10 Best Plantations in New Orleans for History Tours
Oh, sweet New Orleans, how we love you so! Beyond the French Quarter, the famous restaurants, and great parties, the Big Easy is also home to some of the most spectacular and historic real estate in the nation. Indeed, the best plantations in New Orleans for history are several. Oak trees, unique craftsman architecture, and a rich past make these plantations a must see for anyone visiting the city.
Not sure which plantation to choose? No worries, we here at TripShock have put together the 10 Best Plantations in New Orleans for History Tours! Choose one or more of the following New Orleans plantations for an unforgettable trip.
Once you figure out which plantation tour you want to try on your next trip to New Orleans, use the promo code PLANT13 to save 10% on dozens of plantation tours featured on TripShock.com including some featured in this blog.
Table of Contents
- Laura Plantation
- Oak Alley Plantation
- Houmas House
- San Francisco Plantation
- St. Joseph Plantation
- Destrehan Plantation
- Whitney Plantation
- Nottoway Plantation
- Ormond Plantation
- Bocage Plantation
- Visit New Orleans Plantation Country
1. Laura Plantation
The Laura Plantation Big House contains antiques, artwork, and a maze of intricately decorated rooms
Laura Plantation is named after it's owner, Laura Locoul, who lived to almost 100 years old! Originally purchased by Laura's family in 1804, this 200 plus year old sugar plantation boasts 3 spectacular gardens, an eye-popping paint job, and beautiful architectural accents.
According to the official site of the plantation, lauraplantation.com, Laura Plantation was originally called l'Habitation Duparc until founder, Guillaume Duparc, renamed the property Laura Plantation. At one time, the sugar farm was an absolutely massive property spanning 12,000 acres. Now adays Laura Plantation is approximately 37 acres and includes original slave quarters, tools, and the Big House plantation home.
2. Oak Alley Plantation
1/4 mile long alley leading to Oak Alley Estate
The Old South comes alive at Oak Alley Plantation. Perhaps one of the most iconic landscapes in America, the Oak Valley Plantation features a quarter-mile long alley of symmetrically planted Oak trees leading up to the estate.
This plantation was also home to a famous slave named Antoine, who was a master of grafting. His skill and experimentation produced a pecan species whose nut was able to be cracked by hand!
This photo of the oaks at Oak Alley Plantation was taken by a traveler - Read About Their Experience at Oak Alley
Many of the incredible features of Oak Alley like the luxurious home, striking entrance, and hauntingly beuatiful grounds, made the property the perfet setting for some of your favorite films and TV shows. If you want to find out which films Oak Alley and other plantations in New Orleans have appeared in, check out our blog highlighting the most popular plantations featured in film.
3. Houmas House
Houmas House's vibrant gardens surrounding the home mesmerize travelers world-wide
Houmas House Plantation was once the largest sugar plantation in the world. Recent updates to both the gardens and the mansion itself means a storybook setting that you have to see to believe! The grounds are fully equipped with some of the most valuable, highly sought after pieces of art and antiques in America.
This picturesque plantation was named after the Houma people, a Native American civilization that inhabited New Orleans Plantation Country leading up to the 19th century (cdn.lov.gov). Several notable historic events took place at Houmas including the duel of Daniel Clark and Governor William C. C. Claiborne in 1807.
The flowers and plants seen on a Houmas House Guided Tour
Today, lovers of all things beautiful and historic visit Houmas House for the lush gardens, ravishing estate, and Cafe Burnside, a bar/restaurant serving classic Cajun/Creole dishes and drinks including po-boys, crawfish etouffee, and bread pudding. Learn more about Cafe Burnside in our TripShock article covering Plantation Restuarants in New Orleans.
4. San Francisco Plantation
San Francisco's multiple levels paired with stark blues and whites resemble a wedding cake
The Grand Mansion at San Francisco Plantation will amaze you with it's opulent gingerbread work and hand-painted ceilings. In fact, the plantation is so stunning it inspired famous author Frances Parkinson Keyes to pen her Mississippi River novel "Steamboat Gothic."
Tours of San Francisco include costumed guides, preserved slave quarters, and a collection of antiques, tools, and furniture from the days when sugar was king.
5. St. Joseph
St. Joseph Plantation is revered for its large white pillars seen from both the front and the back
Birthplace to the famous 19th century architect H. H. Richardson, St. Joseph Plantation is 2,500 acres of historical magic and natural beauty. The grounds include original slave cabins, a detached kitchen, artisan shops, and even a schoolhouse!
Guests can enjoy a tour of this historic site with a member of the family as they guide you through the mansion and surrounding areas. Tours of St. Joseph Plantation delve into not only the history of the home and property, but also South Louisiana's sugar cane industry.
6. Destrehan Plantation
Destrehan Plantation is the closest to New Orleans, LA
Located on the historic River Road, Destrehan Plantation dates back to 1787. The Destrehan's sugar plantation was hugely successful and one of the contributing factors to Louisiana Statehood. In fact, the property is home to Orleans Territory Council documents signed by then President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison!
If you're looking for a quick trip to Plantation Country from New Orleans, Destrehan is located only about 30 minutes from the city of New Orleans by automobile. This close proximity makes Destrehan Plantation the closest plantation to New Orleans hotels, condos, airBNB's, and attractions.
This restored slave cabin is one of many found at Destrehan Plantation
Tours of this lush green plantation, its moss draped Live Oaks, and mystical surrounding waters make Destrehan a prime destination for not only plantation tours, but swamp tours too! Visit nearby swamps to see gators, snakes, and ancient landscapes during your trip out to Destrehan.
7. Whitney Plantation
Whitney Plantation is one of the fames River Road Plantations
Whitney is one of the best plantations in New Orleans for history with it's in-depth looks at slavery on Louisiana sugar plantations. Both eye-opening and emotional, this River Road plantation features multiple museum exhibits, memorial artwork, and narratives written by the slaves themselves.
If you are searching for a plantation tour highlighting the days of slavery, Whitney may just be your #1 choice. Whitney Plantation is the first U.S. museum dedicated to the history of slavery (nola.com). The Whitney tour shows heart-wrenching devices including cages and chains, shining a spotlight on the conditions in which slaves survived.
8. Nottoway Plantation
The ornate estate of Nottoway Plantation
Come experience the South's largest antebellum home at Nottoway! This Greek and Italianate style “White Castle” was completed in 1859 and features 53,000 square feet and 64 rooms. The construction of Nottoway was funded by John Hampden Randolph, a sugar planter, who sought to build the finest mansion on the Mississippi River.
Like many plantations, it changed hands multiple times between then and now. This granduose mansion survived the Civil War, as well as several other historic events, but nevertheless still stands to this day!
9. Ormond Plantation
Image from neworleans.com
U.S. Army Colonel Richard Butler bought this fantastic plantation home from it's original owner in 1805 and named it "Ormond" after his ancestral Castle Ormonde in Ireland. Originally built in the late 1700's, Ormond Plantation is surrounded by a grove of mossy Cypress and Oak trees. Today, it plays host to a variety of historic tours, weddings, and special events.
10. Bocage Plantation
Bocage Plantation estate - image courtesy of Bocage Plantation Facebook
Bocage Plantation was originally a wedding gift from planter Marius Pons Bringier to his daughter, Francoise Bringierin 1801. She was only 14 years old at the time! Bringier married Frenchman Chrisophe Colomb, who claimed to be a relative to Christopher Columbus. The home underwent a marvelous Creole-esque renovation project in 1837, and it's beauty continues to shine bright to this very day.
This stunning plantation has gone through many transitions over the years. From family estate, to attraction, to event venue, the future is still uncertain for Bocage. As of October 2019, Bocage Plantation is listed as closed and for sale according to multiple travel and real estate sources.
Visit New Orleans Plantation Country
With historic plantations, mysterious swamp lands, and some of the finest Creole and Cajun dining in all of Louisiana, Plantation Country is the perfect destination for any occassion. Check out the best plantations in New Orleans and MORE with tours, attractions, and things to do from TripShock.com!
New Orleans Plantation Country News
Keeping you informed