Civil War Talk Throwback Thursday, 2-13-2020

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James N.

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Just in time for Valentine's Day, this week Throwback Thursday revisits a horrible and primitive early reenactment at an otherwise beautiful and romantic antebellum Louisiana plantation outside New Orleans known as Destrehan. Above, Yours Truly alongside one of the lovely volunteers I met there, Miss Jeannine Marie Louise Fontenot, at the inevitable Military Ball inside the Big House on Saturday night. Held January 21-22, 1977 this was in too many ways "typical" of early events like this: as usual in the Deep South there was a dearth of Federals so those of us who could "galvanized" for the occasion: I'm wearing the converted black masonic frock coat with appliqued artillery red piping and repro Federal brass buttons and white band gloves I featured in another thread last month; Jeannine is wearing a cast-off and recycled prom dress!

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According to the text on the back of this period post card, d'ESTREHAN PLANTATION MANOR, DESTREHAN, LOUISIANA [was] Built in 1787 for Robin deLogny. The two wings were added in the early 1800's to accommodate the 14 children of deLogny's daughter Celeste and her husband Jean Noel d'Estrehan. The venerable old house had sat abandoned for over a dozen years when it was finally acquired by the River Road Historical Society in 1972 and who were attempting to restore it when they made what turned out to be the questionable decision to hold a reenactment as a money-raiser.

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Unfortunately the event turned into a major fiasco for them for several reasons, including the decision to hold it in mid-winter, usually a wet time here in the South, and this was little different. There was no rain as I remember but a chilly fog that blanketed everything and discouraged spectator attendance. However, the biggest problem turned out to be the lack of planning: a Saturday skirmish covered an acre or more of woodlands in which the spectators were actually allowed to roam freely in and around the battle as it progressed free-form and spontaneous with little or no scripted plan! It should come as no surprise that some fool reenactor managed to get hurt while playing Cowboys-and-Indians, reacting as most do by flailing around looking for someone else other than himself to blame; naturally he wound up suing the River Road Historical Society since they had sponsored the event, thereby eliminating any profit they may have made.

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Happily, they seem to have somehow weathered the event. It has now been many years since I visited; sometime in the mid-1980's my mother and I stopped on our way back from a New Orleans cruise on the Delta Queen. As I remember the empty and run-down manor house of the 1970's had largely been restored and decorated with period antiques, likely looking every bit as grand as it had over a century earlier.

Anyone else having (preferably) old photos, mementoes, or memorabilia from reenactments or other events or vacation or other travel is welcome and encouraged to share them with us in this weekly thread!
 
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archieclement

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Location
mo
View attachment 346490

Just in time for Valentine's Day, this week Throwback Thursday revisits a horrible and primitive early reenactment at an otherwise beautiful and romantic antebellum Louisiana plantation outside New Orleans known as Destrehan. Above, Yours Truly alongside one of the lovely volunteers I met there, Miss Jeannine Marie Louise Fontenot, at the inevitable Military Ball inside the Big House on Saturday night. Held January 21-22, 1977 this was in too many ways "typical" of early events like this: as usual in the Deep South there was a dearth of Federals so those of us who could "galvanized" for the occasion: I'm wearing the converted black masonic frock coat with appliqued artillery red piping and repro Federal brass buttons and white band gloves I featured in another thread last month; Jeannine is wearing a cast-off and recycled prom dress!

View attachment 346491

According to the text on the back of this period post card, d'ESTREHAN PLANTATION MANOR, DESTREHAN, LOUISIANA [was] Built in 1787 for Robin deLogny. The two wings were added in the early 1800's to accommodate the 14 children of deLogny's daughter Celeste and her husband Jean Noel d'Estrehan. The venerable old house had sat abandoned for over a dozen years when it was finally acquired by the River Road Historical Society in 1972 and who were attempting to restore it when they made what turned out to be the questionable decision to hold a reenactment as a money-raiser.

View attachment 346489

Unfortunately the event turned into a major fiasco for them for several reasons, including the decision to hold it in mid-winter, usually a wet time here in the South, and this was little different. There was no rain as I remember but a chilly fog that blanketed everything and discouraged spectator attendance. However, the biggest problem turned out to be the lack of planning: a Saturday skirmish covered an acre or more of woodlands in which the spectators were actually allowed to roam freely in and around the battle as it progressed free-form and spontaneous with little or no scripted plan! It should come as no surprise that some fool reenactor managed to get hurt while playing Cowboys-and-Indians, reacting as most do by flailing around looking for someone else other than himself to blame; naturally he wound up suing the River Road Historical Society since they had sponsored the event, thereby eliminating any profit they may have made.

View attachment 346488

Happily, they seem to have somehow weathered the event. It has now been many years since I visited; sometime in the mid-1980's my mother and I stopped on our way back from a New Orleans cruise on the Delta Queen. As I remember the empty and run-down manor house of the 1970's had largely been restored and decorated with period antiques, likely looking every bit as grand as it had over a century earlier.

Anyone else having (preferably) old photos, mementoes, or memorabilia from reenactments or other events or vacation or other travel is welcome and encouraged to share them with us in this weekly thread!
Looks like a beautiful plantation, glad
it looks like it's successfully restored and saved.
 
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John Winn

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You handsome devil (shame your hair caught on fire, though) :smile:

That was six months after I graduated college. Seems almost like it could have really been the nineteenth century.

Way cool you have all these old photos and things. My life isn't very well documented so I can't play. I always have a look at your posts, though.
 
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thomas aagaard

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Not from a ball, but from a LARP (live roleplay) held back in 2015.

It was set in a fictional 1864 with some steampunk elements.
The event was a convention for inventors in Saint Petersburg.
So the inventors, politicians and some military officers had gathered.

I played US "general McKee" and I was there looking for new military technology.
With me is "professor Brackston" who was one of the inventors at the convention.

Used my ordinary "privates" frockcoat, with some general rank insignia, a sash and a hardee hat.
It worked ok... for anyone who don't know anything about US uniforms.

11026100_10206805452439732_4181809423784784302_o.jpg
 
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James N.

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Looks like a beautiful plantation, glad
it looks like it's successfully restored and saved.
It does look like it was a beautiful house. Thanks for posting.
A beautiful house - and two beautiful people!!
Love this photo of you and Miss Fontenot!
You are being much too hard on yourself.
Both of ya'll look great !

And this was at Destrehan ?
My old reenacting friend Doug @1863surgeon Garnett who was also there with me looked up their website last night, something I thought about but didn't bother with, and it seems Destrehan looks even better than ever and has a much more interesting and involved history than I ever knew:
 

archieclement

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mo
My old reenacting friend Doug @1863surgeon Garnett who was also there with me looked up their website last night, something I thought about but didn't bother with, and it seems Destrehan looks even better than ever and has a much more interesting and involved history than I ever knew:
I confess I did as well, to see if the efforts paid off and were sucessful
 

James N.

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James N. you always managed to encounter the prettiest looking ladies back then....
Yep . . . that little girl is a pretty one !
Jeannine Marie Louise Fontenot . . . that's a classic Louisiana French Creole Princess name.

:smoke:
And so she was - for some reason I didn't have a camera with me and this is the only photo I have of the entire event, other than some newspaper clippings; it was taken by someone she knew and I was able to get it from her afterwards.
 
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And so she was - for some reason I didn't have a camera with me and this is the only photo I have of the entire event, other than some newspaper clippings; it was taken by someone she knew and I was able to get it from her afterwards.
I can relate to that !

And the few photos that I did have of similar events are also sadly gone forever.

But while many of my old photos are lost, I thank the lord we didn't have the technology of today !
( or I might be still in a jail . . . somewhere)

:laugh:
 
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