About an hour west of New Orleans, hugging the Mississippi River, is Oak Alley Plantation.
An early settler had the foresight to plant two rows of live oaks leading up to the river a few years before the city of New Orleans was founded in 1718.
With ultimate optimism and prescience, he planted them far enough apart to allow the branches to knit together and create the graceful, entwined canopy.
In 1836 the land was acquired by a young heir of a sugar-cane fortune, Jacques Telesphore Roman, and his bride Celina Pilie. Together with Celina's father and master builder George Swainy, the young couple designed their luxurious new home.
It is no surprise that the river boat captains began calling the plantation "Oak Alley" as they glided by the mansion.
It was inspiring to be in the ponderous, quiet presence of these magnificent trees that settled their roots three-hundred years ago.
Behind the house, my daughter and I found machinery that didn't come in time to spare the plantation slaves of their back-breaking labor.
We roamed more of the expansive 1,360-acre plantation...
... and came upon this wrought-iron bench, a perfect place to drink a mint julep under the shade of the oaks.
This Green Goddess amaryllis, so perfectly back-lit by the afternoon sun, bid us "adieu" on our way out.