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A Guide to Historic Plantations in the New Orleans Area

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New Orleans is one of the most famous cities in the southern United States. It is a destination that is known around the world.

Plantations New Orleans

Located in Louisiana, the city has a history dating back to the early 1700’s. Its growth was based on a few factors; location, sugar and cotton. As the cotton and sugar trade grew, large plantations developed around New Orleans. Some of these historic locations have survived to this day.

A few of the most famous of these include the following.

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation is considered to be one of the most impressive of the plantations in the New Orleans area. The canopy of oak trees which frame the approach to the main building provide a beautiful setting. The Greek-revival style of the mansion has been restored to the condition of its heyday.

Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

The plantation is located on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and has a history dating back to the early 1700’s. The fortunes of the property were built on sugar and over the years the plantation has had five different owners.

Although the main property fell into disrepair in the early 1900’s, the last owners to actually live in the building spent a great deal of money restoring it to its former glory. The mansion building and plantation grounds are open to the public for tours There are   cottages on the grounds which allow tourists to spend the night.

With 300 years of history behind it, Oak Alley Plantation is a famous location in the New Orleans area and is a plantation worth visiting.

Houmas House Plantation

Houmas House Plantation is another plantation whose splendor was built on the fortunes of sugar. While the Houmas Indians were the first people to farm the land, the owners that first constructed the property were Maurice Conway and Alexander Latil.

Photo via Houmas House Plantation

This was used as the main property on the land until the early 1800’s, when the construction of the mansion that stands today was started by American Civil War hero, General Wade Hampton. It was completed by his daughter and her husband and was known as “The Sugar Palace”.

A number of owners lived in and ran the plantation during its years in operation. The property became run-down during the early 20th century, but recent owners have restored the mansion.

A tour of the property and gardens is available and a chance to see the famed “Sugar Palace” makes it a plantation to be visited in the New Orleans area.

Destrehan Plantation

Destrehan Plantation is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The main building is one of the oldest of the plantation mansions around New Orleans. The most famous occupant was a respected name in Louisiana history, Jean Noel Destrehan. Destrehan was credited as being one of the men that helped perfect the technique for granulation of sugar.

Photo via Destrehan Plantation

The plantation is home to a famous Louisiana document, the “Jefferson Document” which was signed by Thomas Jefferson. The document assigned Destrehan and three other men to the organization known as the Orleans Territorial Council.

With its famous associations and historic background, the plantation can be an interesting location to visit. Costumed greeters provide a show of how the plantation would have looked during the height of its glory. It’s definitely an  impressive sight to see.

Laura Plantation

Originally named “l’habitation Duparc” after its original founder Guillaume Duparc, the Laura Plantation gained the name by which it is now known during the years when Laura Locoul lived there. The mansion building was constructed in the early 1800’s. During its heyday the plantation covered an area of some 12,000 acres. It stands on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Photo via Laura Plantation

Much of the information on the tour is based around Laura Locoul’s “Memories of the Old Plantation” and provides a fascinating insight into the life and times of a plantation owner. The tour includes the mansion, gardens and slave cabins. 

San Francisco Plantation

The San Francisco Plantation is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, and the mansion is an example of a Creole open suite style building. The plantation has a history which dates back to the 1820’s, from which time it was worked as a sugar plantation. However, the mansion which stands today was constructed during the 1850’s by the then owner, Edmond Bozonier Marmillion, as a home for his sons. They lived in and worked the plantation for many years, although it was subsequently occupied by a number of owners.

The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an impressive location to visit. Tours of the property and ground are possible to see the splendor of the estate and this can be an interesting experience for those that visit New Orleans.

Visiting one of the plantations in the New Orleans area can provide a look back to a historic era in the growth of America. Many are preserved in excellent condition and give a feel for the conditions that those who lived during the time must have experienced.

The five plantations detailed above are some of those which thrived during the 18th and 19th century, and are some of the most historic New Orleans plantations still in existence.

There’s so much more to the area than Bourbon Street!

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