Posted by: Mae Mayeux
Majestic plantation homes reflecting the antebellum grandeur of the Old South are some of the attractions tourists most want to see when they come to South Louisiana. There are many plantations along the Mississippi River, and some are our member bed and breakfasts. Here are 6 River Road Plantations to tour. Don’t forget your camera!
Located just outside the city of New Orleans on the East Bank of the Mississippi River stands Destrehan Plantation, the oldest documented plantation home in the lower Mississippi Valley. Established in 1787, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is surrounded by moss-draped Live Oaks. Experience the rich history of Louisiana when French was the language and sugar drove the economy. Daily tours are available.
San Francisco Plantation
This grand plantation known as The Most Opulent Plantation in the South, indeed all of North America, is also located on the East Bank of the Mississippi River. The galleried house is of the Creole open suite style, nestled under centuries-old Live Oak Trees and it contains one of the finest antique collections in the country. In 1827, Elisée Rillieux, a free man of color, began buying tracts of land and slaves to establish a sugar plantation in St. John the Baptist Parish. The house was completed in 1855. The house, when viewed from certain angles, resembles the ornate and graceful structure of a Mississippi riverboat. Daily tours are offered.
Houmas House Plantation and Gardens
Known as the Crown Jewel of the River Road, tour and experience the Southern splendor of “The Sugar Palace” with 16 rooms filled with period antiques and Louisiana artwork. The home itself is a masterpiece, but the gardens surrounding the home are something to behold! The original owners of the property were the Houmas Indians who sold it to Maurice Conway and Alexander Latil in the 1700s. The original French Provincial house that Latil erected on the property, later used as living quarters for the staff that served the great house, is situated directly behind the Mansion, adjoined by a carriageway to the grand home. The Mansion was completed in 1828. Daily tours are available.
Nottoway Plantation Resort
Situated on the Western Banks of the Mississippi River, this magnificent plantation is located 25 miles from Baton Rouge. The 1850’s sugarcane estate is the home of the South’s largest existing antebellum mansion, completed in 1859 with 53,000 square feet of extravagant features. White columns and grand balconies adorn the south side of this mansion which overlooks the Mississippi River and River Road. The spectacular three-story Rotunda overlooks sweeping oak-draped lawns to the north. Daily tours available.
Oak Alley Plantation
Known as the Grande Dame of the River Road, this plantation is located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Oak Alley remains a testimony to a bygone era. The most awe-inspiring feature of this plantation is the alley of 300 year-old Live Oak trees which stretch from the River Road of the Mississippi River to the home itself, and behind the home as well. It is one of the most photographed places in Louisiana. Tours are conducted daily.
Laura Plantation is a totally different type of plantation from those listed above as it is a Creole Plantation. Though not as majestic in its grandeur, the story told here is well worth the tour. While the home is beautiful and interesting, the story of the home and property focuses on the Creole Family Saga of centuries of human habitation that took place on this site. The tour is a lesson in the history of a Creole Plantation which was acquired by the family in 1804. The sugar plantation was begun in 1805 with 7 slaves. Tours offered daily.
These 6 River Road Plantations are the most well-known, but there are many others on both sides of the Mississippi River which are well-worth touring. The Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Association has several member bed and breakfasts from Baton Rouge to New Orleans which provide comfortable accommodations in relatively close proximity for touring the plantations. Some of the plantations are also bed and breakfasts. Create a memorable vacation and book your stay today.