|What makes it historical?
||After purchasing the plantation from Valcour Aime in 1836, Jacques Roman arranged for this magnificent home to be built in order to coax his new wife, Celina, to leave her beloved New Orleans for a more “pious” existence in the countryside! Here, they would welcome guests with slices of pineapple imported from the Caribbean, and leave a whole pineapple to let them know when it was time to move on!
The Romans considered themselves French citizens, though the US had purchased Louisiana Territory 33 years earlier. Jacques’ brother, Andre, served two terms as Louisiana’s governor, and his brother-in-law, Valcour, was the “Sugar King of Louisiana!”
Their lavish lifestyle was built, both literally and figuratively, on the backs of their many slaves, who lived in cooplike shacks just south of the main house. They built the home, worked the fields, and even operated a giant fan over the table to keep the flies away! One of them, named Antoine, was a master grafter, the first in America to successfully graft a pecan tree! His Centennial varietal was also known as the “paper-shell” pecan, because its shell was thin enough to be cracked by one’s bare hands! It won a prize at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, but the last of his original trees were washed away in a flood of nearby Anita Plantation in 1990.