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and life along the winding road

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Louisiana Plantations - San Francisco

The San Francisco Plantation has no affiliation with the California city of San Francisco, rather it was derived from a nickname that Valsin Marmillion gave the family home - Sans Fruscins (without a penny in my pocket). The name later changed to St. Frusquin and in 1879 the new owner, Achille D. Bougere, changed it to San Francisco.
The property once had a magnificent formal garden at the house entrance. The front is now part of the River Road stretching from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, and together with a taller levee, has left the San Francisco Plantation with a minimal front garden. The fountain, once a central part of the formal gardens, was moved to the side of the property. The house itself was scheduled to be destroyed to form the levee but after local residents complained, the levee and road were curved around.
Like many of the plantation families, children and residents of San Francisco died of disease and tuberculosis took Valsin's mother and eight of his siblings.
Throughout the house there is faux wood grain. The most popular wood for construction at the time was cypress and as poor and rich families alike used the wood, the affluent families chose to refinish the cypress to look like rosewood or other more expensive types. Even the "marble" fireplaces are made from wood and painted to resemble marble.
No longer present, a self sufficient kitchen once stood behind the house. Kitchens were separate buildings in the south to prevent cooking from further heating the main house and also to contain any kitchen fires that might occur. There are also no hallways which allows cool air from the river to blow through the house during the hot summers.  The second floor is the main living area which would be spared in the event of a flood. There were minimal closets in the house as both hallways and closets were once taxed.
Families made use of what they found on their land and Spanish Moss was used (after boiling and drying) to stuff bed mattresses. Each morning the moss/mattress was evened out using a large wooden rolling pin.
In the attic louvered windows could be opened to allow a breeze from the Mississippi into the house.

You can read more about the house history here.


LindyLou Mac said...

I would love to visit. :)

Joanne said...

lovely pics and interesting history. I am enjoying your plantation tour