As I was touring the River Road Plantations of Louisiana, I came upon this unexpected treasure that was not listed anywhere. It was the best surprise of my day.
Palo Alto has six thousands acres of sugar cane still being grown annually. It is a beautiful site. The old slave quarters are dilapidated but still there as a shell. I found this place by accident as I was lost after my visit to Vacherie, which you will read about in my next post, and this discovery was not on the map. I was so taken with the place I wandered around photographing until dark. I felt like I had found a beautiful, but forgotten world surrounded by live oaks and magnolias.
Vachaalo Alto Plantation, whose name means “tall trees,” was once a wedding gift from the wealthy Spanish plantation owner, Oscar Ayraud to his daughter Rosalie. The property was later purchased by Jacob Lemann. Since his purchase in 1865, the plantation has been home to every crop native to Louisiana’s rich soil. The plantation has grown considerably in its 150-year existence to encompass more than 6000 acres of sugarcane, pasture land, wooded land, and ponds.
Since its existence, the lands have been hunted and managed privately by its owners. Today, the lands have been opened to the public for guided hunting on its tradition rich land. The “Log Cabin” lodge was built by Jacob’s great grandson, Arthur Lemann Jr., and was constructed with materials from one of pirate Jean Lafitte’’ hideouts. The lodge is nestled in a pristine oak and cypress grove overlooking picturesque Bayou Tomare. Relics surround the rustic, yet comfortable, log cabin and antiques of the plantation’s past steeped in the bayou culture. The house is not on a plantation tour,unfortunately.