It was in the lush forest setting of Oakley Plantation northwest of Baton Rouge, La., that John James Audubon lived as an art teacher while working on his book, Birds of America.
The year was 1821 and Birds of America was to become Audubon’s masterpiece. Writing in his journal, Audubon aptly described his setting: “The rich magnolias covered with fragrant blossoms, the holly, the beech, the tall yellow poplar, the hilly ground and even the red clay, all excited my admiration. … and surrounded once more by numberless warblers and thrushes, I enjoyed the scene.”
The James Pirrie family, owners of Oakley, had hired Audubon to teach drawing to their young daughter, Miss Eliza Pirrie. While the arrangement was short-lived and Audubon returned to New Orleans after just four months, he began or completed 32 bird paintings while at Oakley. Those paintings, along with 403 others, became Birds of America. The canopy of beeches, poplars and oaks clustered overhead provided cooling shade as we drove the short distance to the visitor center at Audubon State Historic Site. The verdant natural forest setting, with its many birds singing throughout the 100-acre site, inspired us as it did Audubon.
Although there is no on-site camping, Peaceful Pines RV Park and Campground is located just across the street from Audubon State Historic Site and offers 48 full-hookup sites, free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, laundry facilities and a private fishing pond. Also nearby is the 10,000-acre Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, which features birding, hiking and the state’s largest cypress tree east of the Sierra Nevada.
To read more about the Audubon State Historic Park, find the May issue of MotorHome on newsstands or subscribe!
For More Information
Audubon State Historic Site Entrance Fees: $4 per person; free for seniors (62 and older) and children age 12 and under.
Call 888-677-2838 or visit www.crt.state.la.us/parks/iaudubon.aspx
Peaceful Pines RV Park and Campground 225-635-4903, www.peacefulpinesrvpark.com