Breakfast offered a true taste of Southern hospitality—eggs and ham on a biscuit, cheese grits, apple crisp, coffee and juice. After breakfast I hopped into the car and drove south along the Cane River Road to visit the famous Natchitoches Parish Plantations. The Cane River community of the early 1800’s stretched for 19 miles along the river in central Louisiana; here Creole French farmers, free people of color, and slaves coexisted, mostly peaceably, in antebellum America. The excellent historical novel “Cane River” by Lalita Tademy explores the complex lives of the peoples of Cane River.
By the late 1800’s the property had been sold to Cammie Henry and she transformed the plantation into a haven for artists and writers. One of the more interesting artist stories involves Clementine Hunter, a black women who worked as a field hand and a cook for the family. She discovered palettes of discarded paints and began painting on her own. In bright primitive style, Miss Clementine’s paintings are a record of real people and their lives along the banks of the Cane River. She painted all four walls of one of the out-buildings on the plantation. The building is preserved as a national landmark and Clementine Hunter’s paintings are now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
|Clementine Hunter's Inspirational Paintings.|
The plantations of Natchez, Mississippi are also worth a visit. See my blog report: http://onedayinamerica.blogspot.com/2012/04/visiting-rosalie-and-burn-plantations.html