Created By: LSU
Through the romanticization of the antebellum plantations, residents of Baton Rouge are left with a misconstrued representation of the institution of slavery. Adelia at Old Goodwood is one of East Baton Rouge Parish’s last surviving plantation homes, and people call the main building the “centerpiece of the development”. The houses built around the plantation home are a minimum of 3,000 square feet, and start in the $750,000 to $800,000 range. Residents at the Adelia location now do not understand the history they are living on.
Dr. Samuel G. Laycock (born about 1816) built Goodwood for his wife Adelia Byrd Laycock in 1850. There were about 55 to 80 enslaved people at Adelia plantation during its antebellum time (FamilySearch). These slaves picked cotton, harvesting sugercane and took care of the Adelia Plantation for Dr.Laycock and Adelia Laycock. By 1860, Laycock had real estate valued at $30,000 and personal estate (including slaves) valued at $75,000. That would be about $2 million dollars today. Elizabeth Hines, a daughter born into slavery at Adelia plantation, explained in an interview of how: “Dr. Laycock was building a gas house so that he could have a light all night and work “slaves” day and night, but peace came before he could get it finished and use it. God took a hand in that thing.” (Work Projects Administration). Elizabeth also explains that slaves “lived in log houses and some in old boxed houses”, meaning they did not really get taken care of. Working as a slave on a sugar plantation was hard enough, but the owner, Mr. Laycock, was building a house to make it so his slaves would be working 24 hours a day.
There is no doubt that the remains of the enslaved people are underneath the houses in the Adelia at Old Goodwood subdivision. Their unmarked graves are further neglected through the subdivision that is now standing. The residents at Adelia seem to be comfortable with masking the true history of Baton Rouge all while memorializing people who deserve no recognition. Painful pieces of history should be set aside as relics of American history. Unfortunately, at Adelia, that is not happening.
Adelia at Old Goodwood, Bernhard Normand Construction, Baton Rouge, http://bnc-contractors.com/adelia-old-goodwood-custom-homes/.
Beard-Ward, Lizi. “Goodwood Plantation Baton Rouge.” FineArtAmerica, Baton Rouge, 24 July 2012, https://fineartamerica.com/featured/goodwood-plantation-baton-rouge-circa-1852-lizi-beardward.html.
FamilySearch Wiki. “United States Census, Slave Schedule, 1850 - Familysearch Historical Records.” FamilySearch Wiki, FamilySearch Wiki, 25 Feb. 2022, https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/index.phptitle=United_States_Census%2C_Slave_Schedule%2C_1850_-_FamilySearch_Historical_Records§ion=1.
Work Projects Administration. “Elizabeth Hines.” The Voices From The Margins: Authentic Recorded Life Stories by Former Slaves: True Life Stories about the Life in Slavery and after the Liberation, e-Artnow, 2017.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Slavery in Baton Rouge