South Louisiana spring parade starts with Audubon Pilgrimage
While much of the rest of the country is still hunkered down for winter, Louisiana begins to 'think spring' with festivals like the Audubon Pilgrimage in St.Francisville.
Getting in the mood for spring comes easy here, as the abundant sunshine brings early flowering landscapes and celebrations of the season. In south-central Louisiana, numerous outdoor and cultural events highlight the arrival of spring, and one of the most popular is the Audubon Pilgrimage in St. Francisville.
The annual Audubon Pilgrimage celebrates a southern spring in St. Francisville, the glorious garden spot of Louisiana's English Plantation country. For four decades the sponsoring West Feliciana Historical Society, its docents resplendent in authentic 1820s costumes, has thrown open the doors of significant historic structures to commemorate the tenure there of artist-naturalist John James Audubon, as he painted a number of his famous bird folios.
More than 200 years ago, the West Florida Rebellion united the Anglo-American pioneers in ousting a corrupt Spanish regime that persisted in claiming this territory even after the Louisiana Purchase. The resultant West Florida Republic, which lasted for a heady 74 days, had its capital in St. Francisville. Through those early days, West Feliciana attracted planters and others who built homes that have become icons of an era.
The Audubon Pilgrimage presents a special opportunity to view such historic properties as Oakley House, the centerpiece of Audubon State Historic Site, and Rosedown State Historic Site, which encompasses a stunning mansion, 13 historic outbuildings and 28 acres of formal gardens. Nearby Afton Villa Gardens offers a resplendent display on grounds that once surrounded an elaborate mansion.
Also on the pilgrimage are Highland Plantation, built in 1804, and Woodlawn Plantation, an antebellum Greek Revival home.
A high-end antiques show and sale often are among the pilgrimage's attractions. The festivities continue into the evening with Grace Church Cemetery tours, live entertaiment and a nighttime soirée.
For more information, see Audubon Pilgrimage.