdman Cafe. This is located where the 3V Cafe was before, for those of you referring back to the earlier thread. It's in front of the Magnolia Cafe and the whole area is nicely landscaped.
And another map to show our first pass through town. If you click on this map, it will take you to a live version. We're starting out between #s 25 & 26 and staying on that side of the street for the time being.
In front of the former post office, now the library. A rather grumpy looking St. Francis ~
Wonderful pictures, but I'm pretty sure already that I'm going to have to give up on seeing your step by step instructions of how to gut a gator. Luckily, I saw how to do it in "The Paperboy" so I will just relax and admire the genteel side of life.
What a trip down Memory Lane for me to see these pics!!! Jeez!! I did not know that the ferry was discontinued and am saddened by that. It was such a special feature as are all ferries. Were the lycoris in bloom yet per chance? I have such a fond recall of being there while they were, the red ones. Interspersed all over town. Perhaps a tad early for them. I'm wondering if that's the creek where I once found a cool arrowhead. Thanks for this Bixa. Very lovely and super pics!!
Thanks so much, Mich. Even though I know the area so well, its beauty always astounds me. Yes indeed ~~ there is much more to come.
For those who are following the map, this walk will continue where we left off at Reply #3 above, moving in the direction of the river from @between the blue 23 & 26 on the map.
Just past the library is an empty lot, where I stood to get this picture. It's not just any empty lot, but the one where the very first house I ever lived in stood. The house still exists, but was bought & moved elsewhere. This was taken looking down into the hollow. The town is built on a ridge with deep hollows on either side. If anyone saw the movie Hurry Sundown, it was filmed in St. Francisville, with a scene looking down into this very spot.
Okay, let's get past this cat & continue down the main drag ~~
Jeez, I've always wanted one of those old sugar kettle and almost inherited one from a client until an ingrate grandson came along who hadn't been around for years to tend to his grandmother and he claimed it....GRRRRRR!!!!
I don't know the tall rangy plant but want to!! It has fuschia like elements to it but then I know it isn't... I need to get my plant guru over here from Georgia to ID it!!! Was it at all fragrant?
And looking back the way we came, past the Methodist church & the last bit of afternoon light. It was getting too dark to take pictures, but I came back later. There's much yet to show, so please keep revisiting this thread.
You captured that Live Oak beautifully Bixa. Note the Resurrection fern on the second shot!!! You must have a good wide angle lens on your new camera. I can't capture the Live Oaks here like that and it's frustrating to try.
This is a real treat Bixa, I am going to have to come back to look at the walking tour in more detail. I did read through your first thread before starting on this one , that too was really interesting.
How fantastic that so little has changed .
Thank you also for the lesson , my knowledge about N America is so limited I did not know for example that the Mississippi rises in Minnesota
So many great photos it is difficult to pick which ones to comment on but I too was bowled over by the Live Oak photo ad I also enjoyed the Cypress knees which I have never seen .
Bearing in mind that my travel in US is limited to tiny parts of Florida, California, NE states and Nevada, one question I have is that the houses reminded me of houses on Cape Cod . Do you agree and is this type of architecture actually found in many states ?
Well, as you know in my own home town, the hurricanes have taken care of nearly all of the old wooden houses, and the nice ones that you can still see there are all reproductions built over a reinforced concrete frame. It's nice to see that some of the more sheltered areas still have the traditional houses and also picket fences, which are another absolute no-no in a potential hurricane zone.
Screen porches also bring back memories of my youth, although our house did not have one -- our porch was open to the mosquitoes.
I think that some of the houses on Cape Cod, cottages in particular, do in some way resemble some of the houses you see here HTMB. It's the Victorian gingerbread detail on the houses that you will see in old Southern towns along with many houses in New England and also very predominant in Key West, Florida. San Francisco also has many grand Victorian style homes but rarely will you see cottages represented like this. Beyond that, Cape Cod has it's own particular stamp, using shingles, and many of the cottages are more in the Salt Box mode, of which one never sees down here in the South. The defining feature of the screened in porch is also very regional. I adore screened in porches and have always lusted for one. I have seen some gorgeous screened in porches bastardized and what some people do is glass them in (I suppose to gain the benefit of AC). I shudder whenever I see this done.
I didn't mean to jump in here and answer your question htmb, which was addressed at Bixa, and welcome her response and/or rebuttal of. I am just so excited at seeing this and it does come so close to home for me to see. Meaculpa if I jumped the gun here.... I swore that I was going to take some day trips when I inherited my mother's oh so worthy road car and, have yet to do thus far...this is all the more reason to do it!! I'm dismayed that Bixa was so close to NOLA and I didn't get to see her.
That was a question from lugg, casimira, but I enjoyed your response anyway We have similar architecture, here and there, down my way in Florida. I'll have to take some pictures of cracker style and woodframe homes in my neck of the woods someday. The little towns of Micanopy and Melrose have a few homes in the same style.
This is a beautiful little town, bixa. I'm enjoying reading your report and seeing your wonderful pictures.
You are so right, Mossie, & I did go there with a little trepidation, but it was a totally good experience.
Lugg, you're hardly ignorant! I've repeatedly had people (from the US, even from Louisiana) insist that there are no hills in Louisiana, just as a for-instance of the kinds of things people don't bother knowing.
And thanks for mentioning the cypress knees. Quite a few times I almost didn't take pictures of things, forgetting that what I take for granted might be interestingly exotic to others.
I think Casimira zeroed in on the similarities and the differences of the various kinds of traditional wooden architecture in the US. That said, you've made me curious & I'm going to see if I can find out how the architecture in this particular area evolved.
Re: picket fences ~~ yes, they are prevalent in this town! When I took all the pics off the camera, I realized that I had somehow not taken any of the family house & stores. I think this was unconsciously on purpose. The people who now own the house have put up a picket fence, which is totally not appropriate to the style ("Tudor" from the 1930s). This was quite helpful to me in moving away from the idea that it's still our home place. Well, that & not looking in that direction. ;D
And a further word about screens ~~ what is more "southern" than the sound of a screen door slapping shut? Who remembers when the ones on stores had advertising incorporated into the wooden framework?
Casimira, thanks for that very complete answer on the house styles, which nicely covers parts of the US with which I'm not familiar.
Well, thank you, Imec! You know I admire the way you construct threads & am in awe of your photographic skill. However, don't put this thread to bed yet, please ~~ I'm not letting y'all go until you've seen everything!
I know Casimira! This was such a short & packed trip, that there was no way. Guess I need to make a special trip your way & we can take that roadster out, yes?!
Except for the lush vegetation, I find quite a few of the houses quite similar to those found in small towns of southern Ontario in Canada. Both the rather fancy large ones, as well as some of the small ones, which could be dropped in any of a number of places without being seen as not belonging. I think of it all as North American architecture, since it's never the kind of thing you see in Europe.
It's also greener and more open than any small place in Europe, where you would have more walls, fences. It all reflects a difference in history and mentality I suppose.
It does look like a pretty little town that seems to have a "time stands still" look to it. Is this due to your selection of what to photograph, Bixa, or is it an accurate picture of the place?
Well, I am pitifully slow! I see that that 13 minutes elapsed between the time that you posted, Htmb & my post, which means I must have been laboriously tapping mine out before you even started yours.
At any rate, thanks so much for the lovely feedback and also for adding to the discussion about building styles in America. I look forward to seeing some of those styles from your area.
Thank you, Fumobici. The weather really was excellent the whole time we were there, October being one of the best times to visit Louisiana.
Bjd, you've really focused in on how and why American (by which I mean Canadian & US) architecture and general town and residential layouts differ from Europe. It's interesting that Lugg noted the similarities between widely separated parts of the US.
Bjd, it really is one of the prettiest towns you can imagine! It was "discovered" some years back & has a very active historical society and many events that celebrate the town's heritage, so it's kept groomed. Obviously there are areas with more contemporary houses, but everything is quite pleasant.
My selection of what to photograph was based on time constraints & the fact that I was strolling with my sister & my niece. The next time I'm there, with more time, I'll undoubtedly hit some of the plantation houses, back roads, etc.
And before leaving the subject of architecture, I'm including a picture of The Family Home with its new picket fence. My son has kindly given me permission to use pictures he took of the town in May of 2010:
It's a big lot & that's a heck of a lot of fence. It truly doesn't go with the house. Maybe there's a town fence ordinance?
See -- Tudor Style. It needed some kind of low stucco wall topped with ironwork or something instead. The new owners have little kids, so that was surely a consideration.
The house & the two stores. The one on the left is the original store. It became the warehouse when the new store was built in the 1950s. For most of my life that area where you see the latticework was another warehouse that connected the two buildings.
And the side of the street I neglected to photograph, showing part of the brick bungalow next to the store & the three subsequent houses:
But now, in thread time, it's Saturday October 6 ~~ the day we attended the
Shame this is so backlit & glary. It's cousin Terry, a major force in not only creating this event, but in finding and recording family history. The lady is cousin Tina, who at 97 was the oldest person there.
Five generations of my immediate line, starting with Vincent & Sarah:
their son Jimmie:
Jimmie's daughter, my mother:
and me & my son:
We'd planned to also attend the barbecue cook-off to be held in Parker Park in the center of town that same day, but wound up having so much fun at the reunion that we stayed until the end. When we got to the park, we could see that there had been serious barbecuers in attendance:
Most of the stands were shutting down and consolidating whatever was left. These nice firemen said, "We'll give you a little of everything." Well, it was skimpy on the sides, but we feasted on chicken, brisket, & ribs!
It was a beautiful afternoon in the park. A gable of the Wolf-Schlesinger house peeks over the oak trees ~
The Fugitive Poets were still playing, giving their immensely talented all to some country standards ~
What a wonderful and very personal thread this is, bixa. I loved seeing the photos of your family reunion! Your family pictures make the thread even more vibrant and historically meaningful. And what a fantastic cake!