On the way out of New Orleans, towards Baton Rouge, is a stretch of old plantation homes and estates. Oak Alley was once a prosperous sugar cane plantation – prosperous thanks to the 100 plus slaves that worked back breaking hours in terrible conditions for no pay. The tour of the house was interesting, more because of the realisation that the owners lived in absolute luxury than anything else. Behind the house are the huts where the slaves lived (or perhaps ‘were kept’ is a more accurate term). On exhibition are the shackles, with child versions, used to keep the slaves from escaping, and also a neck clamp that held three bells on long metal spikes to alert owners that a slave was trying to escape. As beautiful as the house and grounds are there’s a edge of ugliness to it all.