I recently spent a few days in New Orleans for no other reason than to avoid my family over the holidays. I was accompanied by my wife. The Marriott points were hers. It’s useful to have a place to sleep, even in New Orleans.

I have nothing against my family but I think we are all happy we live where we do. Elsewhere. You can now bicker by text and Skype remotely where in the past a physical presence was required. My wife and I did spend four days with the family in Missouri. The family moved there via Denver after I left for college. Visiting a place for almost 40 years does not make it home…

New Orleans in a great food town and we ate our way through it as only we can. The free breakfast at the hotel is almost worth what you pay for it. I’ve been told they’re not powdered eggs but instead arrive in a plastic bag. A lukewarm comfort at best.

This leave us time to fill between meals. We have already hit most of the museums, historic houses and antique shops on Royal during past visits. The antique inventory may change but the character remains consistent. To find new thing you need to go to new places.

This time we rented a car and headed out to the plantations west of town. We have avoided renting cars in the past in that overnight hotel parking runs $40 per night. A local lot allows you to park overnight for the discounted rate of $26.50! This is as much or more than the car rental. This trip we found a hotel three blocks from an in town car rental agency and rented one for the day as needed. About as fast as waiting for the valet.

The first plantation we visited was the Nottoway Plantation,  now the Nottoway Plantation and Resort. Apparently have around 200 enslaved workers kept you from attaining resort status in the day.


Nottoway Plantation, a Greek Revival and Italianate-styled mansion built by John Hampden Randolph in 1859.

It is the largest extant antebellum plantation house in the South with 53,000 square feet of floor space spread over three floors in 64 rooms.

Architecturally, the most interesting feature is the white ballroom. Everything is white. The floor is white. Walls are white. Trim is white. Window treatments, white. And one of the interesting feature in the ballroom is this alcove with the curved wall:


Apparently we were there around Christmas

Eavesdropping on the guided tour, I heard the claim that the wall were made from bent cypress. To bend the cypress, the wood was soaked in the Mississippi for one year per inch of thickness. No claims were made as to the thickness of the cypress of the length of time soaked. The mansion was built in three years from lumber harvesting to move in so the wood must only be about 2″. Our Audioguide made similar claims so I will have to accept this as the truth, at least as they see it.

The furniture is not surprisingly mostly Empire and Regency with some Biedermeier/Belter style furniture thrown in as accents:


A blocky yet handsome secretary.

We can’t forget the French influences throughout Louisiana:


Try as we might.

Another bed seen in many of the grand southern houses is the half tester bed:


Draperies not included.

If you are curious about the meaning of half tester, there is an informative blog HERE.

The last piece I am including in this preview is this carved chair:


I’m sure at this point in furniture making history some automation/mechanical assistance was available.

Still, it amuses me:


Though I am easily amused.

The rest of the pictures can be found HERE.