Oakland Plantation, near Natchitoches, Louisiana, is a National Historic Landmark within The Cane River Creole National Historical Park. The park is located within the Cane River National Heritage Area in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The area extends westward from Interstate 49 to the Red River and includes everything in between.
The roots of Oakland Plantation can be traced to Jean Pierre Phillippe Prud’homme, a second generation Frenchman from the French province of Dauphine. Born in 1673, Jean Pierre became a soldier of France assigned to the French colony of Louisiana. At the age of 52, Jean Pierre married Catherine Picard and acquired part of the land that became Bermuda Plantation, now known as Oakland Plantation, through a land grant on the Red River. Jean Pierre and Catherine became parents of seven children, including Jean Baptiste Prud’homme, father of Jean Pierre Emmanuel Prud’homme who built Bermuda Plantation in 1821.
If you’re planning a trip along Louisiana’s Great River Road, you’re more than likely looking to tour old plantation homes. It’s Louisiana Plantation country so you have many homes to choose from. If you’re limited on time and can only choose one, I would highly recommend you visit and tour, Laura: A Creole Plantation. Unique French Creole architecture and an emphasis on history make this an exploration that’s worth your time when you’re in Louisiana!
I’ve toured countless homes here in the South but I’ve never experienced a historic tour like the one that you experience here at Laura. The tour guides are well versed in the history because there are so many historical records that allow the story of Laura to be told. According to Laura’s website, the tour is based on over 5,000 pages of documents from the French National Archives, Civil War Pension Records & Laura Locoul’s own memoirs.
The Avenue of Oaks at Evergreen Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana seemed familiar to me when I visited. I did a quick search on my phone and discovered scenes from many movies have been filmed here including Django Unchained. The plantation and the avenue of oaks are just off of the Great River Road in Louisiana.
San Francisco Plantation, established 1860. This plantation home is one of the most ornate in the South. The story goes that the French phrase “son saint-frusquin,” or “the shirt off his back,” was a description of what the construction of the house cost its first owner, Edmond Marmillion. This became mistranslated into San Francisco. The property and home is expansive and beautiful. You can opt for a guided tour of the home or, if you’re short on time, you can enjoy a self guided tour around the grounds.
Researchers at Laura Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana have been studying and interpreting the slave experience in Creole Louisiana for more than 20 years. It is a part of the history of the plantation and when you visit you will leave more informed about the slave experience on this plantation and their lives beyond the Emancipation Proclamation.
The tour is incredibly educational and really helps you to understand that although slaves were freed by the law of the land, their circumstances and ties to the plantations and lands where they worked didn’t allow many former slaves to experience freedom in their life.
Longwood, in Natchez, Mississippi, epitomizes the rise and fall of the antebellum south. It’s the only unfinished antebellum home in the country. The history of the home may explain why spirits of the former owners are said to linger here.
I host a podcast called Southern Mysteries and last March I dedicated an episode to this fascinating place. Listen to learn about the history of Longwood