Cover of the booklet "A Planter's Son Goes to War" featuring the photograph of Civil War Veteran J. Prud'homme
J. Prud'homme


A Planter’s Son Goes to War, written by park volunteer Thom Brennan, is a brief biography of Jacques Alphonse Prud'homme, focusing on his war time experiences. Grandson of Oakland Plantation founder Emmanuel Prud'homme, Alphonse survived the war and went on to inherit Oakland Plantation in 1865 upon the death of his father. Alphonse owned Oakland Plantation through the turbulent years of Reconstruction into the early 20th century.

A free copy of this booklet may be picked up at the Oakland Plantation Store.

The cover of the booklet "A Blacksmith's Son Goes to War" featuring a photograph of W. Smith who served as both a Civil War solider and one of the famed Buffalo soldiers.
W. Smith

The fascinating story of William Smith, the son of enslaved Oakland Plantation blacksmith Solomon Williams. During the Civil War, Smith escaped from plantation slavery and enlisted in the United States Army. At war’s end, Smith migrated to New Orleans, where he was one of the first to enlist in the 9th U.S. Cavalry, part of the famed Buffalo Soldiers. He served with the cavalry in west Texas during the tumultuous years of Reconstruction. After completing his military service, William Smith married and started a family. They were living in Galveston when it was struck by the worst hurricane in American history. Smith survived, and spent his final years in the delightful seaside town of Monterey, California. A Blacksmith's Son Goes to War was written by park volunteer Thom Brennan. For his efforts Thom received the 2016 National Park Service Southeast Region Hartzog Volunteer Award.

Pick up a free copy of the booklet at the Oakland Plantation Store.

Artist depiction of Magnolia Plantation
Depiction of Magnolia Plantation

NPS/Martin Pate

The institution of enslavement and the act of emancipation have left indelible imprints on many aspects of Cane River life, and the park has been working for many years to uncover the stories of all the people that lived on the plantation. Generations of the same families of workers lived on these lands for over two hundred years. Their labor sustained Oakland and Magnolia Plantations and contributed to the wealth of the planter families who founded the plantations.
Traditionally Associated People Report
Traditionally Associated People Report


Perhaps one of the most special aspects of Cane River Creole National Historical Park is its relationship with the descendant communities of Oakland Plantation and Magnolia Plantation. The term Traditionally Associated People refers exclusively to living groups of people which: form a community; are tied to park resources through cultural identity and heritage; pass traditions and identity from generation to generation; and were associated with significant resources for two generations before the creation of a park.

A testament to their perseverance, descendants of both plantations continue to reside near both park units and often use its resources. Descendants of enslaved Africans, sharecroppers, tenant farmers, day laborers, overseers, plantation owners, Tribes, Creoles of Cane River and traditional cultural practitioners remain. The park proactively developed an ethnographic project to learn about historic practices and traditional knowledge in order to better manage park cultural resources. The project team interviewed over 40 Traditionally Associated People from Oakland and Magnolia, digitized previously unreleased interviews, and produced the following five Section 508-compliant documentary films.

Oral History and Ethnographic Interviews with Traditionally Associated People of Cane River Creole NHP. Documentary Films: 2018
"Planters, Sharecroppers, Tenant Farmers, and Day Laborers at the End of the Plantation Era"
"Cane River Plantations and Farms in the 21st Century"
"Family and Community Life"
"Museum Collections Management"
"Foodways and Traditional Cuisine"

Last updated: December 22, 2023

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