Lovely Portrait by Adolphe Rinck on Loan from Mr. Jeremy and Mrs. Lindsay Simien.
Jeanne Aimee Roman: Portrait of A Self-Assured Woman
Jeanne Aimee Roman was the daughter of Louisiana Governor A.B. Roman. A.B. was brother to Oak Alley's Jacques Roman, and would even manage the affairs of Oak Alley for a time after Jacques passed away. Jeanne was raised as part of the close-knit Roman family, spending part of her childhood in New Orleans, and part at her family's Cabanocey Plantation.
In 1852, Jeanne, an educated and attractive woman, married into an even wealthier family: the de La Villebeuvre family. Eli F. de La Villebeuvre came from a family with not only extensive land holdings but successful business ventures as well. The couple settled on Dumaine Street (New Orleans) where they lived the rest of their lives. Jeanne’s portrait was painted by Adolphe Rinck shortly after her wedding, and that fine portrait is currently being displayed at Oak Alley Plantation.
Portraits of Jeanne give us a picture of a self-assured woman who was aware of her status and her fashion: The Rinck painting features sumptuous fabrics and a paisley scarf — all the rage at the time — while a later Bernard portrait depicts Jeanne adjusting her hair style to keep up with trends, and showing off popular coral jewelry.
With the 1860’s came the end of high Creole Planter Society. During the Civil War, letters between Marie and Therese Roman, and Henri Roman and his mother, as well as others, make mention of staying with and dining with Jeanne and Eli. Amidst the chaos and the failing plantation structure, Dumaine Street seems to have provided a sense of normalcy for Therese and Henri in particular, as well as Jeanne’s father and mother, who rented a house on the same street.
Eli passed away in May and Jeanne in July of 1889.
Jeanne's wonderful portrait is currently on loan to Oak Alley by Mr. Jeremy and Mrs. Lindsay Simien. The portrait is currently on display in the children's room of the Big House, which also features Jeanne's childhood chair and doll armoire.