Friday, October 19, 2012

Shadows-on-the-Teche Antebellum Home, New Iberia, Louisiana

We wanted to visit an antebellum (pre-civil war) home while in the area, and this one was recommended by Miss Allison at the Visitor’s Center in the VermillionParish. 

First, a lesson in manners: it’s very common in the south to use the salutation Miss or Mr., such as Miss Suzanne or Mr. Brad as a term of respect when speaking to anyone – regardless of age. Thus, the “Miss” Alison. (No, we aren’t actually calling people “Miss” or Mr.” since we’re not southern, but it’s fun to hear in everyday conversation.) 

Second, a lesson in English and history: Antebellum comes from the Latin “ante” meaning “before” or “in front”  and “bellum” meaning “war.” This those homes that survived the civil war are called antebellum homes. Why so few antebellum homes are around is because as the union (north) troops took over home sin the south, when they left, they would burn the homes. Shadows-on-the-Teche did house some union soldiers, but they decided to leave and not burn down the main house (other houses on the property were burned) out of respect for the confederate women living in the house that stayed throughout the war. The union soldier did occupy the bottom (of three) floors for a while, and allowed the women to live in the upper two floors.

Oh, and one more lesson – down here in Louisiana, counties are called parishes, thus the Vermilion Parish Visitors Center, rather than county – it’s just their thing and has no relation to the church.

So onto our tour of Shadows-on-the-Teche ~ for $10 per person, one can take a guided tour of the home. (Note – when you visit Miss Alison at the VermilionParish Visitors Center, ask for the bright yellow Hot Discounts flyer – we saves $1 a piece on tour.) First, there was a 10-12 minute movie about the house and family that lived there for four generations – the Weeks. Then into the home where we toured the first two floors and saw many original holdings of the first Weeks family who lived there. One very interesting thing is that homes built in this time did not have indoor stairs to go form one floor to another ~ they were outside. 

We then were welcome to tour the gardens at our leisure, and wow, they were lovely, with huge plants!
 The back of the house borders the Teche Bayou (bayou means river).  It really was quite interesting, and we’re glad we went.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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