Tour Beautiful Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana

You can’t visit Louisiana without a trip to iconic Oak Alley. It’s the plantation home that so frequently appears in magazines and almost any advertisement for Louisiana tourism. You may also recognize it from having appeared in a number of movies, music videos and other productions.

It’s this view! Oak Alley’s famous “alley of oaks” captures your heart and draws you toward the beautiful, Greek Revival home perfectly framed at the end.

The oaks on either side of the alley were planted in the early 18th century, but the home wasn’t built until much later in 1836 by Jacques Telesphore Roman as a gift for his bride, Celina. Roman purchased the land from his brother-in-law, Valcour Aime and it’s thought Roman’s father-in-law, Joseph Lilie, was probably the architect and who designed the home.

Oak Alley

 (Picture above and below from Wikipedia)

If you saw the movie, Interview With a Vampire, you may remember this scene with Brad Pitt. (Picture from Oak Alley Website)

Oak Alley

 

Oak Alley is located in Vacherie, Louisiana and is a protected National Historic Landmark. There are 28 Doric columns surrounding all four sides of the home. This exactly corresponds to the number of oak trees down the length of the alley.

Oak Alley

 (Picture above from Wikipedia)

If you could see underneath the stucco, you would find the home is actually constructed of bricks that were made on site. The walls are 16 inches thick and the stucco on the outside was painted to look like marble. Notice how the ceiling above the upper porch is painted “haint blue.”

I was surprised to read about an extensive renovation the home saw in 1920 that relocated the main staircase to the central hall and removed black and white marble floors that had been in the entry. Maybe they were in terrible condition or something. Also, during that renovation, a lot of dormers were removed, leaving just three on each side of the home. It makes me wonder how many there were in the beginning.

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisianna

 

When you enter the front door of Oak Alley, you’re inside the large entrance hall that runs from the front to the back of the home on both floors. The docents were all dressed in antebellum dress for the tours.

Oak Alley Plantation Entry Hall

 

A beautiful chandelier in the parlor…you can see the pretty ceiling medallion in the mirror.

Tour Oak Alley Plantation

 

In many of the old homes we toured, the doors were built from cypress wood which was plentiful back then. Then they were faux painted to look like oak or another kind of wood.

Interior Doors in Oak Alley Plantation

 

Remember the punkah (large swinging fan) we saw in the dining room when we toured Rosedown Plantation? Oak Alley has one, too. You may remember they were used to fan away pesky flies during meals. You can read more about punkahs in that previous post here: Tour the Dining Room in Rosedown Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation Dining Room

 

Some of the beautiful silver and china used at Oak Alley.

Silver and China, Oak Alley Plantation Home

 

I always notice stair molding and the molding in Oak Alley was really pretty. You may wonder about some of the views/angles of the pictures I took. Photography is always a challenge in the homes because there are so many people on the tours. So I just did the best I could.

Staircase, Oak Alley Plantation

 

A little close-up…

Oak Alley Plantation Staircase

 

While upstairs, we walked out onto the upper porch. This is the door leading out to the porch. As you step out onto the porch…

Oak Alley Plantation Balcony Front Door

 

…this is your view. The oaks lining the drive leading to Oak Alley are Virginia Live Oaks and they are over 300 years old! I read that Live Oaks have a life-span of around 600 years.

Just think, in 300 or so years, there will be folks walking down this long alley, looking at old pictures and wishing they could have seen this in person. We are so lucky to be living today when we can see this in person now.

Oak Alley Plantation View From the Balcony_wm

 

There are so many beautiful antiques throughout Oak Alley.

Beautiful Blue Bedroom In Oak Alley Plantation

 

Notice the beautiful cradle!

Oak Alley Bedroom with Full Tester Bed & Day Bed_wm

 

Beautiful ceiling medallion in this bedroom. I love how the antiques look against the blue paint.

Beautiful Blue Bedroom, Oak Alley Plantation 5a

 

I’ve always just called this style bed a canopy bed, but in all the homes we toured, the guides referred to these as full tester beds. As we tour other homes in future posts, we’ll see half-tester beds, too.

Oak Alley Plantation Bedroom

 

Many of the old plantation homes have the small day beds like the one shown here. Usually the mattresses on the main beds were filled with Spanish moss and during the day those were taken out and aired and beaten to reshape them. Then the beds were made. If ladies needed a nap during the day, they could nap on the small day beds.

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

 

Bedroom Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

 

Beautiful twin, canopy,  four-poster beds…loved these!

Oak Alley Plantation Bedroom With Twin Canopy Beds_wm

 

A closer view…

Beautiful Twin Canopy Beds in Oak Alley

 

Other side of the room…

Oak Alley Plantation Bedroom 2

 

So many beautiful beds in this house! Look at the dress on the fainting couch. You can almost envision a lady resting there, can’t you?

Oak Alley Plantation, Blue Bedrooom

 

Bedroom, Oak Alley Plantation

 

Hope you enjoyed this tour of Oak Alley. If you are ever in Louisiana, you need to go see it for yourself. Pictures do not do it justice!

Oak Alley

 




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Comments

  1. Oh, Susan,
    I have always dreamed of visiting the beautiful home. Thanks so much for the wonderful tour. Your photos are terrific.

  2. Cecilia says:

    Oh Susan,
    I love, love, love the symmetry of that home’s facade! I bet, you do, too! 🙂
    The bedrooms are all beautiful and those twin beds are too cute… but as I saw that punkah first in the dining room, I wondered why on earth is there a “lyre” hanging from that ceiling? LOL
    Oh, love those ante bellum hoop dresses, too! ♥
    ~Hugs to you~
    Cecilia

  3. Great photos and great story telling!

  4. I have been to Louisiana several times, but with one exception it was always for Mardi Gras and never ventured out.
    It is an interesting tidbit about the oaks. I am sure you are correct about them being a ‘must see’ in person.

    • Oh, Doreen, you gotta go back and tour some of the homes there. I’ve never been during Mardi Gras, bet that’s an experience!

      • Well, I guess if you think two men in their 70’s wearing nothing except shoes and VERY long ties an ‘experience’ then yes, I would have to agree with you. lol (and the fact that we brought our 12 year old daughter along didn’t exactly garner me the ‘mother of the year’ award!)

        I see your comment section changed back to what it was. 🙂

        • Doreen, is the comment functioning okay now? It’s supposed to give options of subscribing to comments and replies, the other comment plugin didn’t do that.
          Yikes, that sounds like a view I would not have wanted to see! lol I’ve always heard Mardi Gras was a bit crazy. How come they didn’t arrest those guys? That wouldn’t work where I live, they would be in jail in a heartbeat.

  5. You photography is nice. I love old southern antiques and style. Thanks for the tour.
    Sheila

    • Thanks, Sheila! It’s a challenge while on the tours since I have zero control of the lighting and often can’t position myself as I’d like due to other folks being around me on the tour…so appreciate that! XO

  6. Oh Susan, that home is one of my very favorite. I was in New Orleans for a conference and stayed over a weekend and took in all the sites. I went on a Greyline Tour and we went to Oak Alley and other plantations, but I don’t remember all of their names. The oak tress are just stunning. All the furnishings in the home were so beautiful. It was one of the most memorable tours I have ever been on.
    Thanks for sharing….
    Mary

  7. Wow, absolutely gorgeous! And very interesting too. I never knew they used spanish moss for the mattresses, boy you better hope it didn’t have any bugs in it! ; ) We have it growing in the trees here too, in places. Just never thought to stuff a mattress with it~~I know some places they used cotton, and talk about lumpy! OK, backing off the mattress stuffing….

  8. Linda Page says:

    Ok, I’m ready to go back!!!!

  9. Peggy Thal says:

    Beautiful Plantation. I really love the gorgeous canopy beds. What a great tour.

  10. Loved Oak Alley when we visited it the week after hurricane Lili (Lily?). I was expecting the grounds to show effects from the storm, but they were immaculate.

    Did you do the slave quarters tour? We didn’t because it was getting late.

  11. We had a chance to visit Oak Alley about 17 years ago. Your lovely photos bring it all back. I think this was also used in the movie Primary Colors or Wag The Dog…I mix the two up.

    Nice post!

  12. Beautiful home and nice photos and commentary. But how did they ever live in that heat/humidity in those dresses! How do they do it as a docent today? Thanks for taking these tours for us 🙂

    • The home is air conditioned today so it’s comfortable in there. I’m not sure how they survived back when it was hot. The high ceilings and big windows and doors helped I guess but the humidity must have been awful.

  13. Why is the flatware turned down? Love the doors, well I love it all. Thanks for sharing.

    • Madonna, I’ve read a few reasons for that…one said they turned them over so the men wouldn’t get their French cuffs caught on the tongs of the forks, etc… while dining, I guess meaning the pieces that weren’t being used yet since they often served several courses.
      Also, back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to have silver monogrammed on the back of the handle. So when the table was set, sometimes the flatware would be turned facing downward so the monogram was visible. Monograms were a big thing, back in the day and I guess they wanted to show them off to their dinner guests. 🙂 I love monogrammed silver…love it!

  14. Thank you for sharing the tour, awesome place for sure! 🙂

  15. Oh, dear…seeing those tester beds…I have to “give mine up” with this move…no room. 🙁 I do love them so! franki

  16. Thanks for the tour. I noticed in the stairway photo it looks like the baseboard is marble. Maybe it was left when the marble floors were removed.

  17. Memarge says:

    Wasn’t this the original house used in the first version of The Long Hot Summer?

  18. Thank you for your beautiful pictures! I visited this magnificent place years ago. I don’t remember it being so grand but guess time and age makes one appreciate more! I know what you mean about taking quality photos while on tour with other people and I think you did a marvelous job! Thanks!

  19. Isn’t it interesting that in another time cypress was made to look like somet other wood when today it is prized as an interior accent.

  20. Such a different time, such a different attention to detail. Interesting that cypress was painted to look like another wood when it has such a warm and beautiful hue.

  21. I always enjoy your home tours, especially of houses like Oak Alley, as I love antiques and have a houseful. Did you notice that the twin tester beds are not exactly alike? We have two twin half tester beds that came from a plantation house in Mississippi. We were told by the antique dealer that they were made on site. I found a slightly smaller twin bed with four posts that is similar to the half tester beds, and the three of them work well in one room for my three boys. (Two of whom have outgrown the beds, but it is what it is! 🙂 )

    • I did not notice that! They are so similar but they are definitely not the same. Good eye, Rhonda! Rhonda, your home must be beautiful with all the antiques. I just love these tester beds and love the twin beds together. I bet three is even that much pretty together.

    • I think the only marble left is on the fireplaces. Everything else that appears to be marble is “faux bois,” cypress wood hand painted to look like marble.

  22. Thanks for the beautiful tour. I am definitely glad to be living in this century, the Spanish Moss mattresses don’t sound as comfortable as my Temperpedic.
    Traci

  23. I really enjoyed seeing your pictures. When some girl friends and I toured Oak Alley several years ago one of my favorite personal pictures is from the balcony looking down the alley of those amazing oaks!
    I liked seeing the pineapple on the bed….glad the visitors are welcome to stay!
    I always enjoy your blog…..I look forward to seeing it in my Inbox!
    Tammy

    • I love that view too. My camera didn’t do the best job of capturing it. I think all the shadows coming through the trees played havoc for picture taking. lol lol about the pineapple, I had forgotten about that until you mentioned. I’ve been to Colonial Williamsburg a few times and that’s where I first learned about it being the symbol of hospitality. But I had never heard about it being a way to let your guest know it was time to leave…when it didn’t show up on their tray in the morning. From what they said, travel took so long (no horse-less carriages back then) that guests had a tendency to overstay their welcome apparently. Well, I don’t know about you, but that would definitely have hurt my feelings! 🙂

  24. It is such a beautiful house! I visited there while in college and just fell in love with it. What a trip back in time:-)

  25. Oak Valley Plantation…What a gracious home and grounds!
    The very soul of the property is evidenced in the Docent’s presentations…
    My husband & I visited in early October 2014…in conjunction with our 50th Wedding Anniversary travels…
    Your pictures do Oak Valley justice…
    Thank you for taking them and sharing them on line.

  26. I just discovered your interesting website this week and have fallen in love.
    We visited Oak Alley several years ago and were treated by purchasing a cool mint-julep out on the veranda. During the tour we were told that the entry hall’s marble floors had to be replaced because, on several occasions, the young men had raced their horses in one door and out the other! I have a feeling that drinking too many mint-juleps may have been involved. = )

    • Thanks so much, Ann! Oh my gosh, I hadn’t heard that, that is a riot! I bet you’re right…too many mint juleps! I guess those wide opens door were just too tempting. 🙂

    • Jane Duncan says:

      Between the Roman family giving up the property in 1866, and the Stewart family buying it in 1925, the Big House (mansion) sat mostly idle. During a thunderstorm the cattle broke thru the main doors and used the house to stay dry. That would be the demise of the marble floors.

      At one point, two brothers did race their horses through the main floor of the house, but by that time no one cared because the Big House had fallen into great dis-repair, and the marble was probably already all broken up.

  27. melissa hawkins says:

    DO YOU HAVE WEDDINGS AND RECEPTIONS THERE

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