The ghost of a young girl haunts this private
located about thirty-five miles north of Baton Rouge.
Along the double row of trees that leads to the doorstep of Parlange Plantation, the ghost of a young girl in a bridal gown is often seen, her white dress flowing out behind her as she runs. The girl crosses the path and then vanishes, tragically living over again the last moments before her death. Who is she and why does she haunt this place?
Parlange Plantation was built in 1754 by the Marquis Vincent de Ternant on land that was granted to him by the French crown. The house is still owned by his descendants today... and one of them , who lived many, many years ago, has never left.
In 1757, Vincent de Ternant dies and left the estate to his eldest son, Claude. Shortly after, Claude's wife and his first child died during childbirth. He mourned for over a year and then remarried his second cousin, Virginie, who was only fifteen at the time. She would bear him four children, Henri, Julie, Maurius and Marie Virginie.
Virginie Ternant was not well-liked by neighbors in the region, mostly because of her snobbish ways, but she made sure that her children were always well dressed and cared for in the finest fashions. She hand-picked a nanny to care for the children but her choice was apparently a poor one because one day, while out walking, Henri fell into a nearby stream and drowned.
Virginie was pregnant at the time and heartbroken. She gave birth a short time later to Maurius, who from then on, became her spoiled and favorite child. He grew up to become a worthless drunkard who died at the age of only 25.
Virginie now only had her two daughters and she became very strict with them. Marie Virginie always followed whatever restrictions her mother declared, but Julie was another matter. She was always willful and headstrong and against her mother's wishes, fell in love with the son of a local plantation owner.Normally, this would have pleased a doting mother as the boy's family was an upstanding one, but for some reason, Virginie had it in her head that her daughters would only be allowed to marry French noblemen.
Needless to say, Julie and the young man's affair continued to the point that her mother assigned a servant to stand guard in her room each night to keep her from sneaking off to meet with her lover. She had been forbidden to see the young man again.
Julie stayed in bed for days, crying and pleading with her mother to change her mind, but it didn't matter. Virginie had her own plans for Julie's future. She had been in touch with the family of a young man of noble French birth and unaware to Julie, her mother had already begun planning a wedding for her. Finally, her mother broke the news to her and Julie, broken by this time, agreed to go through with it.
The wedding day came and the ceremony took place on the grounds of the plantation. An hour passed and suddenly, Julie snapped! She could not keep up the charade and ran screaming from the house. She ran through the alley of oak trees in front of the house and then flung herself against the base of one of the trees.... shattering her skull against the trunk!
After losing one child to her negligence and one child to the fact that she gave him whatever he wished, Virginie finally faced the fact that she was to blame for Julie's death. She realized too late that she should have never kept her from the man she loved.
The next day, Julie was buried on the grounds of the plantation in her wedding gown.
Marie Virginie went on to marry a French nobleman and gave him several children. She also went on to make a lasting impression on the art world by having her portrait painted by John Singer Sargent. The painting, called Madame X, hangs today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Claude de Ternant died long before his wife, who never really got over the deaths of three of her children. She dedicated the rest of her life to her remaining daughter and her grandchildren. At a social function, she met a handsome widower named Charles Parlange. They married and returned to Louisiana and the house became known as Parlange, a name that has stuck through the years.
As mentioned earlier, the house is still in the possession of members of the Ternant family and Julie Vincent de Ternant has never really left.... She is most often seen by the light of the full moon as she makes her terrible journey through the oak trees in front of the mansion.
Parlange is a private residence located 35 miles north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana at False River, New Roads.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
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