Friday, October 23, 2009

A Voice of the Bayou

"Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte"

Charlotte Hollis, played by Bette Davis, is a wealthy southern spinster. She has been shunned by her hometown for a grisly murder some 40 years prior of her intended, John Mayhew. Even though her guilt was never proven, the townspeople compare her to a modern-day Lizzie Borden. For this reason she lives a life secluded from town and society. She lives with her faithful servant, Velma, played by Olivia de Haviland. Now, progress in the form of a new highway, threatens the Hollis plantation since the Civil War times. She refuses to leave, summoning "Cousin Mariam" (Agnes Moorehead) to fight the public battle to save her home. The tale is somewhat predictable, but is Charlotte insane? Doctor Drew (Joseph Cotton) feels she may need some help across the threshold of insanity....scary stuff when I was a young teen. The movie filming production was at non-other than the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana.

Remember how Bette danced so awkwardly in this movie? You almost felt sorry for her.

Driveway Entrance

Oak Alley is a wondrous structure in terms of architectural detail and then some. I sit and muse about what people DID there--how they lived, how they worked, what they cooked and ate, how they played? What went on in this awesome, but very isolated, rural setting? I often wonder about the people who had inhabited it and worked it.

Oak Alley Plantation, acquired in 1820, is probably one of the most poignant images from the past. This next photo is a proud keepsake, a tribute to Louisiana's unique Golden Age, but mostly it is a thing of beauty to me. The interior spaces have huge, wood burning fireplaces and mantels adorned with beautiful carvings reflecting the wealth and taste of their owners. The main house has twenty-eight two story Tuscan order columns. The solid brick walls are sixteen inches thick. I am so fortunate to have captured her beauty, her magic, and majesty for you to see.

Back of Mansion

Years before I came to Oak Alley, I fell in love with its setting. Was it the majestic trees, the perfectly manicured lawns, the movie, or the "Big House?" It is so much more than that. There is a magical aura that surrounds the place. You can see it in the faces of guests as they round the bend of the River Road or walk up the levee. After that first audible gasp, you want to clasp your Canon to capture the incredible vista. There is just something enchanting that makes you want to capture the "feeling" that is so unique to this unforgettable setting.

We were told on tour that there was a presence of spirits long gone that visited the lavender bedroom below. I crept into the bedroom, and dared not make a sound. I stood in the shadow of history. There is a reverence you find yourself wanting to accept in order to understand the importance of this place.

Josephine Roman Aime is said to haunt this bedroom.
Suddenly, that feeling of potential spirits sped away, much as a deer would when startled by an approaching human. I walked away, out of the shadows, lost in thought and lost in time.

They stood so proud --

the trees --

majestic creations

of some quiet miracle

that breathed life

into a barren land.

Jim Metcalf
The Trees

And for another peek on today's and early opening of October 24th's, 13 Days of Halloween Swap, I present this vintage rick rack package, and handmade white dishcloth scrubbie made by Hope Malott. Nice job!


whymsicalmusings said...

Oh my goodness Nan what an adventure. I can just see you walking through those halls in that stately mansion! You made them gleam with love and happiness I am just sure:)

Thank you for the lovely Post card it really made my day! I have had the flu for the past 10 days and yesterday it was such a pleasant surprise to feel better and then your card arrived and I felt great!!!

penny patten said...

Just in case I didn't tell you- I love your banner!