Wednesday, March 12, 2008


For the last 37 years visitors from all over the country and the world have visited St. Francisville and West Feliciana Parish for the annual Audubon Pilgrimage.  There are many, many people who work year round, behind the scenes to make this event as successful as it is.  The Historical Society board, and especially their faithful go-to person Helen Williams, and the Pilgrimage Steering Committee spend countless hours planning.  The home owners who graciously open their homes to the public have made sure that everything is in tip-top shape from the widow’s walk at Hillcroft to the newly painted picket fence at the Brasseaux House.


There are between 300 to 400 community volunteers to assist in this weekend’s activities, from parking cars at the sites to making shingles and cornbread at the Rural Homestead.  Our two State Historic Sites – Oakley and Rosedown – have been great partners over the years, and their staffs need to be commended for the great job they do year round.  The Town of St. Francisville and Mayor Billy D’Aquilla, and especially the crews that are out there making sure the town is ready for company, should be thanked for their support.  The members of the West Feliciana Parish Police Jury, Parish Manager Ambrose Sims, and the entire staff have all contributed their efforts.  I could go on and on about the many people who help but the list would be too long.  You know who you are, and we thank you for assisting with this very worthwhile event!


Pilgrimage Schedule of Events

Now that I’ve rambled on about the Pilgrimage, here are the details.  Tickets can be purchased now at the Historical Society Museum on Ferdinand Street.  Private homes on tour this year include Live Oak, Hillcroft and the Brasseaux House.  Tickets for daytime tours are $30, are good for all three days of the Pilgrimage and include tours of the three private homes as well as:  Oakley House, Audubon State Historic Site; Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site; Afton Villa Gardens; the three 19th century churches in the Historic District; the Rural Homestead; and the Antique Show & Sale held in the historic buildings of Jackson Hall, the Masonic Hall, and Old Market Hall.  Throughout the weekend, children in 1820’s costumes will be performing authentic dances and a maypole dance.


Separate tickets can be purchased for the Antique Show & Sale only for $10.  Tickets for evening entertainment on Friday are $15 each and include the following:

7 – 9 pm = Graveyard Tour at Grace Church

6 – 8 pm = Robust Hymn Singing at the United Methodist Church

6 – 8 pm = Wine & Cheese Reception at the Historical Society Museum


Don’t forget that on Saturday night, there will be the third annual Saturday Soiree.  This year’s event will again be held on Prosperity Street with music by Something Blue.  There will be lots of food and beverages, and there will also be plenty of tables and chairs so seating will not be a problem this year!  Tickets are $40 a person and reservations are being accepted at 635-6330.  This event starts at 7 pm.


For a complete listing of all Pilgrimage events, visit  Again, tickets can be purchased at the Historical Society Museum or by calling 635-6330.


At the Mag

Live music this Friday, March 14- Bring It; and on Sunday, March 16 - Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles with Special Guests The Fugitive Poets. Sarah is from Boston,Mass. and is currently on tour across the southeast. She is an engaging performer with an amazing band and this promises to be another special night of live music at the Mag. The Fugitive Poets will go on at 6:00 and Sarah and the Broken Singles will start at 7:00pm. There is a $10 cover and don’t forget the great food.
Remember that free Cajun -Zydeco dance lessons again this Thursday night taught by super instructors Ned Piper and his lovely partner Ms. V.


Easter Brunch at Varnedoe’s

Yes, it’s that time again and Varnedoe’s Carriage House at The Myrtles Plantation is offered a wide assortment of buffet items, such as Pontchatoula Strawberry Salad, Stewed Shrimp and Smoked Gouda Grits, Herb and Peppercorn Crusted Beef Prime Rib, Plantation Farmer’s Omelot, White Chocolate Bread Pudding and so much more!  For a completely listing of this mouth watering menu, visit their website at  The brunch buffet is priced at $25 for adults, $12 for those 10-13, $8 for ages 9-2, and tykes under age 2 eat free.  Make your reservation on the website or call 635-2635.


Heirloom Cuisine and The Glynns

Heirloom Cuisine, LLC is a local catering company, based in St. Francisville.  Award winning Chefs Jason Roland and Richard "Bingo" Starr (both formerly of the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans) have teamed up to create stunning menus and upscale events catered in private residences or one of their off-site locations.  Theyhave recently joined forces with Baton Rouge business-man and attorney, Danny McGlynn, to take over the event management and catering at The Glynns of Myrtles Plantation St. Francisville.  Their first "official" event there will be an Easter Brunch on March 23 offering such tasty treats as "Fresh Fruit Salad with Riesling Syrup and Pound Cake French Toast", "Louisiana Chopped Salad with Crawfish Tails, Tasso, Pepper Cheese, Roasted Corn, Avocado, Creole Tomatoes and Creamy Green Onion Buttermilk Dressing", "Herb-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Red Wine Demi Glace" and "Heavenly Hash Bread Pudding with Gold Brick Chocolate Creme Anglaise Sauce".  Please call 784-0535 for more info or visit their website at


7th Annual Audubon Country BirdFest

This birding event has continued to grow in popularity, and this year will take place on the weekend of April 4 – 6.  Field trips will feature our most popular sites - Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge and wildlife artist Murrell Butler’s Oakhill Plantation in addition to four outstanding private properties –  Beechwood Plantation, Hollywood Plantation, Woodhill Farm, and Wyoming Plantation.  Birding tours will also be held at Audubon State Historic Site at Oakley Plantation, the Mary Ann Brown Nature Preserve, and along the shores of the Mississippi River. A welcome reception on Friday night, April 4, will feature Danny Heitman, author and columnist for the Baton Rouge Advocate, and he will discuss his latest book, A Summer of Birds:  John James Audubon at Oakley House, and will be hosted at Audubon State Historic Site.  New in 2008:  Phyllis Pitre Lastrapes will conduct a photo workshop, all tours have been designed with the beginner to intermediate birder in mind and are led by knowledgeable and experienced local field guides.  For more information visit, e-mail or call 800-488-6502.


Audubon Nature Day At Audubon State Historic Site

As part of the Feliciana Nature Society’s Audubon Bird Fest, this site will focus on nature and how the naturalist artist, John James Audubon interacted with his surrounds at Oakley in 1821. Guest speakers, demonstrations, presenters, walks and talks are included with this program.  Friday, April 4, will feature a school program open to all schools from 9 am – 1 pm.  For more information, please call 888-677-2838 or locally 635-3739.


That’s all for this week.  Enjoy the Pilgrimage this weekend!


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