The most noted slave who lived at Oak Alley Plantation was named Antoine. He was listed as "Antoine, 38, Creole Negro
gardener/expert grafter of pecan trees," with a value of $1,000 in the
inventory of the estate conducted upon J.T. Roman's death. Antoine was a
master of the techniques of grafting, and after trial with several
trees, succeeded in the winter of 1846 in producing a variety of pecan
that could be cracked with one's bare hands; the shell was so thin it
was dubbed the "paper shell" pecan.
The trees may be found throughout southern Louisiana, where the pecan
was once a considerable cash crop. Although Antoine's original trees
were cleared for more sugar cane fields after the Civil War, a
commercial grove had been planted at nearby Anita plantation .
Unfortunately, the Anita Crevasse (river break) of 1990 washed away
Anita Plantation and all remains of the original Centennial pecans.