Oak Alley Plantation
Vacherie, St. James County, Louisiana, 70090
Oak Alley Plantation is a historic plantation located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, in the community of Vacherie, St. James Parish, Louisiana.
Oak Alley is named for its distinguishing visual feature, an alley (French allée) or canopied path, created by a double row of southern live oak trees about 800 feet (240 meters) long, planted in the early 18th century — long before the present house was built. The allée or tree avenue runs between the home and the River.
The most noted slave who lived at Oak Alley Plantation was named Antoine. He was listed as "Antoine, 38, Creole Negro gardener/expert grafter of pecan trees," with a value of $1,000 in the inventory of the estate conducted upon J.T. Roman's death. Antoine was a master of the techniques of grafting, and after trial with several trees, succeeded in the winter of 1846 in producing a variety of pecan that could be cracked with one's bare hands; the shell was so thin it was dubbed the "paper shell" pecan. It was later named the Centennial Variety when entered in competition at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where it won a prize.
Josephine Stewart left the historic house and grounds to the Oak Alley Foundation when she died in 1972, which opened them to the public.
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