Jacques Telesphore and Celina plunged with enthusiasm into the project of building their plantation home. There would be no corners cut ... only the best would do. Their home took over two years to complete.
The most notable part of the house, aside from the majestic oaks towering outside, were the 28 classic columns surrounding the house. The columns measure 8 feet in circumference and are solid brick. All the materials used in the construction of the home were found or manufactured on the plantation with the exception of the marble for the floors and fireplaces and the slate for the roof, both of which were imported.
The house was designed for maximum protection from the fierce summers of this area. The veranda extends approximately 13 feet from the walls, keeping the home in shade most of the day. The tall windows and doors face each other for cross ventilation and the ceilings are 12 feet high. Most important are the 16 inch thick brick walls throughout the house.
Improvements and additions continued through the end of the decade and the kitchen facilities were finally completed in 1841. Furnishings and interior fittings had been arriving continuously by steamboat, and special care was given to the gardens. The final result was a plantation home to be envied by the most discerning of the well-to-do sugar planters of the day. Legend has it that Celina Roman proudly christened her new home "Bon Sejour" (pleasant sojourn), but travelers on the Mississippi, impressed by the avenue of mighty oaks, called it "Oak Alley", and so it remained!
We were not allowed to photograph anything in the home, so the following pictures are images that I've found on the Internet.
As we begun our tour we were ushered into the living room. I had a hard time understanding Whitlee and her Cajun accent, but I did learn about the gold convex mirror on the far wall and the courting candle.
Also in the master bedroom was the only piece of furniture that had belonged to Jacques and Celina. It was a gorgeous bassinet and my favorite piece in the whole house.
The house tour was over before we knew it and then we were free to walk the grounds. We bought mint juleps and lemon juleps and lemonade and strolled a bit through the grounds before leaving for home.