Tour the Historic Plantations Around New Orleans
Just outside of New Orleans, elaborate Antebellum-era plantation houses line Louisiana’s famed River Road. Built by sugar plantation owners, the homes feature marvelous piazzas, manicured gardens, and stately pillars. Many of them still standing today, the plantations of the Antebellum South pay homage to the state’s agrarian past and slave culture. From the impressive architectural marvels of the big homes to the surviving outbuildings where slaves lived in close quarters, every inch of these plantation homes is rich with history that brings the stories of enslaved people to life. Visit these architectural emblems and learn about the African-American history of Louisiana on a New Orleans plantation tour.
Learn About Louisiana's Popular Plantation Homes
One of the most famous plantations near New Orleans, the Whitney Plantation features a museum that is the only of its kind with an exclusive focus on the lives of enslaved people. On a self-guided plantation tour, you can learn all about the history of this fascinating sugarcane plantation, as well as the stories of slavery and the people who lived there.
Founded by German immigrants in the 1700s, the Whitney Plantation first produced indigo, an important crop in Louisiana’s economy. At the time, there were about 20 enslaved Africans working the land. But by the 1800s, over 100 enslaved workers lived at the plantation, producing as much as 400,000 pounds of sugar in a single season.
Before the Whitney Plantation opened to the public in 2014, it underwent 15 years of restorations and is now a beautiful testament to the history of slavery in Louisiana. There are at least 12 historic structures on the property as well as memorials, examples of Spanish Creole architecture, the slave quarters, and a church. Don’t miss a chance to visit this amazing property on a NOLA plantation tour.
Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Oak Alley Plantation is a must-visit plantation near New Orleans. It gets its name from the impressive alley of 28 live oak trees that line the path leading up to the main entrance of the house. The grounds at Oak Alley are a sight to behold, with wide pastures, a formal garden as well as several others, and agriculture crops. The big house is an architectural marvel, with beautiful columns, wrought-iron balconies and a lavish interior that sends visitors back in time to the days of working plantation homes.
The most important aspect of the Oak Alley Plantation’s legacy is its slavery exhibit, which details the lives and living conditions of the men, women, and children who were kept on the property. Built on slavery, Oak Alley was established as a sugar cane plantation, but it was also a cattle ranch at one point in its history.
Today, you can explore the grounds and the interior of the big house, as well as the slavery exhibit, Civil War exhbiti, sugarcane theater, and 300-year-old alley of oaks. On a tour of Oak Alley plantation, discover the history of the home throughout the years and the enslaved people who kept it running.
The Laura Plantation is one of the best plantations to visit. It’s a restored Louisiana Creole plantation that is open for day tours from New Orleans. At its largest, its grounds covered 12,000 acres and produced rice, pecans, sugar cane, and indigo. Though it was originally called l’habitation Duparc, after the family that owned it, it was later renamed the Laura Plantation after one of the family members.
The Laura Plantation is significant to Louisiana and New Orleans for its early 19th-century Creole style big house and outbuildings, where slaves dwelled in cabins. The Laura Plantation is actually one of only a handful of Louisiana plantation complexes with so many surviving structures. In fact, it’s one of only 30 Creole raised houses in Louisiana. The floor plan is unique in that its two rows of five rooms all open directly into each other without hallways. Inside, you’ll find a collection of family heirlooms from the owners, as well as period apparel and additional relics of the plantation’s history.
Various displays throughout the plantation highlight the lives of enslaved people, both Creole and American, and how they spent their days at the plantation. See documents and rare photographs that bring their stories to life. One of the people you can learn about is Creole brick mason, Edouard, who left the plantation to fight in the Union Army. Experience the Laura Plantation on a guided tour.