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Oak Alley Plantation –
Haunted Place: Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation, Restaurant &
3645 Highway 18 (Great River Road)
Vacherie, Louisiana 70090
Phone: (225) 265-2151 or 1 (800) 44ALLEY
Oak Alley Plantation Web Site
Oak Alley Plantation has been called the
"Grand Dame of the great River Road." WOW! Oak Alley Plantation was
and is the finest Greek Revival, antebellum plantation home in
Louisiana. It's crowning feature is its "full peripheral
(free-standing) colonade of 28 colossal Doric columns."
The inside has a square floor plan, with a
central hall which runs from the front of the mansion to the rear
on both floors, which opens up to balconies to catch the breezes,
keeping the home cool. At each end of the halls on both floors
there are "broad fan lights and sidelights framed with slim, fluted
Bedrooms are on the second floor. The rooms
on the right side are decorated with antiques and display life in
the 1800s. The bedroom and area suite on the left side is known as
the lavender room, which is where Josephine Stewart spent her
remaining years. It is just as she left it.
The living room, dinning room, kitchen
area, parlor and sitting rooms can be found on the first floor. The
rooms in the rear of the mansion were renovated in the 1920s for
modern uses. Private ''openings of the 'Big House' may be arranged
for weddings and evening functions."
The first stunning sight one sees is the
magnificent canopy of 28, 300 year old Oak Trees which line both
sides of the 1/4 mile walkway, known as oak alley, leads to the
front door of this glorious plantation mansion. Younger oak trees,
planted in the 1800s line both sides of the main walkway as well
behind the house which leads to the old farm buildings located at
the back of the property. Today, there are up-scale gift shop,
icecream parlor and a cafe which serves breakfast and lunch to
guests and visitors. The lawn area and gardens take up quite a
chunk of real estate, and are really beautiful to see.
600 acres of the original estate are leased
for sugar cane, and 450 acres still are virgin woodlands. 75 acres
of residential area surrounds The Oak Alley Foundation property.
The foundation owns and operates the Oak Valley Plantation and the
surrounding 25 acres.
The road which runs down the left side of
the plantation are the guest cottages which are really nice. Tom
and I stayed in one. It has a sitting room, a bedroom, a little
kitchen, a lovely bathroom and of course heavenly air conditioning.
A full breakfast is served in the cafe for overnight guests.
Oak Alley Plantation has been used in
movies, including Interview with the Vampire, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Dixie: Changing Habits, The Long Hot Summer, North and South, and Primary Colors.
The oak trees in the front were planted in
the late 1690s/early 1700s by a French settler who lived on
this property. The plantation was built a little over hundred years
later in 1837-39 by George Swainey for wealthy Creole sugar cane
farmer, Jacques Telesphore Roman III and his wife Josephine Pile.
Josephine's father was a New Orleans architect, who provided the
plans for the plantation house and the estate. Jacques called his
new plantation home "Bon Sejour," (Pleasant Sojourn), but the oaks
in the front would give the plantation the name, "Oak Alley." This
is the name which stuck.
When Jacques died of TB in 1848, his son
Henri took over the operations of the plantation. The Civil War
wasn't kind to the Roman family, which was true for many families
in the South. Oak Alley Plantation was sold at auction in 1866 to
John Armstrong. Several other owners came after him, but thy didn't
keep the place up, probably because of the cost of doing so. By the
1920s, Oak Alley Plantation was looking really long in the tooth,
in a state of deterioration. In 1925, Andrew and Josephine Stewart
fell in love with the place and rescued Oak Valley Plantation from
its sorry state. First thing they did to start on the path of
renovating and restoring this great fixer upper opportunity, was to
hire architect Richard Koch to start an extensive restoration which
would take years to complete. The Stewarts were dedicated to
restoring this grand old plantation, and spent the rest of their
lives doing so. Oak Alley Plantation became the first antebellum
renovation/restoration project done in the south, 50 years before
it became popular to do so.
Shortly before Josephine died in 1972, she
created The Oak Alley Foundation, a non-profit organization to
continue to keep Oak Alley Plantation in good hands so the mansion
and its 25 acres it sits on would be around as one unit to be
enjoyed by the public.
In 1998, Oak Alley Plantation opened to the
public for tours, as a bed and breakfast and as a place for special
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Josephine Pile Roman loved the social life
of New Orleans and missed it when she moved to Oak Alley
Plantation. As the years went by, she visited more and more in New
Orleans with their children in tow, leaving Jacques by himself more
and more often. Jacques died of TB in 1848 alone without his
Louise Roman, daughter of Jacques and
Josephine, was raised in the French Creole upper-class culture. She
became highly insulted and really angry when a suitor who had too
much to drink and dared to try to kiss her in his condition. She
lost her temper and ran away from him. In this angry state, she
tripped and fell, cutting her leg badly by her iron frame in her
hoop skirt. She developed gangrene from the gash, and lost her leg.
Louise felt she was now damaged goods, not fit to marry in her
class. She was mentally scarred and left the plantation and joined
a convent in St. Louis MO, devoting her life to serving the Lord.
She later moved back to her home at Oak Alley in her later
Andrew and Josephine Stewart truly loved
Oak Alley Plantation and spent a lot of money to restore their
beloved home. Josephine wanted to be sure that Oak Alley Plantation
would be well cared for, so she left her money and deeded 25 acres
of the property to the foundation.
A candlestick once flew across the room
right in the middle of a group of visitors on a tour led by a
Staff have heard the sound of crying coming
from somewhere within the 'Big House.'
A maintenance man was working alone in the
mansion on a project. He felt a presence keeping him company, that
touched him as if to encourage his efforts.
The entity of a slender, young woman with
long dark hair - (Thought to be either Josephine Pile Roman or
their daughter Louise.)
This entity has been seen throughout the
mansion. She has been seen walking up on the widow's walkway, and
hanging out in various rooms. In the master bedroom, a tourist
inadvertently caught her image on a picture, much to his surprise!
She also rides her horse around the estate grounds.
The entity of a man wearing grey clothing and riding boots was seen near the back of the mansion, near the
old kitchen by a tour guide.
His face was seen in a mirror in the
The benign entity of
Josephine Stewart - (Seems she can't quite leave her
After a private event, the personnel closed
the 'Big House' for the evening. Imagine their surprise when they
noticed the lamp in the lavender room was on, illuminating the
room. They then saw a shadowy figure of a woman glide across the
room and stopped to look at them from her room lookout.
The apparition of Josephine Stewart has
been seen sitting on a bed in her favorite lavender room.
Louisiana Spirits Investigations - Made two
visits to Oak Alley with some interesting results. The paranormal
activity happened in the attic on both trips.
1st Visit: Shadows were seen on the wall,
mists were captured on film, short glimpses of Jacques Telesphore
Ramon's face were seen in the mirror. Some entity grabbed the arm
of one investigator hard, shooting an electrical charge through his
arm, causing him to drop his camera.
EVPs were recorded.
second visit - Again the activity centered in
the attic. Bill Murphy, a California film maker came along to
record. They recorded some great EVPs. Also in cottage 4, where
some of the crew slept, they got an early morning wake up call by a
loud bang in the bathroom.
A big yes is in order. People who truly
loved Oak Alley Plantation are still enjoying the ambiance of the
place, willing to share their home with the living.
I think that the long haired female entity
is Louise, who must have felt cheated out of living the full life
offered to her station and status because of her lost leg. I don't
think it is Josephine Pile, who never liked living at Oak Alley,
preferrring the city life.
Jacques Telesphore Roman III loved Oak
Alley Plantation and is still hanging around, hoping that his wife
Josephine will at last return, while checking up on the living. I
think it was the entity of Jacques who let the Louisiana Spirits
investigation photographer know his personal disllike for him by
squeezing his arm (Incident is described above.) Jacques probably
would've preferred to throw him out the front door if he could!
Josephine Stewart dedicated her passion and
funds for the preservation of her beloved home, and can't quite let
go, perhaps making sure her wishes are followed.
Other unknown entities may also be hanging
around. The EVPs suggest that other trauma happened at the Oak
Alley Plantation, leaving unhappy entities with their issues.
Oak Alley page at Prairie Ghosts * Oak Alley Plantation Web Site * "Ghost Tales" page on Oak Alley Plantation Web Site * Oak Alley page at National Register of Historic Places * Grave Addiction Web Site * Oak Alley Plantation Report at Louisiana Spirits Web Site
HAUNTED PLACES: The National Directory
by William Dennis Hauk
The Penguin Group