The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 5, 2001


We have an amazing history, to be discovered around us Again, this week, I had the rare opportunity to marvel at the abilities of those who settled this River Parishes area, working on a feature about one place where it is so evident that many things were done so more easily, simply and more efficiently than now. It is a long-held legend of St. James Parish, for instance, that at La Petit Versailles, owned by Valcour Aime, the planter once won a bet by putting on a sumptious banquet, complete with wines and cigars, all raised at his plantation. The part of the story which isn’t told, though, is that it was the slaves of Valcour Aime which permitted him his lavish liftestyle. In antebellum days, the greatest concentration of wealth in America was to be found between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. These fortunes were built, though, on the backs and blood of their slaves. So, the next time one brags on the historical qualities and significance of the area, just remember who made it happen. We were all in this together. LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor of L’Observateur.