Magnolia Plantation was established by Ambrose LeCompte II and his wife Julia Buard LeCompte in 1835. However, Magnolia’s early history is rooted in mid-1700s colonial Louisiana. In 1753, Jean Baptiste LeCompte I received a land grant on both sides of the Cane River laying the foundation for a cotton plantation unrivaled in the Cane River region.
After the Civil War and through the Civil Rights Movement Magnolia continued to function, though in a distinctly different way. Among the many challenges was establishing a new relationship with the formerly enslaved workers who remained on the plantation as sharecroppers, tenants, and day laborers. All of Magnolia’s residents worked to find a new level of social and economic understanding and accommodation. The plantation’s main house was rebuilt in the 1890s. Increasingly mechanization would replace the need for tenant farmers; what began in the 1930s was accelerated by World War II bringing the end of plantation agriculture at Magnolia. In spite of difficulties the African American community still maintains a strong presence in the Cane River region. Traditions rooted in African, French, Native American and Spanish influences give this area its character.
Today, 20 historic buildings remain at the Magnolia Plantation grounds. The store, overseer's house/hospital, blacksmith shop, tenant cabin, and gin barn are open to visitors. The main house is still privately owned and is not open to the public.
Last updated: April 23, 2020