Um, That's a Big Scary Prison, Not a Luxurious Plantation House

Woodville Travel Blog

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Everyone keeps asking me why I decided to drag my Mama 130 miles north of New Orleans to rural Pond, Mississippi, why I was so hellbent on going there I drove through wind and rain just to stay for one night. All I can say is I think I may be possessed by the spirit of Joy H. LaValley.

Joy H. LaValley is the lady that used to live in my apartment. I'm pretty sure she's dead, because I keep getting mail from her trust. That, and old lady catalogs like English Country Living. What happened to you, Joy H. LaValley? Did you die in my house? Are you haunting my soul? Are you the reason I'm so enthralled with old-timey stuff?

Joy or no joy, I can't get enough of old-timey stuff. Camelback sofas, queen anne chairs, jug bands, old lady pearls, the Charleston -- it's all within the Mimi aesthetic.

There ain't no Ikea furniture in my house.

Pond, MS is not so much a town as a loose congolomeration of country houses and one store that somehow found its way onto Google Maps. Whatever it is lacking, however, it does have 2 things that are totally up my alley: An old timey plantation house that you could stay in, and, less than 5 minutes away, a beautiful hilly nature area with a 12 mile primitive hiking trail past a multitude of waterfalls and cascades.

So basically, it's a place that's both extreme and old timey. I had to go.

The drive up there was a whole thing in itself. It started raining by the time we got to Baton Rouge and got pitch black by, like, 6PM. I was driving up route 66, a small country highway, heading for the border of Mississippi and Louisiana.

There was nothing but trees, woods, rain and darkness.

Suddenly, my headlits hit something up ahead -- out of the darkness, the road deadended what appeared to be a toll booth or some kind of gated place with guards. I figured it must be the state border checkpoint... that is, until we came closer and we could read the giant sign above the gates:

"Louisiana State Penitentiary" ... Holy crap, I just drove to Angola Prison.

For anyone who hasn't heard of Angola, Wikipedia says "By the 1950s, Angola had degenerated to become one of the very worst prisons in the U.S. In 1952, 31 inmates cut their Achilles' tendons in protest of the hard work and brutality."

Um, yah....

The guards were very nice and allows us to U-turn our way right out of there.

40 minutes later, after several more spooky wrong turns in the pitch black countryside, we found our way down a dark unpaved path. All above, we could see creepy Spanish moss swaying in the wind, dangling down from tall, twisted black oaks that lined the path. It was all very Sleepy Hollow meets Deliverance.

Luckily, a white pillared country house eventually came into view of the headlights. We had finally found the Desert Plantation.

The Desert Plantation is the family home of Willia Perkins, a nice lady who organizes weddings there. When she's not booked for weddings, she rents out the rooms as a bed and breakfast.

I was completely enthralled with the house. It was like my dream house. Or Joy H. LaValley's dream house. In any case, I was so happy amidst all that antique furniture, in that big house underneath the creepy oak trees. I think I spent a good 10 minutes just rolling around in the gorgeous canopy bed.

The entire room was so awesome -- big and roomy with wood floors, windows looking out onto the oaks in the front grounds, two queen size beds with downy white blankets, a bathroom with a clawfoot bathtub, a fireplace, and a sitting room right outside.

Willia brought us a glass of wine and a big thing of cream cheese with green gelatin on top. I felt like a southern lady for a day.

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photo by: thenewextrememimi