Beyond Louisiana’s enchanting landscapes lie sumptuous plantations, testimony to a part of the state’s history.
For beyond the past splendor of these buildings, these properties cannot conceal the dark memories of slavery.
These treasures of antebellum architecture rub shoulders with serious echoes of the past. Among all these old plantations open to visitors, you’ll have to make a choice: which plantations to visit?
To help you choose, here are 3 suggestions of plantations to visit following our stays in Louisiana, as well as our tips for organizing your visits.
Get ready to plunge into the past, where Louisiana reveals its best-kept secrets.
In this article
- Tips for organizing your visits
- Our suggestions of plantations to visit in Louisiana
Tips for organizing your visits
Where are the majority of plantations in Louisiana located?
Plantations can be found all over the state, along the Mississippi, but the most visited plantations are between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, along the Great River Road.
The ones we suggest in this article are about 1 hour’s drive from New Orleans.
How to get around to visit the plantations?
For greater flexibility, the car is the best way to get around the plantations, especially since parking is so easy. Actually, a visit to the plantations is a must for any roadtrip to Louisiana.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to drive, there are many guided plantation tours available. Some also combine plantation tours with an excursion into the bayou:
If you choose to go by cab or Uber, make sure you have transportation for the return trip, as it can be difficult to find cabs from the plantations.
How many plantations should you visit?
We suggest you visit a maximum of two or three plantations, especially in one day. To fully immerse yourself in the surroundings, the saying “less is more” applies here.
Tours are emotionally charged, and while each plantation has its own story, tours can end up looking the same if you do too much at once.
Good to know: plantation visits usually include a guided tour. Ask about departure times and, if possible, reserve your place in advance or as soon as you arrive, as some tours may be fully booked during busy periods.
Our suggestions of plantations to visit in Louisiana
With its creole style and its brightly colored main house, Laura Plantation stands out from other plantations.
Built in 1805, this plantation showcases some of the work carried out by the slaves who once lived here.
In addition to the main house, Laura has preserved several of the original slave cabins.
The interesting guided tour is based on Laura Locoul Gore’s memoirs of her family’s history, as well as extensive research.
The tour tells the story of a Creole family in the days of slavery, and the challenges faced by Creoles following the sale of Louisiana.
The visit also looks at the lives of bonded laborers on the estate. To complete your visit, there is a small museum depicting the lives of the slaves and their descendants who lived there.
Guided tours are available in French.
2247 Highway 18, Vacherie
Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley is probably the most visited plantation in Louisiana.
The tour is well organized, and we suggest you start inside the big house for a glimpse into the life of the masters, before exploring the slave quarters and gardens.
Several small exhibitions are held on site, ranging from the life of slaves to the cultivation of sugar cane.
You’ll learn more about the living conditions of slaves and the inhumane treatment to which they were subjected.
Seeing the metal chains and handcuffs used by slaves, adults and children alike, is bloodcurdling.
The plantation is also famous for its avenue of centuries-old oak trees (which you can also see from the road if you don’t want to take the tour).
On the other hand, the plantation is obviously a victim of its own success. Yes, it’s busy and lacks the intimacy of other plantations.
This can make the visit seem like an amusement park, but that wasn’t the case when we visited.
Oak Alley Plantation
3645 Highway 18 (Great River Road), Vacherie
Whitney Plantation also stands out from the other plantations you can visit, because the focus is exclusively on the slaves and their daily lives, without watering down any details.
Instead of showing off the opulence and splendour of the masters’ lives, they tell the story at its darkest and most dramatic.
The plantation tour will undoubtedly move you the most.
5099 Louisiana Hwy 18, Edgard