New Orleans Plantation Country: African American Heritage in Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana, is a must-visit holiday destination, but did you know that just an hour from the city there’s another destination worth an entire trip of its own? New Orleans Plantation Country has a multitude of stunning historic homes.
With so many plantations in the region you might think that once you’ve visited one, you’ve experienced them all. But that’s really not the case. Each plantation has its own unique personality, is restored to different levels and allows you to learn about different subjects through the tours offered at each property. I felt like I stepped back in time as I explored some of the important African American heritage sites in New Orleans Plantation Country.
Laura: A Creole Plantation
The tours at Laura Plantation bring you into the world of Laura Lacoul Gore, who ran the property as a sugar plantation until the late 1800s. This home has an entirely different look and feel than many of the plantations on the Great River Road, with brighter colours and distinct French Creole flair. The guides here are really captivating, making the history of Laura and her family come alive during a 70-minute tour recounting seven generations of family stories.
Laura Plantation is best known not only as one of the best tours in the state, but also as the site where, in the 1870s, folklorist Alcee Fortier began recording the West African tales of former slaves. These stories were later published and became the famous “Tales of Br’er Rabbit.”
Evergreen Plantation, with its majestic, swooping double staircases, is the most intact plantation complex in the South and where the Quentin Tarantino’s movie “Django Unchained” was filmed.
There are 37 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places including 22 slave cabins in their original configuration. It is quite something to see, especially to know that sugarcane workers lived in these quarters until 1947 – the plantation was reliant on slave labour and, later, the work of freed slaves to continue operations.
Today, Evergreen is still a working sugar plantation. Be sure to walk amid the 200-year-old live oak trees, a spectacular scene on this remarkable, historic plantation.
B & C Seafood Market for Lunch
The legacy of mixed cultures is present in the Louisiana’s famous food. The mixture of Spanish, French, African and Caribbean influences led to the creation of new and delicious cooking styles such as Cajun and Creole cuisine. The B & C Seafood Market and Cajun Restaurant really did an excellent job with its dishes of shrimp, gumbo and potato with prawn salad. The restaurant was full of loyal local customers as well as returning tourists. Everyone was very friendly.
New Orleans Plantation Country is a destination so close to the big city, and yet a world and a whole time period away. The diverse, beautiful sites will truly capture your heart as they did mine.