On a lark the night before we realized we had nothing to do in St. Francisville and asked about the ‘Mystery, Mayhem’ tour. Ended up sounding too bizarre to pass up. So we booked our tickets to see a haunted plantation and visit Angola prison. Seriously.
The tour started at 8am so we hustled and grumbled in the morning and made it on the bus in time. Seeing the landscape of Louisiana was wonderful. Very lush, lots of spanish moss and ramshackle old mansions, cabins, barns and stables.
We arrived at Myrtle Plantation at 9am, just in time for the poor souls paying to stay there to get bombarded by peppy people ready for a tour. You can google the plantation to get the full story on the haunting but here is what I recall:
A slave girl was spending a great deal of time with the master of the plantation. They were getting so friendly that she wanted him all to herself. She began eavesdropping on his wife to hear if she said anything bad about her. After getting caught too many times they had her ear sliced off as a reminder to stop eaves dropping. From then on she wore a turban to hide the mutilation.
She still wanted to prove her love to her master so she devised a plan. She would bake a cake for the children and add just a bit of Oleander to it. The kids would get sick and she would heal them with her special medicine and the family would find her invaluable. Well she added too much Oleander and the children and the wife all died from poisoning. The slave was then hung and her body weighted down by bricks in her apron, sunk to the bottom of the Mississippi.
Now she haunts the house, her silhouette can be seen in the living room mirror and a picture of her floating near the house was passed around in excitement. The woman of the house was very superstitious and that is why there are crosses on all the windows around the doors and key holes are turned upside down to confuse naughty spirits.
Ghosts and ghoul aside the home is incredibly gorgeous. The owners brought a plaster worker back with them from France and he lived with them for years creating all the moldings and cornices.
Next stop was Angola prison, one of America’s maximum security prisons. But what makes this one so unique is that it is a working farm as well. The prison owns 18,000 acres and raises horses, blood hounds, wolf hybrids as well as acres of crops and cattle.
They also are famous for their rodeos which look highly amusing yet terrifying. The thought that every man you see in there has murdered someone kind of takes the joy out of any of it for me. Don’t get me started on the museum! It was like a haunted house with hand built coffins, images of bludgeoned inmates and weapons they have created over the years to escape or kill. No thank you.
Tonight was our last night on board. I was still pretty weary from the night before and rising at the crack for the tour. But we had a lovely dinner, watched the final show (Christmas themed!) and went to the Engine Room Bar for one last drink and goodbye to all the people we met.
I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely this boat was. I would go again for sure. But they must get their marketing team organized and advertise in places other than AARP. Also, a coat requirement for dinner would be nice since way too many leisure suits, puff paint tees and just plain tee-shirts were worn every night. I kept day dreaming of renting the entire boat for all my friends and family and having burlesque nightly in the main saloon and theme nights for the evenings- 20s night! Caftan Queen! Dress as your favorite Southern Idol!
Tomorrow we disembark, say goodbye to Rod and Dotty and settle into New Orleans for two days of discovery and liquor.