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Buy for $19.95
Along the fertile banks of the Mississippi River across from New Orleans, planter Camille Zeringue transformed a mediocre colonial plantation into a thriving gem of antebellum sugar production, complete with a columned mansion known as Seven Oaks. Under the moss-strewn oaks, the privileged master nurtured his own family but enslaved many others. Excelling at agriculture, business, an ambitious canal enterprise, and local politics, Zeringue ascended to the very pinnacle of Southern society. But his empire soon came crashing down. After the ravages of the Civil War and a nasty battle with a railroad company, the family eventually lost the great estate. Seven Oaks ultimately ended up in the hands of distant railroad executives whose only desire was to rid themselves of this heap of history.
Lost Plantation: The Rise and Fall of Seven Oaks tells both of Zeringue's climb to the top and of his legacy's eventual ruin. Preservationists and community members abhorred the railroad's indifferent attitude, and the question of the plantation mansion's fate fueled years of fiery, political battles. These hard-fought confrontations ended in 1977, when the exasperated railroad executives sent bulldozers through the decaying house. By analyzing one failed effort, Lost Plantation provides insight into the complex workings of American historical preservation efforts as a whole while illustrating how Southerners deal with their multifaceted past. The rise and fall of Seven Oaks is much more than just a local tragedy - it is a glaring example of how any community can be robbed of its history. Now, as parishes around New Orleans recognize the great aesthetic and monetary value of restoring plantation homes and attracting tourism, Jefferson Parish mourns a manor lost.
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Lost History of a place older than the US
If you are history buff you should listen to this one of a place that was before New Orleans, was under five different countries, went thru and survived the civil war, Indian wars and world War one but it death was due to greed and people who did care till it was to late and now morn their lost of a piece of history. The 7 Oaks had many names both in English, French and Spanish and many different families all adding to it colorful life and events thus day things are being found some going as far back as the French and maybe earlier.
You see how mistakes were made that doomed it existence and at the same time hear of a prosperest plantation and of other self sustaining plantations was so much more than we hear.
And you hear the story of the children of the last owner who lost sons in the civil war and what happen to his daughters and finally the greed of big oil and railroad destroyed the once beautiful home and gardens.
Hope you check this book out.
- Ron Lepine
9 mile point; Westwego
This book really is an interesting insight into the history of the west bank of the New Orleans area. Much is written about the East bank due to the New Orleans itself being there, but very little exists on the more rural side south of the river. I was fascinated to learn about the history of the very area where I grew up.
In addition to the specific history of the plantation and the Zeringue family, the author also touches on other people and places here. For example, the Westwego canal extended all the way to the river at one time. I always wondered what the giant concrete lock structures history was at the end of Louisiana ave. Learning of the history of Mildred Harris, the namesake of the elementary school I went to was also fascinating.
The only complaint I have is with the narrator. The mispronunciations of many, many local words made it difficult to not roll my eyes every few minutes, namely Barataria and even Zeringue to name just a few. I assume Dr. Matranas did not have a choice in the narrator. It would have been better to make the effort to narrate it himself or find a local with a good reading voice.