St. Joseph Plantation offers attendees a live look at history

Through the month of October until Nov. 3, St. Joseph Plantation is hosting its annual “Creole Mourning Tour.” 

The house, located at 3535 La. Highway 18 in Vacherie, will be “dressed in full deep mourning”, as custom with the old prescribed protocol of mourning. 

This year, live actors from the Crazy Bout History group will portray the plantation’s long-ago residents and the customs of mourning they followed every Saturday and Sunday. 

Dr. Cazimir Bernard Mericq and Josephine Aime Ferry, who lived at St. Joseph on separate occasions, will be portrayed during the live reenactments.

“It’s really, really just an unbelievable story because you are actually telling something about a person that really lived in the house as well as the customs during that time of the deep mourning,” St. Joseph General Manager Maureen Gilly said. “There were so many Catholic Creoles in the area who adhered to these strict guidelines.”

“In death as in life, these Catholic families of old Louisiana practiced customs and rituals that were followed for generations by their ancestors. Of course, with the much shorter life expectancy of those days, family members were in mourning a considerable amount of their life,” reads the history behind the tour on St. Joseph’s website. “A widow would be in deep mourning for a whole year. Black garments were required at all times. Black dress of a reflective nature could be worn but only after the first six months. Children and servants were also required to dress the part.” 

“My great, great, great grandfather bought the house in 1877…,” Gilly said. “Half of the house is a mourning tour, and then we have a tour guide take them to the other part of the house and go through the normal history of our family.”

To learn more information on the tour, view the schedule and purchase tickets, click here.

“It’s very exciting to be able to tell part of your history through these live reenactments. And I think that’s why people are so interested in it,” Gilly said. “That’s what we’re trying to share — a piece of history.”