Louisiana has many
architectural types not seen in other areas of the
country. The plantation house is one of them. These
preserved gems are found all over the state,
particularly in the southern half of Louisiana. Of the
more than 600 remaining ones, here are some that are
open to the public for tours. If you are planning a
visit to Louisiana, be sure to see at least one of these
Situated in the Longfellow Evangeline State
Commemorative Area, this lovely Creole raised
cottage was built in 1765 by Chevalier M D'Hauterive.
It now serves as a museum to the Acadian lifestyle.
P.O Box 497, St Martinville, La 70582.
||Arlington Located on
beautiful Bayou Teche, Arlington was built about
1855 and is set at the end of circular drive amid
magnolia, palm and evergreen trees. Four fluted
Corinthian columns stand in front of a two-story
portico. They are open to tours by appointment. 56 E
Main St, Franklin, La 70538.
Visitor center for Chalmette National Historic Park,
this house was built in the classical style in 1840.
Also known as "Bueno Retiro", the house later took
its present name from Judge Rene R Beauregard. A
great view of the park can be had from the
balconies. 8606 St Bernard Hwy, Chalmette, La 70043.
Called variously Greenwood, Butler-Greenwood, and
Ventress, this National Register 1790's house is a
bit different from other plantation houses in that
it looks more Victorian than Creole. Thus it
contains many Victorian furnishings, including Louis
XV rosewood furniture. 8345 U.S. Hwy 61, St
Francisville, La 70775.
||Catalpa. Catalpa is
owned by Mamie Fort Thompson, a descendant of the
original owners who built it in 1885 in a thick
grove of oak trees. A 30 acre garden contains many
species of native plants and trees, and the house is
filled with exceptional antiques. U.S. Hwy 61, St
Hypolite Chretian III built this
house of blood red brick in 1830 with the help of
500 slaves. The mansion, located near Sunset on a
secluded 20-acre estate, has a great many tales of
murder and mayhem, including ghosts. Jean Lafitte
was a frequent visitor. Route 1, Box 163, Sunset, La
Located on an important road, the Cottage was often
used as a rest stop for weary travellers. It is
actually comprised of a series of buildings erected
from 1795 to 1859 around an original structure. Now
a bed and breakfast, it hosted Andrew Jackson in
1815. 10528 Cottage Lane, St Francisville, La 70775.
Located just a few miles above New Orleans on the
Great River Road, this historic mansion was built in
the West-Indies style in 1787 by Robert Antoine
Robin de Logny. It boasts many ghosts, and Jean
Lafitte supposedly hid treasure in the walls. It is
run by the River Road Historical Society. 9999 River
Road, Destrehan, La
||Greenwood One of the
largest and most beautiful of the plantation houses,
Greenwood was built in 1830 by William Ruffin Barrow
in the classic Greek style. It escaped damage during
the Civil War only to be struck by lightning in 1960
and almost completely burned to the ground. It was
just recently restored from the original plans. 6838
Highland Rd, St Francisville, La 70775.
||The Hermitage This
Greek revival mansion was built in 1812 by Marius
Pons Bringier as a wedding gift for his son Michel
and named for his hero Andrew Jackson's home in
Nashville. It is one of the few remaining
classically-styled mansions with original
brick-between-posts walls, another being Destrehan
plantation. The house is open by appointment. River
Rd (Hwy 942), Darrow, La 70725.
Named for the Houmas Indians of the area, the house
was built in 1840 by Col John Smith Preston of South
Carolina. It was later purchased for $750,000 by
John Burnside, whom the local town is named for. It
has a separate 18th century house behind it
connected by a carriageway. 40136 La 942, Burnside/Darrow,
reds, greens and golds used to restore this lovely
house are part of the original color scheme from the
house's construction in 1805. Legend has it that the
original Brer Rabbit stories were invented by a
slave from this huge plantation, whose outbuildings
are also being restored. 2247 La 18, Vacherie, La
||Live Oaks Call for
an appointment to visit Live Oaks Plantation and
you'll be treated to a wonderful tour of a lovely
1838 house and grounds. Six square pillars support
the two story galleries of this beautiful house set
in a grove of live oaks. A small slave church is
located on the grounds. P.O. Box 202, Rosedale, La
||Loyd Hall Many
legends surround this house, including how it got
its name. One tells about a member of the famous
Lloyds of London purchasing the mansion and changing
his name. The house was built in 1810 and contains a
few ghosts, as many of these homes do. It is now a
bed and breakfast. 292 Loyd Bridge Road, Cheneyville,
Hoping to build a bigger and better house than his
brother down the street, Col Thomas Pugh built
Madewood in 1840. It boasts an impressive Ionic
portico and a third story ballroom, in addition to
complementing Greek revival wings on either side.
Stay overnight here and you will be treated as the
Colonel once did his guests. 4250 La 308,
Napoleonville, La 70390.
||Magnolia Mound Built
on an Indian mound and constructed from moss and mud
by John Joyce of Fort Mobile in 1791, the house is
owned by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana.
Indigo, cotton and sugar were all grown on this
plantation. The house features hand carved woodwork
and heavy planked floors. 2161 Nicholson Dr, Baton
Rouge, La 70802.
||Mount Hope Mount
Hope is located on one of the most beautiful roads
in Louisiana, with its rolling hills, huge estates,
and thick trees. It was built about 1817 and is a
beautiful example of the small Greek revival/raised
cottage style so prevalent in distant New Orleans.
8151 Highland Rd, Baton Rouge, La 70808.
Built in an oak grove in 1795 by Gen David Bradford,
but later named after the profusion of crepe myrtles
around, The Myrtles claims the title of the most
haunted house in America. It is of unusual design
because of the single long porch with lacey New
Orleans type ironwork. U.S. 61 North, St
Francisville, La 70775.
Called the "white castle" when it was first built,
Nottaway is the largest plantation house in
Louisiana and perhaps in the South, with 53,000
square feet of living space, 50 rooms, 200 windows,
and the 65 foot long white ballroom, one of the
largest in the state. It was also one of the first
to have gas and running water. P.O. Box 160,
Whitecastle, La 70788.
||Oak Alley Probably the best known
of all Louisiana plantations because of its double
row of 28 300 year-old liveoak trees, Oak Alley was
constructed in 1836 by Jacques Roman'. It's original
name was Bon Secour, which means "pleasant visit",
but the current name stuck after someone noted the
300-yard long rows of trees resembled an alley. 3645
La 18, Vacherie, La 70090.
||Oaklawn Manor The Battle of Irish
Bend took place near here during the Civil War, but
this grand old home emerged unscathed. Built in 1827
by Judge Alexander Porter, one of the founders of
Louisiana, it is currently owned by the family of
Governor Mike Foster. A winding driveway leads
through the beautiful grounds to the magnificent
portico. 3296 E Oaklawn Dr, Franklin, La
||Oakley Plantation House John
James Audubon was a regular visitor here, where he
tutored the owner James Pirrie's young daughter
Eliza and made his famous wildlife sketches,
especially the birds of the Feliciana country. The
home was built by Ruffin Gray in 1795-99 but after
he passed on, his widow married Mr Pirrie. P.O. Box
546, St Francisville, La 70775.
||Ormond. Ormond's builder was
Pierre Trepagnier, who served under Gov Bernardo de
Galvez in his defeat of the British in 1789.
Trepagnier built his home in the late 1790s but soon
disappeared mysteriously afterward. The next owner,
Colonel Richard Butler, named the house Ormond after
his ancestral home in Ireland. The house is
supposedly haunted. 13786 River Road, Destrehan, La
||Parlange Of Louisiana
Colonial/West Indies design very popular in it's
day, Parlange was built in 1750 by the Marquis
Vincent de Ternant and is one of the oldest of
Louisiana's plantations. It supposedly had three
different treasures of gold and silver buried on the
property. The galleries were used as soldiers'
sleeping quarters during the Civil War. 8211 False
River Rd, New Roads, La
||Pitot House Pitot House is
currently owned by the Louisiana Landmarks Society,
and it also serves as their headquarters.
Construction was begun in 1799 by Don Bartholome
Bosque but wasn't completed until about 1805 by a
later owner. It was sold in 1810 to the first mayor
of New Orleans, James Pitot. 1440 Moss St, New
Orleans, La 70119.
||Poplar Grove Although not an
antebellum house, Poplar Grove is nonetheless an
impressive plantation mansion with its Oriental
style and beautiful setting. It was originally built
for 1884 World's Industrial and Cotton Exposition in
New Orleans, and was moved upriver to its present
location in 1886. Rows of plantation cabins and an
old sugar mill still remain. 3142 N River Rd, Port
||Rosedown Probably the area's most
renown plantation home, Rosedown draws visitors from
all around the country. Whether they come to see the
exquisite architecture or interior furnishings of
this 1835 mansion, or just to stroll through the
formal gardens with its arbors, gazebos and
fountains, Rosedown never fails to impress. 12501 La
10, St Francisville, La 70775.
||San Francisco The name of this
ornately designed house is a corruption of the
original name, Sans Frusquin, which loosely
translated at the time as "down to my last red
cent", referring to the cost of building the house.
It was built in 1850 by Edmond Marmillion in unique
"Steamboat gothic" style, with a peach and blue
color scheme. P.O. Drawer AX, Reserve, La 70084.
||Shadows on the Teche Another
popular house for visitors, Shadows was built on the
banks of the Bayou Teche by David Weeks in 1831 with
the help of slave artisans. It has been written
about more than any other plantation of Louisiana
and is currently designated a National Trust for
Historic Preservation Masterplace. 317 E Main St,
New Iberia, La 70560.
||Southdown Plantation House
Southdown is one the few remaining plantation
museums in Louisiana. It was built as a one-story
house in 1858 by William Minor, but a second story
was added in 1893 and the house acquired it's
present appearance. Inside the foot-thick walls are
art and artifacts from Terrebonne Parish's history.
P.O. Box 2095, Houma, La 70361.
||Tezcuco This large Creole cottage
has rooms with 15 foot ceilings and takes its name,
which means resting place, from an Aztec village and
lake in Mexico. It was built in 1855 by Benjamin
Tureaud, a veteran of the Mexican wars, and it too
is unusual because of the New Orleans style
ironwork. 3138 La 44, Darrow, La 70725.
||Albania Plantation House On
lovely Bayou Teche in a grove of live oaks is this
lovely home built by Charles Grevemberg from
1837-1842 with native cypress from the plantation
and red clay from the bayou. The house contains many
unique furnishings, including a spiral staircase
imported from France.
||Ardoyne Ardoyne was built by John
P Shaffer in 1897 from a castle he had seen in
Scotland. His "castle", however, was built of
cypress instead of stone, and finished in Victorian
Gothic style. The ceiling and stairway in the center
hall feature inlaid wood. The descendants of Shaffer
still live in the house.
||Ashland/Belle Helene Ashland is
one of the stars of the plantation lineup, having
been used in several motion pictures. It was built
in 1841 by Duncan Kenner, of unusual architecture
for a Louisiana plantation house. Massive square
pillars adorn all four sides, the roofline hidden by
the massive entablature. Thanks to its new owner,
Shell Oil, it is now closed to the public.
||Belle Alliance The centerpiece of
a once huge 7000-acre sugar plantation, Belle
Alliance now reposes in faded grandeur under oaks
and magnolias on the bank of Bayou Lafourche. Built
in 1846 by a Belgian aristocrat, Charles Kock, it
combined the Greek revival with French Quarter
features. Ruins of the sugar house remain nearby.
||Kenilworth This house features
many stories of ghosts, among those being a headless
man. The home was built in 1759 by Pierre Antoine
Bienvenue. The house features 18 inch walls and
massive wrought iron bolts.
||Rienzi Records indicate that this
house was built in 1796 as a refuge/retreat for
Queen Maria Louisa of Spain, who, in case the French
Revolution and it's guillotine spread to Spain, was
prepared to flee her country. It was later owned by
the founder of Thibodaux, Henry S Thibodaux.
"Photos published with
the kind permission of Jerry Ripberger of LA Images"