Monday, November 25, 2013

Bon Séjour/Oak Alley Plantation 1837-1839 part 3 The interior

The Parlor furnished with 1830's Louis Philippe furniture 

Bon Séjour/Oak Alley Plantation was built for Jacques Telesphore Roman and Celina Pilie, both from prosperous New Orleans Creole families. Jacques is said to have engaged Celia's farther, Gilbert Joseph Pilie, as architect of Oak Alley plantation and George Swainey, as master builder, to bring the house to completion. 

Upon stepping into the front Hall of Oak Ally its imposing dimensions amaze visitors. The central hall is 11 feet wide by 48 feet long. One of the largest halls in Louisiana plantations. The house inside and out is symmetrical with the interior containing two rooms on each side of the hall upstairs and down.  Oak Alley is beautifully furnished but the only piece of furniture original to the house is a child's cradle in the master bedroom. Today the house has been furnished using inventories of Oak Alley plantation and the Roman's French Quarter townhouse as a guide of what the interiors might have looked like in the Roman's day. It is elegantly furnished with Louisiana made antiques as well as French Charles X and Louis Philippe furniture. Oak Alley showcases what a interior of a prosperous plantation would have liked in 1820's-1840's Louisiana. The time period for furniture and decorative arts is 1838-1848. 

The dinning room 

1830's Old Paris vase 

Original cornflower spring decorated dinner plate and coin silver that belong to the Roman family 

The Hall 

A Louis Philippe chair 

The Mourning room or sick room

The children bedroom 

1820's French Charles X chair 

The child's cradle is the only piece that is original to the House  

The Plantation office 

The Plantation office 


  1. Three things leap to notice.
    1. The timber floor throughout the house is rich and very decorative in its own right.
    2. I might have expected wealthy 1840s homes to be OVER-cluttered but Oak Ally is presented as attractively and sensibly furnished.
    3. The seats on the front porch look out over the estate. What a great view.

  2. Thank you for the detailed photos. Would the chandeliers have been gas lit or candles in this era?

  3. Hi Hels, remember the original floors in the house would have been black and white marble. Sue. The chandeliers in the house now would have used candles, although they did also have gas at this time.

  4. Hello, and thank you for great photos!!!!!

    To answers some of your commenters questions, which Andrew1860 answered well:
    1) Original candle chandeliers, gas could have been installed in early 1900s but Mrs. Stewart put in electrict in 1925.
    2) Original floors were definitely expensive Italian marble. Cattle broke into the house in the late 1800s (house was abandoned) and totally destroyed the marble. Today's wooden floors are quite nice.
    3) The Roman family was wealthy, but hardly the wealthiest Creole family in the region. Today's home is decorated with period pieces, probably in the style the Roman's would have. We have no clear records of most of their exact furnishings, which were all taken by creditors after the Civil War.

    -- the Staff of Oak Alley Foundation, the management of Oak Alley Plantation.