Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Feb-March in St. Francisville, La.

PRESS St. Francisville, LA Events February - March 2016

Black History Month Display:   Month of February, 10 am-4 pm.  In celebration of Black History Month, Rosedown Plantation will mount a display in the gift shop conference room honoring the lives and accomplishments of African-Americans.  The exhibit will feature pictures, brief biographies and music of African-Americans who had an influence on history. . For more information call 877.376.1867 toll free or 225.635.3332 locally.

Garden Tour Fridays: February 5, 2016, 10 am. A guided walking tour of the historic Rosedown Gardens and Outbuildings.  Program occurs every first Friday of each month.
 For more information call 877.376.1867 toll free or 225.635.3332 locally.

St. Francisville’s Writers and Readers Symposium: A Celebration of Literature and Art

February 20, 2016

          Recognized as the cultural center of the Felicianas for the large number of artists, authors and other creative souls who reside in its historic homes and pastoral settings, St. Francisville, LA, has also become popular with fans of good literature who come together from a wide area each February to enjoy the annual Writers and Readers Symposium. 

          Once again the sponsoring arts and humanities group called A Celebration of Literature and Art, Inc. has put together an amazing group of authors and artists who will speak about their creative processes and mingle with enthusiastic fans at Hemingbough Conference Center on Saturday, February 20. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with presentations by featured authors starting at 9, lunch served at noon, a 1 p.m. author’s panel Q&A, followed by an hour-long autograph session beginning at 2 p.m. An added visual treat will be A Novel Image, a competitive exhibit of photographs, paintings and sculpture matched with literary works. The Saturday symposium will be followed on Sunday by a Writers Workshop led by Margaret McMullan for both experienced and aspiring authors at the West Feliciana Parish Library from 9 to 4.

          Featured presenters this year will be award-winning novelist Margaret McMullan, who released her moving seventh novel Aftermath Lounge on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina; Renaissance man Michael Rubin, jazz pianist, national speaker/humorist, and practicing attorney whose murder mystery The Cottoncrest Curse was published by LSU Press; New Orleans poet Mona Lisa Saloy returning to share a new book of poetry called Second Line Home; and noted Louisiana photographer Philip Gould and renowned public muralist Robert Dafford.  The Public Art of Robert Dafford, one of Gould’s dozen books, features his superb images in both words and photographs of some of Dafford’s most memorable murals, painted in this country, Canada, France, Belgium and Great Britain, and both artists will be present for the symposium at Hemingbough.

          A Celebration of Literature and Art is a non-profit organization whose goal is to bring together people who delight in the creative process—the writers, visual artists, actors and musicians, as well as those who enjoy and value what others have crafted. To submit an entry for A Novel Image, send digital image to coordinator Darlene Reaves at by December 15.  For tickets, register online with credit card at (OLLI members Fees for the symposium are $40 for 2015 registrants; $50 for 2016 registrants; $60 at door. Writers Workshop fee is $150; limited scholarships are available. Online information is available at

          Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

March 2016

Garden Tour Fridays: March 4, 2016, 10 am. A guided walking tour of the historic Rosedown Gardens and Outbuildings.  Program occurs every first Friday of each month.
 For more information call 877.376.1867 toll free or 225.635.3332 locally.

Easter Egg Hunt: March 12, 2016, 1 pm.  Easter was an important holiday at Rosedown in the 1800s.  On this day children can participate in an old-fashioned Easter Egg Hunt on the grounds of the plantation. After the hunt, children can enjoy playing 19th century games.  Prizes will be awarded to the children who find the special “Rosedown” eggs.
 For more information call 877.376.1867 toll free or 225.635.3332 locally.

2016 Audubon Pilgrimage

General Press Release

By Anne Butler

The forty-fifth annual Audubon Pilgrimage March 18, 19 and 20, 2016, celebrates a southern spring in St. Francisville, the glorious garden spot of Louisiana’s English Plantation Country. For over four decades the sponsoring West Feliciana Historical Society has thrown open the doors of significant historic structures to commemorate artist-naturalist John James Audubon’s stay as he painted a number of his famous bird studies and tutored the daughter of Oakley Plantation’s Pirrie family, beautiful young Eliza. A year’s worth of planning and preparation precedes each pilgrimage, and with 45 years of experience under their belt, society members put on one of the South’s most professional and enjoyable pilgrimage presentations.

This year’s tour features several townhouses in St. Francisville’s National Register Historic District and two early plantations in the surrounding countryside, each illustrative of the interconnections of early homes and family histories.

The Cabildo, thought to have been built on Royal Street in St. Francisville as early as 1809 with handhewn joists and brick walls 22 inches thick, is a Spanish colonial structure used over the years as monastery, tavern frequented by Audubon, bank/counting house, West Feliciana’s first parish courthouse beginning in 1824, barbershop, grocery, hotel, drugstore, library, and now beautifully restored present residence of Peggy and Joey Gammill, preservation/conservation experts.

Vinci Cottage at Virginia, all of 1000 feet, was built in the forties of materials salvaged from the detached kitchen and servants’ quarters behind the 1817 historic townhouse on Royal Street called Virginia, perfect for owner Nancy Vinci’s “downsizing with dog.” Supplementing the postage-stamp lawn of this cottage is Woodleigh Garden, just across Royal, a beautifully landscaped hillside setting filled by owners Leigh Anne and Butch Jones with heirloom pass-along plantings and a pleasant brick courtyard with fountain.

The Myrtles, a raised English cottage begun in the late 1790s by Judge David Bradford, leader of the Whiskey Rebellion, was enlarged by subsequent owners throughout the 19th century. The long front gallery is graced with grape-cluster wrought iron, and inside rooms are formalized with elaborate plaster friezework and marble mantels in the twin parlors. John E. and Teeta Moss are the current owners.

Rosale Plantation, north of St. Francisville at Wakefield, was part of early settler Alexander Stirling’s enormous 1790s landholdings; when the elaborate brick house his daughter Ann Skillman built in 1836 burned in the 1880s, the family moved into the two-story schoolhouse, built the same time. Today the simple farmhouse with sweeping vistas of manicured oak-shaded lawns and multiple ponds is owned by Peter and Lynda Truitt.

Other popular features of the 2016 Audubon Pilgrimage include Afton Villa Gardens, Audubon (Oakley) and Rosedown State Historic Sites, three 19th-century churches in town and beautiful St. Mary’s in the country, as well as the Rural Homestead with lively demonstrations of the rustic skills of daily pioneer life. An Audubon Play will be performed several times daily on Saturday and Sunday in recently restored Temple Sinai. Daytime features are open 9:30 to 5, Sunday 11 to 4 for tour homes; Friday evening activities are scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday soiree begins at 7 p.m.

The Historic District around Royal Street is filled during the day with the happy sounds of costumed children singing and dancing the Maypole; in the evening as candles flicker and fireflies flit among the ancient moss-draped live oaks, there is no place more inviting for a leisurely stroll. Friday evening features old-time Hymn Singing at the United Methodist Church, Audubon Play in Temple Sinai, Graveyard Tours at Grace Episcopal cemetery (last tour begins at 8:15 p.m.), and a wine and cheese reception at Bishop Jackson Hall (7 to 9 p.m.) featuring Vintage Dancers and young ladies modeling the pilgrimage’s exquisitely detailed 1820’s evening costumes, nationally recognized for their authenticity. Light Up The Night, the Saturday evening soiree, features live music and dancing, dinner and drinks beginning at 7 p.m.

For tickets and tour information, contact West Feliciana Historical Society, Box 338, St. Francisville, LA 70775; phone 225-635-6330 or 225-635-4224; online, email

 A package including daytime tours and all evening entertainment Friday and Saturday is available. Tickets can be purchased at the Historical Society Museum on Ferdinand Street. For information on St. Francisville overnight accommodations, shops, restaurants, and recreation in the Tunica Hills, see,, or