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12/30/13 - Plantation Tour and a BIG SURPRISE!

12/30/13 - Monday

We took 55 south, Edgard is southwest of where 10 and 55 meet.
After a busy weekend with the Winchells, we decided to take a day to be "tourists" and visit a plantation.  The Evergreen Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana is about 1 1/2 hours away from Fairview so after a quick errand in Covington we were on the road around 11:00.

When we crossed the Mississippi River we saw a levee and so, of course, we had to drive our Chevy on it.

Drove my chevy to the levee. . . .
We arrived at the plantation around 12:40, the tour wasn't starting until 2:00 but we went on in to the little museum/gift shop to look around and get our tickets.  

I had just purchased our tickets when a young girl came up to me and asked if I had seen her mother.  She looked just like my nine year old niece, Sarah Beth - but that didn't make sense since Sarah lives in Illinois.   I kept looking at her not believing what I was seeing - it was Sarah and my brother Tom right behind her with my sister Sue and other niece Megan right outside on the porch!!   WHAT AN UNBELIEVABLE  SURPRISE!  

They left Chicago on Sunday night around 11:00  after Tom and Megan returned from a very disappointing Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers.   They drove all night telling very few family members of their plan.    They were able to track us down through the "find a friend" app on his iPhone - what an amazing thing modern technology is!   After following us on the phone they caught up with us about 12:00 and were 1 or 2 cars behind us for the rest of the trip.  At one point, Sue thought they should just send us a picture of the bridge over the Mississippi and get the whole thing over with (she was the one driving).   Her granddaughter, 9 year old Sarah, got so upset at the thought of giving up that she started yelling at her grandmother in Spanish (she goes to a dual language school).  No one had a clue what she was saying - I wish I was a fly on the wall in that car!  They got nervous when we stopped at the levee because they had nowhere to hide but since we were oblivious to their presence it didn't matter.  They waited until our photo op was over and proceeded on their adventure and what an adventure it was - we even did a u-turn right in front of them and the kids freaked out and ducked down because they were afraid we might see them.  
What a surprise!

I'm still in shock over the whole thing, it's just the kind of crazy thing my family likes to do and I'm so glad I'm part of this crazy family!

After we calmed down, we bought four more tickets for the tour and continued our day.

Here's the link to the video Tom took of Sarah Beth approaching me in the gift shop.

Evergreen Plantation
Aren't they cute?
The Evergreen Plantation is the most intact plantation complex in the South.  It has 37 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.  The property includes 2200 acres and is still a working farm where they grow sugar cane.    

There have only been four families that have owned the property since it was built in the 1790's.    The tour included the main house as well as the complex’s preserved slave quarters and other dependencies.  The “Big House” began its existence as a raised Creole house, and was remodeled to its present form in 1832. The 90-minute tour emphasized the plantation’s dependence on slave labor, as well as the labor of freed African-Americans later in its history that was necessary to operate such a multifaceted enterprise.  

I'm glad we got to see a plantation but have to say that I was still a bit distracted by having my family with me and probably didn't get as much from the tour as I should have.  
The inside of a slave cabin.
 Five people lived in each cabin 

Slave Cabin
All 22 original cabins are still on the plantation and
sharecroppers continued to work the property and live
in these cabins until the 1940's.
After the tour (which ended about 3:30) we were all hungry so we asked Carly, our guide, for suggestions on nearby places to eat.  She suggested the "B&C Seafood" restaurant, about 5 minutes away.    It was a good choice, we all enjoyed our meals (except Tom who decided to wait for a regular fast food place later and what a mistake that turned out to be).   Sarah Beth just finished learning about Louisiana in school and wanted Jambalaya but they were all out so she settled for gumbo but she really didn't like it.   Sue and Marty both had a seafood steak which they enjoyed very much.   Megan and I stuck to burger and chicken sandwiches - not very adventurous but it was good.  

Late lunch at B&C on Monday.
They look pretty good considering the last time
they slept was Saturday night!
We got back to the rig around 7:00 (after stopping at Sonic for Tom and milk shakes for everyone) and figured out a place to sleep for our guests - tight but we made it work.    The pull out couch with air mattress turns out to be pretty comfortable and Sue, Megan, and Sarah Beth slept on that.   Tom got the floor (but we did make it as cozy as we could).    The only thing we forgot was to turn on the heat - we rarely use the furnace and it has been fine for us but the temps dropped down to the 30's and my poor family was cold.  I woke up around 4:00 A.M. and realized how chilly it was and brought out the small electric heater -  that helped.  It still beats the weather in Chicago and Wisconsin.