Facts from My Fiction: Roulaison

One of the most dangerous times for slaves in south Louisiana was the roulaison, or cane-cutting season.

Each crop of cane could be cut three times, and the boiling kettles were kept going 24 hours a day to reduce the cane to syrup and, eventually, to granulated sugar.  So, there were people constantly in the fields with machetes cutting down the tough stalks, and working in the boiling sheds with syrup so hot that it could burn down to the bone.  Fatal injuries from burns or machete cuts were not at all uncommon.

I was inspired to share these photos of cane processing equipment from the Oak Alley sugar plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, taken by me in December 2016, by this article from the February 5, 2017, edition of the Baton Rouge AdvocateResearcher maps hidden graveyards of slaves who once tilled Louisiana sugar cane fields

The photos show cane carts, boiling kettles, skimmers, cane knives, and molasses barrels.


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