If you are heading to Louisiana, chances are that you will head to New Orleans. But, if you are looking for something to do outside the city, one of the things to do in Louisiana you may want to consider is to visit the plantations. The state has a reputation for being home to many beautiful, grand plantations. Here, I will focus on a few of the plantations along the Mississippi River to the west of New Orleans.
Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation is located on State Highway 18 in Vacherie. This plantation is named for the famed quarter-mile entrance that is neatly lined up on both sides with oak trees that are over 300 years old. The plantation was built in 1837 by Jacques Telesphore Roman. The plantation was known for its production of pecans from the trees. The pecan production was mastered by noted slave, Antoine.
The plantation was also known to grow sugarcane. This plantation is designed in the Greek Revival architectural style. There are Doric columns on all four sides of the building. The number of Doric columns is the same as the number of 300-year-old oak trees at the plantation. The building’s exterior walls have a stucco finish to them are are painted white to make them look like marble.
High ceilings and large windows are also notable features of this plantation. There is also a formal garden which was designed in the 1920’s. During your time at the plantation, you can tour the inside of the main residential building which is known as the big house. There will be costumed guides on hand who will walk you through each room of the building and tell you of its history.
An exhibit known as The Slavery Exhibit will tell you the story about how slave labor was relied upon to keep the plantation going. The lives of the slaves who worked at the plantation are also documented in this exhibit. You can also visit the Sugarcane Exhibit & Theatre, located onsite, and learn the details of how sugarcane was grown and processed at this plantation.
You can learn about how the American civil war affected this plantation by heading to the Civil War Tent onsite. The Blacksmith Shop is where you can go and learn about the forging of metalwork that took place at the plantation. You can also wander through the oak trees, visit the 1920’s-era formal garden, and check out the wide pastures where a pecan grove once stood.
The ticket prices for this plantation are $25 for adults, $10 for youth aged 13 to 18, and $7 for those aged 6 to 12. Those who are aged 5 and under get free admission.
Whitney Plantation is located on State Highway 18 in Wallace. This plantation was built in the 1750’s by a Germany immigrant named Ambroise Haydel. Ambroise and his descendants owned the plantation until the 1860’s when Marie Azelie Haydel was the last descendant to own the plantation. Sugarcane and rice were the focus of cultivation at this plantation.
The plantation is designed in the raised Creole architectural style and is well known for its decorative wall paintings on both its exterior and interior. It is considered to be one of the best preserved Creole plantations in the area. The main residential building houses seven rooms on each floor along with a full length gallery in the front and open loggia in the rear.
In addition to the main house, there are many outbuildings at the plantation. These include a church, an original kitchen building, a saddle storage shed, a watering trough for mules, a mule barn and feed storage building, slave quarters, and more. During your time at the plantation, you will be learning all about the slaves that worked there and what their lives were like.
The slaves weren’t just limited to growing sugarcane and rice. They did many other things for the master and his/her family. They cleaned the main house. They cooked the meals. They built the outbuildings. They drove them around the plantation grounds. They served as midwives handling the births. These are just a few things that the slaves did for their master and his/her family.
Roles given to the slaves at this plantation were based on their gender. For example, the males would do the gardening while the females would do cooking. Also, each of the master’s children were given a personal female slave to meet their personal needs. There are three memorials at the plantation that honor the slaves who worked there.
The three memorials are The Field of Angels, The Wall of Honor, and Allees Gwendolyn Midlo Hall. The admission prices for this plantation are $25 for adults, $11 for children aged 6 to 18, $23 for students, seniors, and military members, and $15 for those of you who are residents of the parish where this plantation is located. Free admission is for those who are aged under 6. You can get your tickets here.
San Francisco Plantation
San Francisco Plantation is located on State Highway 44 in Garyville. This plantation was built in 1856 by Edmond Marmillion. Even though the Marmillion family had success with growing sugarcane at the plantation, all was not well with the family.
During their ownership of the plantation, the Marmillion family was besieged by multiple family deaths of the wife and most of the children from a disease called tuberculosis. This plantation is built in the Steamboat Gothic architectural style. This plantation is known for its beautiful paintings of the ceilings and door panels. The exterior of the plantation also resembles a layer cake.
The plantation uses two different kind of columns. The first kind is the brick columns which are found on the first floor of the exterior. The second kind is the fluted wood columns with cast-iron Corinthian capitals found on the exterior second floor. In addition to the main house, there is also a 1830’s-era slave cabin and a 1840’s-era one-room schoolhouse. A gift shop is also located onsite.
The admission prices to this plantation are $20 for adults, $19 for AAA, $16 for military members, and $10 for students aged 6 to 17. Free admission is given to those aged 5 and under. You can buy the tickets by going here.
If you are looking for things to do in Louisiana just outside of New Orleans, you may want to consider venturing a little bit west of the city to check out these beautiful plantations. The grounds at all of these plantations are nice. These plantations are within around an hour drive west of the city.
If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your visit to Louisiana, I am happy to help you out with this. These two hotels are located in the far west New Orleans suburb of LaPlace.
Hampton Inn LaPlace
This hotel is located on Main Street in LaPlace. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If you get hungry, a few of the restaurants nearby are Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar, El Paso, and Mabile’s Restaurant. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and mini refrigerators.
The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $103 to $234. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites LaPlace
This hotel is located on US Highway 51 in LaPlace. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you are looking to dine out, you may want to consider Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar, El Paso, and Mabile’s Restaurant. If you are looking to cook out, there are barbeque facilities available outdoors at the hotel. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center.
All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $112 to $197. You can explore your booking options and/or check out some photos by going here.
So, what are your thoughts? Are you looking to check out any of these gorgeous plantations? Feel free to leave a comment here.