Discover Pre-Civil War Plantations in Louisiana

Take a trip into Louisiana’s storied past and Antebellum Era history with a visit to one of the state’s most well-known plantations. You will see grand historic homes, stunning oak-lined lawns and hear the stories of all the people who occupied them. You will also delve into some of the darkest chapters in America’s history that these plantations hold. As beautiful as Louisiana’s plantation are, there’s no denying the region depended on slavery to run these thriving sugarcane plantations, and many of the estates like the Laura and Whitney Plantations have gone to diligent lengths to make sure this history is unearthed.

You’ll start your visit on the Great River Road – about an hour outside of New Orleans – where most of the state’s plantations are located. Now restored to their former antebellum era glory, you can take your pick according to your own interests. There’s Houmas House, once the largest producer of sugar cane in the country, this plantation is what one thinks of when one hears the word – conjuring images of the film “Gone with the Wind”. Learn from knowledgeable period-dressed tour guides, walk the tranquil grounds, witness the history inside and out, and hear about the complex relationships between the white, black, free, and enslaved peoples who once inhabited this fascinating region.

Or head to the most photographed plantation in the South: Oak Alley. Breathtaking in its beauty, you’ll find yourself awestruck by the majestic row of 28 oak trees that line the road leading to the beautiful Greek Revival plantation. You’ll get to hear the various stories of life there before and after the Civil War on a guided tour of the mansion, as well as see replicas of the slave quarters just behind the main house.

To gain a true sense of Louisiana’s rich French-Creole history, make sure to stop by Laura Plantation. Here, you will learn of the once-prominent Duparc-Locoul family’s French-Creole history both before and after the Civil War. Your guided tour here will also include a tour of the mansion and the authentic slave cabins located next to the sugar cane fields.

Just minutes from New Orleans, and a great site to start or end on, lies the Destrehan Plantation. Built in 1787, it is the oldest documented plantation home in the lower Mississippi Valley, and boasts lush green grounds filled with moss draped live oaks. The owner was one of the driving forces for Louisiana’s Statehood, and the plantation exhibits various important documents – including signatures from Thomas Jefferson and Napolean Bonaparte – that were involved in this process. Destrehan was also part of the 1811 Slave Revolt and temporarily became a colony for freed slaves.

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Historic Nottoway plantation in Louisiana from outside


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