7 Louisiana Plantations for the Historic Traveler
Enjoy the beautiful scenery in Louisiana while immersing yourself in the state’s history.
Before the American Civil War, Louisiana was once the home of the wealthiest sugar plantations in the southern USA, as most of the nation’s sugar was produced in the state. The economy depended on sugar production, and the industry relied heavily on slave labor. Each Louisiana plantation has a story to tell about the people who lived and worked there.
Houmas House Plantation and Gardens
Located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Houmas House is a historic plantation built in the 1800s. The mansion, now known as the “Sugar Palace,” was once the largest producer of sugarcane in the country, with 39,659 hectares dedicated to the crop. Visitors will be greeted by rooms filled with antiques, ornate rugs, spiraling staircases and glass chandeliers, all in the comfort and style of a Southern plantation. The gardens present 15 hectares of fountains, fragrant flowers and trees. Stay overnight at the inn, a collection of cottages surrounded by the gardens, and enjoy a complimentary breakfast and guided tour.
Known as "The Sugar Palace," Houmas House Plantation is a beautiful antebellum estate
Laura: A Creole Plantation
Take a guided tour of this early 1800s Creole plantation and learn about the slave experience in Louisiana. The plantation grew sugarcane and was overseen by the Duparc clan, with each family member having a role in the business. There were also contracted managers, overseers and slave laborers, accounting for 80 percent of the plantation’s residents. Walk the same paths as four generations of this Creole family, and learn about the deep history and cultural life of the Creole community in Louisiana.
A back view of the Laura Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation
The Oak Alley Plantation, a National Historic Site, was once owned by the Roman family. The plantation, from its place on the banks of the Mississippi River, survived the Civil War and Great Depression. It has been many things in its 200-year history: a sugar plantation, an investment property and a cattle ranch. Tour the Big House, browse slavery and sugarcane exhibits, and explore the landscape of this prestigious plantation. Listen to an historic interpreter talk about the Civil War. See a formal garden, pastures where pecan trees once grew and a forge where blacksmiths worked.
San Francisco Plantation
The San Francisco Plantation is a beautiful representation of the Creole open suite style. It was once owned by Elisée Rillieux, a free man of color who had visions of a sugar plantation, then was sold to Edmond Bazonier Marmillion, who built up the plantation as it stands today. As you view decorative details and skilled artisanship, learn about the lives and labor of those enslaved at the plantation. See what life was like before the Civil War as you follow a period-dressed guide through a 45-minute presentation that covers all 14 rooms of the plantation and grounds.
The San Francisco Plantation is a colorful representation of Creole open suite style.
The Myrtles Plantation
Visit The Myrtles Plantation for a tour of “One of America’s Most Haunted Homes.” This gorgeous mansion features ornamental ironwork, hand-painted stained glass, tapestries, a 136-kilogram crystal chandelier, marble mantels and exquisite period furnishings. To learn more about the ghosts rumored to roam the plantation grounds, take part in the Evening Mystery Tour, where you’ll be delighted with ghost stories and learn about the intrigue of this famous plantation. Overnight accommodations – rooms, suites and cottages – are available to allow guests to absorb more of the history.
The Nottoway Plantation is an 1850s sugarcane estate that is the South’s largest pre-Civil War mansion at 4,831 square meters. Commissioned by John Hampden Randolph, a prestigious sugar planter, this magnificent Greek- and Italianate-style home has hand-carved Italian marble fireplaces, 22 exterior columns, detailed plaster frieze moldings, high ceilings, huge doors and an exquisite oval ballroom. Visitors are invited to stay the night in one of the luxurious rooms either at the mansion or in the surrounding cottages.
The Nottoway Plantation is a stunning 1850s sugarcane estate that is the south's largest antebellum estate
LSU Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens
At Louisiana State University’s Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge, see over 30 buildings that contain the largest collection of exhibits depicting 18- and 19th-century Louisiana life. The Exhibit Barn is where you will see hundreds of artifacts showing the many aspects of rural life. The Plantation Quarters is a series of buildings furnished to replicate the major activities of a working sugar plantation, and the Windrush Gardens features 10 hectares of winding paths and beautiful landscaping. Among the buildings are a country church, commissary, school, blacksmith shop, grist mill and cabins.
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