For centuries, wooden wagons rumbled from fields to river docks and the sweet smell of sugarcane filled the sub-tropical air. The muddy Mississippi flowed past hundreds of plantations creating empires of wealth, icons of architecture, and bastions of culture.
Throughout the South, you can still see the farmsteads, homes, restaurants and inns of America's historic past. We invite you to tour, shop, dine, sleep and enjoy the full richness and diversity of Louisiana's and Mississippi's history by visiting the seven plantations highlighted on this tour. Begin your journey now by purchasing the WAFB 2019 Plantation Tour Card.
With the purchase of the card, you will receive one general admission tour to each of these seven locations: Houmas House and Gardens, San Francisco Plantation, Rosedown Plantation, Oakley House Plantation, St. Joseph Plantation, Magnolia Hall and House on Ellicott Hill.
The "Crown Jewel of Louisiana's River Road" awaits your arrival. Houmas House reflects its history as once the largest sugarcane plantation in America and its owners amongst the wealthiest in the South. Extensive renovations have recently returned the Mansion to the period reflecting the Great Sugar Empire of the 1800's.
Visit the only "Grand Mansion" on the River Road to be authentically restored. From the elaborate Gingerbread work, to the five hand painted ceilings, she has truly earned her place as the most opulent Plantation in the South.
Daniel and Martha Turnbull began construction on the main house at Rosedown Plantation in 1834, completing it by May the following year. At its largest, Rosedown Plantation comprised approximately 3,455 acres, the majority of which was planted in cotton. The gardens were the province of Martha Turnbull throughout her life. The gardens grew out from the house over a span of many decades, to cover approximately 28 acres. In the 19th century, Rosedown was one of the few privately maintained formal gardens in the United States. A surprising amount of the furnishings purchased by the Turnbulls remained with the house during the years after the Civil War and many original pieces are still on display at Rosedown. The armoire from the Henry Clay suite was recently returned to the house, on loan from the Office of State Museum.
PJ Hahn image ©2018, courtesy Louisiana State Parks
Oakley House, where John James Audubon stayed in 1821, is a splendid example of colonial architecture adapted to its climate. Built circa 1806, Oakley predates the relatively heavy details of classic revival in Southern plantation homes and claims distinction for its beautiful simplicity. The rooms of Oakley have been restored in the style of the late Federal Period (1790-1830), reflecting their appearance when Audubon stayed there. Two slave cabins, located a short distance from the rear of the house, give a glimpse into the laborers' way of life on the plantation. These cabins provide the backdrop for programs highlighting the impact of African Americans in developing early America. Restored formal and kitchen gardens adjacent to the house demonstrate the early Louisiana plantation owners' tendency to re-create formal beauty in their wilderness environment.
“Authentic” best describes St. Joseph, a working Sugarcane Plantation. Our family invites you in for a relaxed, intimate visit to tour our ancestral home, grounds, and dependencies. Experience rich history and many exhibits sure to give you a glimpse into life on a sugar plantation.
Family owned since 1877 (post Civil War), many docents are actual family members, adding their own personal touch to the tour.
Thomas Henderson, cotton planter and warehouse owner, had this townhouse mansion built in the center of Natchez. It is the last of its kind finished before the war started. Fired upon by a Union gunboat, a cannonball crashed into the kitchen wing.
Before cotton was king, this Federal-style home was one of the first built in the Natchez Territory. Sent by George Washington, Andrew Ellicott raised the American flag here for the first time in the Lower Mississippi Valley. This was the first architectural restoration and preservation project by a private organization in the State of Mississippi.