If you’re visiting New Orleans and have access to a car, don’t miss the Whitney Plantation on River Road. It’s a powerful, beautiful place – the only plantation museum in the U.S. that focuses on slavery.
The owner, a retired lawyer who has been working on this project for more than a decade, is friendly, sincere, and obviously deeply moved by the history of the place. When I was there he happened to be with a journalist at the memorial for children who died on the plantation, and as he talked about the names and the statue that commemorates them I thought he might cry. (We were all in various stages of teariness, it was so moving.) And he’s down to earth – he helped my friend Catherine in the parking lot when her car door jammed.
The visit was devastating and inspiring at the same time. I’m grateful for people like this man who has spent years of his life and much of his personal savings to restore the plantation so that future generations can understand this terrible era in American history.
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