The past will come to life at Oakland on Saturday, Oct. 21. Plantations resembled small towns and were mainly self-sufficient, in that most of the food, clothing, and goods needed were produced and manufactured on the plantation.
“Cane River Creole National Historical Park is pleased to host this living history day,” said Interpretation and Education Manager Barbara Justice. “This is an opportunity to glimpse into the daily lives of the people who lived and worked on Oakland Plantation.”
Step into the past with skilled park rangers and park partners as you learn how to spin cotton into cloth and how to make bousillage, a traditional Creole building material. Watch a blacksmith and experience the clang of the hammer on hot iron and view a carpenter hand hew timber (remove rounded edges) using traditional tools. See a special museum exhibit of the tools of the enslaved carpenters, masons, and blacksmiths who built the plantation structures.
In addition, the National Park Service welcomes former plantation residents and their descendants back home. Generations of the same families of workers, enslaved and tenant, and owners lived at Oakland Plantation for over 200 years. During self-guided tours from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm visitors will have the unique opportunity to visit and talk with former plantation residents. There will be crafts and games for children throughout the event.
10:00 am – Creole Architecture: The Making of Bousillage
10:30 am – The Art of the Forge: A Blacksmith’s Workshop
10:30 am – Threads of Time: From Raw Cotton to Woven Cloth
11:00 am – Hand Hewn: The Traditions & Tools of Timber Framing
11:30 am – Creole Architecture: The Making of Bousillage
12:30 pm – The Art of the Forge: A Blacksmith’s Workshop
1:00 pm – Hand Hewn: The Traditions & Tools of Timber Framing
1:30 pm – Threads of Time: From Raw Cotton to Woven Cloth
There is no entrance fee at Oakland Plantation. All tours and activities are free. Oakland Plantation is located at 4386 Highway 494, Natchez La 71456. To reach Oakland Plantation, take I-49 to Exit 127, Flora/Cypress. Head east on LA Highway 120 toward Cypress. Cross over LA Highway 1 onto LA Highway 494. The parking lot and entrance pavilion for Oakland is 4.5 miles east of Highway 1 on the left.
The grounds and outbuildings of Oakland Plantation are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Park staff conducts guided tours of the plantation grounds daily Wednesday through Sunday. In addition, the free NPS App features downloadable information for all the national park sites in the country, including Cane River Creole. The Oakland Main House is open for self-guided tours from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Magnolia Plantation is closed to the public as the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development begins to repair LA Hwy 119. The Magnolia Main House is privately owned and is not open to the public. For more information, please visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/cari, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/canerivercreoleNPS or call the park at 318-352-0383, ext. 316.