Between the plazita and the bachelors' cottage was an orange grove containing seventy-five trees, from twenty to thirty feet high, yielding the luscious Louisiana
oranges, now nearly extinct, yet they were certainly the best oranges in the world.
These trees were in bloom nearly all the time, and we bitterly lamented their loss by the great freeze of 1896.
Back of these were the vegetable gardens and stables, and on Second Street, or Rear Road, were the long negro quarters.
Behind these quarters we owned a broad stretch of pine forest, extending back beyond a beautiful bayou.
We set the bayou in aquatic plants, and built among the solemn pines a log resthouse for our many invalid guests who needed ‘pine air.’
It took a large force of men many months to dig out, replant and put this place in order; but it made us a beautiful home for fourteen years and was beloved by us all. It had been built by educated slaves owned by Mr. Payne
, out of timber cut on his ground and thoroughly dried, in the year 1846, and the main part of the house remains as sound to-day as then, although, owing to the extremely damp climate, the life of lumber and timber there is short.
had used this house as a summer house; I bought it for a winter home.
He was at that time eighty-four years old, and one of the most charming men I ever met. He told me it would require seventeen servants to properly run the place, as it had seventeen bedrooms.
We got along, however, very nicely with from seven to nine.
His winter home in New Orleans was one of the largest houses on this side of the ocean, containing a great number of large rooms, and was built of brick with ample grounds.
Prior to the war Mr. Payne
was a strong Union man. His most intimate and valued personal friend was Jefferson Davis
They disagreed as to secession.
at that time owned many sugar plantations in Louisiana
and cotton plantations in Mississippi
He also had offices and warehouses in New Orleans, and was the largest exporter of cotton and sugar and the greatest creator of foreign exchange.
He owned 300 or 400 slaves, who were well cared for, contented and happy.
He had a large capital invested in business, and hundreds of planters