Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Cottage

Happy Halloween, y'all! Are you ready to be spooked?

An old sugar plantation, The Cottage, now lies in ruins along the River Road, just six miles south of Baton Rouge. The plantation burned to the ground when it was struck by lightning in 1960. Frances Parkinson Keyes, the author, lived there for a time.

As with most Louisiana plantations, this one is allegedly haunted. According to legend, one of the spirits is Angus Holt, who had taken care of the family that lived there during the 1800s. After the Civil War he returned to find the family scattered or dead and took it upon himself to care for the property until his death in 1880. His apparition has been seen walking the halls since that time.

At some point, the steamboat Princess exploded on the Mississippi River as it headed towards New Orleans in the 1800s. Seventy people were killed instantly and more than 100 swam to shore, ending up on the lawn of The Cottage. White sheets covered in flour were brought out to help care for the burn victims, yet they all perished. To this day it is said that white powder can still be seen rising into the air on any given evening, as well as bloody sheets.
I could not get too close because large, bold signs warned of jail and prosecution.
At my age, this is just not an option, so I respected the signs. :)

Thank goodness for the zoom lens. Focused on the foreground to get a little blur in the background.
This vintage "hand tinted" processing is from a free tutorial given by Georgianna LaneOf course her stuff puts my effort to shame. 
It's one of the easiest tutorials using masks that I've seen yet. You really should check it out.
Original of above shot

Focusing on the tree limbs in the foreground again. I think I detect a slight haze. Hmmmm....
Wishing everyone a safe, candy-filled evening! I will be spending it with my cousin, his kidlets, and a big bowl of gumbo. Boo!

Edit: Below are postcards of what the plantation looked like, which might help answer questions about the columns.


Photo credit
Photo credit

48 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

Extraordinary shots and I loved reading a bit of the history.

Happy Halloween, enjoy your gumbo!

Kathy said...

I'm wondering why all these columns are placed so closely together. Maybe it's just too early in the a.m. for me to be thinking rationally. Are there any old photos of this place around anywhere?

Buttons said...

Wow these are awesome shots you history saddened me and scared me at the same time. I would love to come to your part of the country and explore with you someday.
Happy Halloween. B

Shug said...

Great shots for this Halloween day. I have actually toured many of the haunted plantations in Louisiana and the stories of each one really gets my attention. I have not heard of this one, but I can only imagine the beauty that this old home place once held. Did you explore this place by yourself??? I would have been scared.
Honestly Gail...these pictures are awesome! Happy Halloween Candy day to you and yours..
Hugs.
shug

beth said...

beautiful photos and a scary story.....BOO !

Linda said...

These are hauntingly beautiful, Gail. I wondered, too, like Kathy, if there were any old photos of the place in its glory days. Hmmm. Maybe I'll do an internet search. What an awful loss of life when that steamboat exploded. But it makes a good Halloween story now, all these years later.

bailey-road.com said...

Great shots and a scary story!
Happy Halloween!

Starla said...

There are days when I seriously don't know what I enjoy more: Your incredible photos or the stories that go with them!

rainfield61 said...

If you continue to shoot, you may "accidentally" shoot one of the spirits.

Mitzi@Lifes Cup said...

Beautiful images as always sweet Gail! I especially love the vintage shot! There's just something about just a hint of color that makes photos so incredible. Love & hugs to you my friend and oh HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Mitzi

hootnonny said...

Perfect Halloween images. I like the vintage one, and I downloaded Georgianna's tutorial.

If you ever are arrested, hope your one call will be to me!

TexWisGirl said...

really cool looking columns. sad about the loss of life from that steamer!

enjoy that gumbo!

Madge Bloom said...

Love those shots... at first I thought those were odd headstones and then realized they were columns at one time or another... Happy Halloween!

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Thanks for your recent comment Gail, I must say it is a relief to be back on-line. Thank goodness for your zoom lens, a great series of photos.

Nancy Claeys said...

Love the peeling, flaking going on with these pillars.

Have a great time this evening, Gail. xo

Kerry said...

What a history this place has, and how creepy about the floury sheets. Yikes!

I really like the spooky effect of your hand-tinted pic. Perfect.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Love these shots and the spooky history!

Hilary said...

Perfect spooky story and images for Hallowe'en.

Ana Eugénio said...

great shots, I'm glad you didn't test your luck going inside. enjoy your evening sweetie, sounds like fun :) what is gumbo? xxo

Butterbean Row said...

Gail,

Very interesting post. But I have a question; why did they put flour on the sheets? Did that help the burn victims somehow?

charlotte

Lisa Gordon said...

Hmmm, this is spooky Gail.
I am wondering about the placement of the columns. Really interesting, and great shots!
Happy Halloween to you!

Patrice said...

Love those old columns, Gail - you portrayed them beautifully! Happy Halloween!

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

You find the most fasinating places to visit!! Lovely!! So I take it Gail you won't be parked there tonight for Halloween -with the full moon still shining bright!!
Happy All Saints Day :-}}

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wow what a totally cool Halloween post. Sounds like you have a fun evening planned. That photo treatment is perfect for this haunted mansion. (And what sad history it is!)

Barbara said...

What a cool place, and yes, I do detect a little mist rising! On my bucket list is a tour of the old plantations...

Mary said...

Wow what a find. That arrangement of columns does not seem as large as it looks in its glory. So sad it met it's ruin. Great pictures.

Arti said...

Wonderful shots and loved reading a bit about the place as well. Nice post, Happy Halloween Gail :)

Evelyn S. said...

One of my sisters is accompanying her husband on an 18-day charter bus trip (he's the driver) that just left New Orleans and is now in Vicksburg. Yesterday, they did a plantation tour, but she had fallen in the bus and just wasn't up to any walking. She DID get a photo of herself holding an alligator, though! I'd love to visit the SE some day....I did do a brief visit of NO in the 60's!

Renae said...

Gail! Wow that was an eerie post. My SIL would love it tho. He thinks all things spooky are thrilling. I just turn and run...hahahahaha. I am amazed that those columns were bricks inside. I thought they would be solid granite or something. Learn something new everyday. Happy Halloween!!!!

ladyfi said...

What amazing shots of the pillars!

Linda R said...

I love hearing your story. Petty scary!! Your photos look great. I really do love the editing you did. It looks fabulous. Boy some gumbo does sound tasty..

Hugs~

Are We There Yet! said...

I wonder what those old colums are. They look like they could of been a chimney of some sort. I wonder if that was what they burned the sugar cane in. They look kind of spooky just standing there like sentinels.

Great post. I love learning about new places.

Lisa Gordon said...

I wondered about that!
It sure was a beautiful building.

Michelle said...

Glad you respected the signs so you're not serving time. ;)

Fun post...hope you had a nice Halloween. I've missed you!!! Been busy working away with hubby...may have to close my blog unless I can figure out how to do both. Hardly home these days.

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Wow ~ Such history ~ great post and fantastic photography ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

Stewart M said...

Interesting set of pictures - we had a few "old houses" like that in the woods around us - great places for boys to get into mischief!

I'm not working too hard yet - but thats only a short reprieve!

Stewart M - Australia

Phil said...

I really enjoy your stories Gail, not least this one, even though I don't believe in ghosts. Your photos sure brought the story to life too.

missing moments said...

A fascinating piece of history and your photos are lovely. Have a great weekend!

Jori said...

Spine tingling story and absolutely amazing pictures. I would dearly love to visit Louisiana. I think we are about 500 miles away. That's not too shabby. :)

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

There's a house that burned down along my drive to Mobile and has since begun to grow up. A little black lady lived there. I don't know what happened to her, but you inspire me to stop and take a pic when the light is right. Love that your a law abider rather than a law breaker. These are wonderful. I love old homes and ghost stores and it is perfection for Halloween. Hope you had a spooky good time.

Mihaela Laitinen said...

We don't celebrate Halloween in my family, and it seems it's not yet a tradition everywhere in Finland (I am not Finnish, but moved here 1 year ago), though the other day some kids rang the doorbell.. it took me a while to realize they were probably trick or treating, but when I realized, they were gone.. oops..

Renae said...

Gail! hi, thanks for wishing Mary a happy birthday via my sly suggestion. She didn't know I did that. I never forget her birthday; one and only sister born on the first of Nov, day after Halloween.

Have a fab weekend, k?

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Nice shots and thanks for the information- very interesting!

Mary said...

That was so nice of you to come to my on line birthday party..hahhaha..nice to have friend fron Louisiana. M

Dave said...

An interesting piece of history Gail. Thanks - Dave

Amy Burzese said...

Wonderful post. I would love to visit there. Isn't the old architecture marvelous.

Tricia Hays said...

Look at all the columns... what a shame it couldn't have been rebuilt... I love a good ghost story, but I don't think you'll catch me anywhere around there after dark! LoL! =)

Rosemary Aubut said...

Beautiful captures Gail! love how you are experimenting!