Back in the day, when visitors came to the Houmas Plantation, they sometimes stayed for weeks. They often stayed for months. It was a big place (300,000 acres) and it was a busy place (producing 20,000,000 pounds of sugar each year).
To get to the plantation, travelers braved brutal people and brutal challenges: the turbulent Mississippi, swamps filled with gators, outlaws, poisonous snakes, impenetrable undergrowth and mosquitos carrying a deadly Yellow Fever virus. Some died trying to make the trip. There were settlers, pioneers and merchants among them. They were slaves, refugees, wholesalers and traders.
Most visitors expected something upon arrival.
Some hoped for a little food, shelter and rest. Others expected to stay with the family in the main house. They assumed they would dine at their table, drink their rum, smoke their cigars and be treated as part of the owner’s family.
It’s easy to see why expectations developed. You can imagine the expectations you would have if you were arriving at this incredible plantation after a long, grueling journey.
It’s almost Christmas. People are on their way and they’re bringing their expectations with them.
The question isn’t whether travelers will arrive at our place with expectations. The question is what we expect when they get here.