Down on the Louisiana plantations

By | Category: Travel destinations
Nottoway Plantation - perhaps the grandest of the mansions

Nottoway Plantation – perhaps the grandest of the mansions

Louisiana is synonymous with cotton and in the nineteenth century, cotton was big business. With big business came big plantations and grand houses.

Many of those pre-civil war mansions have been carefully restored over the last few decades and provide a compelling attraction for the visitor. Here is a round-up of eleven mansions open to the public.

The closest plantation to New Orleans is Destrehan Plantation where you can take a tour and see demonstrations of blacksmithing and open hearth cooking. Established in 1787 and listed on the NationalRegister of Historic Places, Destrehan Plantation remains the oldest documented plantation home in the lower Mississippi Valley.

Not far away is the Creole Laura Plantation, which also offers tours, based on Laura Locoul’s 19th century memoirs and stories of slavery and the Creole culture.

Nottoway Plantation claims to be the South’s largest antebellum home.

Houmas Plantation

Houmas Plantation

Houmas House Plantation & Gardens offers a romantic retreat, a snap shot of the elegant side of plantation life in beautiful surroundings with fabulous food. The first owners of the plantation were the indigenous Houmas Indians, who were given a land grant to occupy the fertile plain between the Mississippi and Lake Maurepas to the north but they sold out in the mid 1700’s. Construction on the Mansion was completed in 1828. At the same time, Houmas House began to build its sugar production and continued to increase its land holdings, which ultimately grew to 300,000 acres.

St. Joseph Plantation has an equally interesting history and both offer costumed guided tours to give you a real sense of life in the 1800s. It is one of the of the few fully intact sugar cane plantations

St. Emma Plantation near Donaldsonville is open for tours by appointment. The 1847 Greek Revival antebellum mansion on Louisiana Highway 1 was home to one of the region’s largest sugar plantations in the mid-19th century and remains furnished with an extensive collection of Empire-period antiques and furnishings.

the living room at Oak Alley

the living room at Oak Alley

Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie has opened a new slave cabin exhibit that demonstrates what life was like for the plantation’s field labourers. The exhibit consists of five structures (with a sixth under construction) that contain period-accurate furnishings and artefacts tied to labourers’ daily lives. It has been used time and again for movies such as Interview with a Vampire, Primary Colours and Déjà Vu.

Whitney Plantation in Edgard has only recently opened to the public. Visitors can tour the elaborate mansion and period outbuildings on the site, and extensive information on the slaves who lived and worked at the plantation is offered.

San Francisco Plantation recently reopened to visitors following a more than $1 million restoration project, the circa 1849 antebellum plantation’s most extensive restoration in 40 years. The mansion on the Mississippi River in Reserve received new paint, a new roof and front gallery repairs, as well as a foundation stabilization project that releveled a sagging corner of the structure.

Ardoyne Plantation

Ardoyne Plantation

Ardoyne Plantation near Houma is one of the largest and most elaborate remaining examples of rural Victorian Gothic architecture in Louisiana and is open for public tours. The sixth-generation sugar plantation mansion, where family descendants reside and share stories, is filled with original furniture and antiques. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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