Spring has come to Louisiana.
Azalea's are blooming all over the south. When we were living in Hammond, LA before Carrie was born, we would go to Zemurray Gardens in Loranger, LA outside of Pontchatoula every spring.
You can see old Zemurray Gardens photos here. It closed years ago.
It was old paper mill acres where the trees had been harvested. The Zemurray family would replant the acres with camellias and azaleas, day lilies and begonias and a million other blooming things.
In the early 1900's Samuel Zemurray owned the land. Zemurray was born in Russia and came to America at age 14. By age 21 he had amassed over $100,000 and was known as Sam the Banana Man and he bought a steam boat and sailed to Honduras where he bought 5000 acres. He was involved in a coup to bring the deposed leader back to Honduras and was granted low taxes that eventually made him a millionaire. He turned his company into controlling interest in the United Fruit Company and ran it until his death in New Orleans in 1961. Many Mayan artifacts were found on his Honduran lands and donated to Tulane University. His mansion on Audubon Place in New Orleans is now the home of the President of Tulane University.
There is an old mansion on the Loranger lands the family used as a retreat getaway that you could tour for a few extra dollars. We would do that sometimes, sometimes we would just stay on the paths and walk through the color beauty.
The lakes were ringed with pathways and bridges that brought you to island gazebos that held hanging plants full of blazing colors.
We would walk the paths and I would take photos of the statues hidden in every nook and field.
One of my long ago photos of a pale lavender azalea heavy with blooms won first place in a Louisiana Photographic Society show.