Nestled between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is an escape into the 18th and 19th century with Destrehan Plantation and Houmas House Estate and Gardens. Both located on the historic River Road, these plantations have survived wars, floods, abandonment and the test of time.
Built in 1787, by Charles Parquet, a free man of color, Destrehan Plantation remains the oldest documented plantation in the southern Mississippi Valley. Only 25 minutes away from New Orleans and 10 minutes away from the New Orleans International Airport, Destrehan Plantation is located on land known as the German Coast where German immigrants settled in St. Charles Parish. The plantation is rich in Louisiana history and is known for notable events that effected it such as the 1811 Slave Revolt, the Civil War, and the Freedman’s Bureau/Rost Home Colony. Guests are offered a guided tour by a costumed interpreter of a slave cabin and the plantation home. Guests can view an original document signed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison appointing owner Jean-Noel Destrehan as territorial council. The job of the council decided how the territorial state of Louisiana would be organized and to write the state laws. After the tour, there is a folk-life demonstration and guests can self-explore the grounds housing majestic live oaks draped in Spanish moss, dependency buildings such as an overseer’s cabin, outdoor kitchen and the Taylor barn sugar museum. There is a Plantation Store with hand-crafted items by local artisans. Private events are available in the Mule Barn accommodating up to 300 people. Experience this living history museum! Destrehan Plantation is open Monday through Thursday, 9 am until 4:30 pm and Friday through Sunday from 9 am until 5:30 pm with the exception of major holidays. Visit them at destrehanplantation.org
A short drive from Destrehan Plantation is Houmas House Estate and Gardens. This historic estate boasts 38 acres of the South’s most beautiful gardens, three restaurants, a luxurious Inn and a historic mansion. The guided mansion tour leads guests through the architectural evolution of the mansion and details how a succession of owners and the Mississippi River grew this manor house to today’s grand estate. Period antiques, artwork and artifacts help costumed interpreters tell the story of plantation life. After guests can relax with a refreshing mint julep from the famous Turtle Bar. Enjoy the breeze off the Mississippi River and navigate through the shadow of ancient oaks. The gift shop features unique art, gifts, and collectable memorabilia. Private events are their specialty. From weddings to corporate parties, Houmas House and Gardens can accommodate groups from 25-1000 in one of our many ballrooms, courtyards, and gardens. Offering three restaurants, an Inn, mansion and dining, Houmas House is a complete plantation destination. Embrace the Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road at your own pace and experience the South the way it was meant to be. Houmas House and Gardens is open 7 days a week from 9 am – 8 pm with the exception of major holidays. Visit them at HoumasHouse.com