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Explore the History and Culture of Southeastern Louisiana

Please note that this text-only version, provided for ease of printing and reading, includes approximately 50 pages and may take up to 15 minutes to print. By clicking on one of these links, you may go directly to a particular text-only section:

Welcome Letter

Essay on River Road

Essay on French Creole Architecture
Essay on Florida Parishes
List of Sites
Begin the Tour

Learn More



The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Capital Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council (USDA--National Resources Conservation Service), Lagniappe Tours (of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana), the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers proudly invite you to Explore the History and Culture of Southeastern Louisiana, featuring historic places along the Mississippi River and surrounding lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain in the southeastern portion of the state. Meandering through 16 Louisiana parishes (counties), the itinerary begins with the grand plantations along the River Road, continues north through historic Baton Rouge and along the Mississippi River (an Amercian Heritage River, designated by President Clinton), then east to sites along State Highway 10, and finally loops back to Baton Rouge again west along State Highway 190. Included are four state designated Scenic Byways. This latest National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary explores 64 historic places that illustrate this region's vivid history where Spanish, African-American, French, Anglo-American and other cultures met to produce one of the most interesting stories in the United States.

This itinerary focuses on the variety of buildings and landscapes from elaborate plantation houses and beautiful landscapes gardens, to piney wood log cabins, slave cabins, Civil War sites, industrial sites and major political monuments. Visitors can stroll historic Main Street towns such as Plaquemine and Ponchatoula. Some sites, such as the Afton Villa Gardens, offer vistas of stunning botanical beauty. Several antebellum plantations are highlighted such as San Francisco, built in the Creole style, Oak Alley, one of the finest remaining Greek Revival plantation houses, and Evergreen a plantation complex with numerous outbuildings including a rare surviving row of slave cabins. Houses such as Catalpa reflect the typical late Victorian cottages built throughout Louisiana in the late 19th century. During the Civil War, Louisiana became a battleground between Union and Confederate forces. At Port Hudson Confederate forces endured the longest siege in American history; the Union forces included the First Louisiana Native Guards, primarily composed of free blacks from New Orleans. More recent military history is represented by the U.S.S. Kidd, a World War II destroyer now docked in Baton Rouge, across from the Old Louisiana State Capitol. The Old Louisiana Governor's Mansion and the Louisiana State Capitol reflect the influence of the state's most famous political son, Huey P. Long. Included in the itinerary are also examples of Louisiana's industrialization and growth seen at the Cinclaire Sugar Mill Historic District and the Colonial Sugars Historic District. Louisiana's religious history is also highlighted at churches such as St. John Baptist Church and St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church.

Explore the History and Culture of Southeastern Louisiana offers numerous ways to discover the historic properties that played important roles in Louisiana's past. Each property features a brief description of the place's significance, color and historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will also find a navigation bar containing links to three essays that explain more about The River Road, the French Creole Architecture, and the Florida Parishes. These essays provide historical background, or "contexts," for many of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Southeastern Louisiana in person.

Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Capital Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Lagniappe Tours (Foundation for Historical Louisiana), the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC), Explore the History and Culture of Southeastern Louisiana is an example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities.

The Capital RC&D Council and Lagniappe Tours are the sixth of more than 30 organizations working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places, the Capital RC&D Council and Lagniappe Tours hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Southeastern Louisiana's historic resources. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

Welcome Letter

Dear Friend:

Welcome to Louisiana's historic Mississippi River Road region and the delightful Florida Parishes. Here you will find some of our state's greatest architectural treasures: from great plantation houses that speak of a bygone era to piney woods log cabins that represent our hardy pioneer heritage. When you visit us, you can enjoy strolling through historic Main Street towns such as Plaquemine, Hammond, Ponchatoula, Amite, Covington, and Donaldsonville. At the heart of each of these fascinating communities is a downtown historic district listed in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places.

You can enjoy our working agricultural landscapes - green fields of sugarcane. You can marvel at the majesty of the mighty Mississippi River. And you can partake of our rich and unique culture and cuisine.

After your virtual tour of the River Road/Florida Parishes Region on the Internet, I would like to invite you to come and visit us in person. You will find wonderful places to stay and great places to stop. We'd love to have you.


Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Lt. Governor, State of Louisiana
Commissioner, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism

River Road

Although other states have their own River Roads, perhaps none is more evocative or famous than Louisiana's. Here, the very name inspires a vision of white pillared houses standing amid lush gardens and trees dripping with Spanish moss. Louisiana's fabled Great Mississippi River Road consists of a corridor approximately 70 miles in length located on each side of the river between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The area includes the river, levees, and adjacent lands and cultural resources. Among the latter is the state's most famous and recognizable group of monumental plantation houses, most built by wealthy sugar planters in the Greek Revival style.

The River Road's reputation of pillared splendor began with the comments of 19th-century travelers. As early as 1827, one succinctly described the region as follows: "Everywhere thickly peopled by sugar planters, whose showy houses, gay piazzas, trim gardens, and numerous slave-villages, all clean and neat, gave an exceedingly thriving air to the river scenery." More than half a century later Mark Twain journeyed down the river to revisit some of his old haunts. He records: "From Baton Rouge to New Orleans, the great sugar plantations border both sides of the river all the way, . . . Plenty of dwellings . . . standing so close together, for long distances, that the broad river lying between two rows, becomes a sort of spacious street. A most home-like and happy-looking region."

The grand homes described by these observers were built by immensely wealthy sugar planters during the 30 years prior to the Civil War. They epitomize the conspicuous consumption lifestyle characteristic of the so-called Gold Coast during that period and were the absolute apex of the Greek Revival style in Louisiana. They may be briefly characterized as two-story mansions with broad double galleries and monumental columns or pillars that rise to the roofline in one continuous shaft. In some cases, conventional porticoes are dispensed with and the squarish mass of the house is surrounded by a two-story colonnade. Known as the Aperipteral style, the latter treatment is essentially a subspecies of the American Greek Revival and is an archetype peculiar to the Deep South.

Although the Greek Revival dominates, visitors to the River Road can see plantation houses in other styles as well. For example, a limited number of Creole houses survive. Also featuring columned galleries, these pre-antebellum homes, if one may use that term, are a relic of French colonial Louisiana. The entire River Road was once Creole, but one by one these early buildings were either modified or replaced. And, while it never even began to challenge the Greek Revival in popularity, the Italianate style is also represented among the region's majestic plantation homes.

Although visitors tend to focus upon the big house, one must remember that plantations historically had a large number of buildings. Far from the rural idyllic view we have today, plantations were factories aimed at producing a cash crop on a large scale for world export. Each was in effect a self-contained community. Joseph Holt Ingram, in his The Southwest by a Yankee, 1835, noted that plantation appurtenances constitute a village in themselves, for planters always have a separate building for everything. From a practical standpoint, the sugar house and the slave quarters, rather than the big house were probably the most important of these buildings.

For those unfamiliar with the sugar industry, the term milling refers to the removal of juice from sugar cane stalks and its conversion into a crystallized product known as raw sugar. Before the Civil War milling took place in numerous small mills (known as sugar houses) located on individual plantations. After the war improvements in sugar technology combined with shortages of labor and capital to force the closure of many of these formerly profitable mills. In their place rose a system of large central factories which processed cane grown on distant plantations as well as that produced in their own fields. Abandoned by their owners and allowed to decay, historic sugar houses gradually disappeared from the plantation landscape. Today only a few badly deteriorated ruins survive.

Slave quarters, which sheltered the laborers who made profits possible, have suffered a similar fate. Thousands upon thousands of these buildings once existed across the South. Today, a state might have maybe six or so surviving examples, with one on one plantation, two on another, etc. However, the standard row arrangement (once the norm across the South but virtually unheard of today) can still be seen on one River Road plantation, Evergreen.

Although a few major houses were lost in the 19th century, the River Road remained largely intact until the 1920s. During that decade Mosiac disease severely depressed the Louisiana sugar industry, with the result that great house after great house was abandoned and fell into ruin. Also in the 20th century, dredging the river bottom for ocean-going vessels ushered in an era of industrial development that changed the character of many parts of the River Road. More importantly, due to the encroachments of the Mississippi, federal action, owner disinterest, fragmented ownership, demolition by industry, and a weak economy, historic properties were lost, sometimes by the score.

The region's revival began with the restoration of Oak Alley in the 1920s. The River Road was a beehive of activity in the 40s, with such landmarks as Houmas House, Ormond, Bocage and Evergreen being restored. Much has been said about the impact of industry along the River Road, but there have been cases in which industry and preservationists have cooperated with spectacular results. Chief among these is the restoration of San Francisco Plantation House, which was accomplished with the financial assistance of the Marathon Oil Company.

Today's River Road is a study in contrasts, with broad cane fields, antebellum mansions, petrochemical plants and suburban strip developments, all jumbled together in a chaotic mixture. Nevertheless, much of the past remains to be enjoyed.

Essay written by the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation

French Creole Architecture

French Creole architecture is one of the nation's three major colonial architectural traditions. It takes its place alongside British Colonial, as exemplified by the saltbox houses of New England and a later generation of Georgian houses, and Spanish Colonial, as seen in the missions of California and the Southwest. The French Creole building tradition appeared in New France, i.e., in the United States, the Mississippi Valley. Because the region was sparsely settled at the time, very little French Creole architecture was built outside Louisiana. And today Louisiana is home to the overwhelming majority of surviving examples.

There is much scholarly dispute as to the origins of the French Creole building tradition. Some have noted distinct similarities to buildings in France while others emphasize the evolution the tradition underwent in the New World, principally the Caribbean. Regardless of its origin, it is a distinctive building tradition characteristic of French America. French Creole architecture, of course, began in the French colonial period (1699-1762). However, the tradition continued in popularity well into the 1800s. By the 1830s and 40s, one sees houses that combine French Creole features (see below) and Anglo-American traditions such as symmetry and a central hall plan.

The typical rural French Creole house can be described as follows. Its most important features include: 1) generous galleries, 2) a broad spreading roofline, 3) gallery roofs supported by light wooden colonnettes, 4) placement of the principal rooms well above grade (sometimes a full story), 5) a form of construction utilizing a heavy timber frame combined with an infill made of brick (briquette entre poteaux) or a mixture of mud, moss and animal hair called bousillage, 6) multiple French doors, and 7) French wraparound mantels. The previously mentioned timber frame incorporated French joinery i.e., angle braces that are extremely steep, running all the way from sill to plate, in contrast to English joinery where the angle brace is almost a 45 degree angle.

Urban examples shared most of these characteristics but often lacked commodious galleries. Indeed, the quintessential Creole cottage in New Orleans stands flush with the front property line and has no gallery. Also, urban areas had what is known as a Creole townhouse, a multi-story, typically L-shaped building standing flush with the sidewalk. The first floor served as mercantile space and the upper floors as the family's living quarters. Some Creole townhouses had a low mezzanine-type storage area known as an entresol located between the first and second floor. A wide carriage passage connected the street to a rear courtyard. Today surviving Creole townhouses can be seen mainly in New Orleans' French Quarter.

Creole floorplans are distinctive in the following respects. They tend to be asymmetrical and always lack interior hallways. Openings are placed solely for the convenience of the interior, and without any regard for a pleasing architectural effect on the exterior (i.e., producing an irregular schedule of openings). Often the rear range of rooms consists of an open loggia with a small room at each end known as a cabinet.

The rural French Creole building tradition is also known for the use of pigeonniers to ornament the plantation. Domestic pigeons had value not only as a delicacy but as a source of fertilizer. However, as noted by Louisiana plantation specialist Barbara Bacot, it was less a taste for squab than for status that exalted the pigeonnier. Bacot, in Louisiana Buildings, 1720-1940, notes that in France only landowners had the right to keep pigeons under the Old Regime, and some of the landed gentry chose to frame their houses with pairs of dovecotes. In Louisiana, pigeonniers used in the form of monumental towers set near the main house continued as a fashion well into the 19th century. By contrast, on English plantations, where birds were sometimes kept, the roost or dovecote would typically have been little more than nesting boxes set in the gable of the barn.

Essay written by the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation

Florida Parishes

Because they do not fit the state's well known French Creole and River Road plantation stereotypes, Louisiana's Florida Parishes are little known outside the state. However, citizens of South Louisiana (and especially of New Orleans) have enjoyed the region's natural beauty and healthy climate for well over a century. The Florida Parishes lie east of the Mississippi River and north of lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain in the southeastern portion of the state. The region contains eight parishes: East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington. Although the area's name implies cohesiveness and a shared developmental pattern, this is not completely true. Certain parishes share a common heritage, while others followed divergent patterns of growth. Plantation and small farm agriculture, railroads, the lumber and vacation industries, and multiple ethnic groups--all have contributed to the growth and heritage of the region known as the Florida Parishes.

The district takes its name from its early political history. At the end of Louisiana's colonial era, the region was part of Spanish West Florida. When Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803, the Americans claimed the area as part of that purchase but made no move to occupy it. In 1810 the district's largely English population revolted against Spain and the U.S. annexed the territory. Spain protested the annexation, but was too weak to fight it. Louisianians have called the region the Florida Parishes ever since.

Although Lake Pontchartrain's north shore underwent limited French Creole settlement before and after the colonial period, persons of English descent dominated in most other portions. For example, in East and West Feliciana parishes, planters from the southeastern states established a plantation economy whose landscape was characterized by houses in the Federal and Greek Revival styles. Farther east, in what would become Washington Parish, the Upland South Culture prevailed.

Remembered for their Protestant fundamentalism and their strong-minded toughness, the Uplanders were descended from Scots-Irish farmers who emigrated to the Pennsylvania colony beginning in the 1720s. It was during this period that they encountered the Pennsylvania Germans, known to us today by the misnomer Pennsylvania Dutch. The two groups cohabited for about a generation. The Scots-Irish absorbed from the Germans a building technique that would become their principal architectural legacy--log construction. Armed with this tool and a fiercely independent streak, the Scots-Irish pushed south and westward through the Appalachians, first reaching Louisiana about 1790. There they established widely dispersed hamlets and farmsteads featuring an informal arrangement of log barns, sheds, animal pens and houses placed seemingly at random.

In keeping with the basic simplicity and adaptability of the Upland South Culture, its building forms were based on easy to duplicate folk models. Houses emulated the so-called British pen tradition i.e., a single square, or nearly square room with a gable roof oriented from side to side and an outside chimney on one end. The pen was raised one to three feet off the ground on piers and had doors centered in its front and rear walls. In Louisiana a log single-pen house tended to be about 16 feet square. A two-room house was a double pen, generally with two front doors. Larger still was the dogtrot, which consisted of two pens with a central covered open passageway through which a dog could trot. These houses had full front galleries and often rear shed rooms as well.

Today few people wish to live in a historic log house, and log outbuildings are of no use in modern agriculture. For these reasons, most of Louisiana's log buildings generally were long ago abandoned or altered beyond recognition. Although a few survive in north and west Louisiana, the state's most impressive collection is the Mile Branch Settlement located on the Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton.

While Washington Parish developed at the hands of the Uplanders (and a thriving lumber industry which arrived around the turn of the 20th century), the area of the Florida Parishes bordering Lake Pontchartrain owes its fame to its role as a health and vacation resort. Long before the arrival of the railroad in 1887 made the trip from the Crescent City an easy weekend commute, New Orleanians viewed the North Shore as a haven from the annual yellow fever epidemics that threatened their city. While the wealthy took refuge in faraway fashionable spas, middle-class people went to the nearby Gulf Coast or to lower St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.

Known as the North Shore, the latter had much to recommend it as a retreat from the languid New Orleans climate. First there was the air, which was sharp, fresh and pure. Popularly known as ozone, it was thought to have great curative powers for pulmonary respiratory ailments. This medicinal property was attributed to the area's vast stands of long and short leaf pine which exuded a rich oxygenated mix. Equally important was the water. The terra firma of lower St. Tammany and Tangipahoa constituted one of the world's great natural water purification systems with huge underground lakes supplying dozens of mineral springs. The word hydropathy has passed from common use, but in Victorian times, the water cure was a respected alternative to the harsh medical practices of the day.

Hotels and spas sprang up as far above the lake as Covington and Hammond to serve the health conscious and infirmed. However, Abita Springs was the most significant; it was founded and developed as a health resort and had no other purpose. In addition to providing accommodations on the North Shore, city fathers and spa owners also took steps to enhance the health-giving springs and natural areas with improvements, notably bandstands, pavilions, and specially developed winding trails through the piney woods. Attracted by the area's natural and man-made features, people came for social as well as medical reasons and often stayed for weeks or months at a time. Pleasure grounds surrounding hotels often contained groups of rental cottages that could be taken by an entire family. These long-term guests were important members of the social scene and received invitations to special events along with local residents.

Many New Orleans families built vacation and weekend cottages on the North Shore. Partially as a result of their presence, the region developed its own architectural stamp, the so-called North Shore house. This unique regional house type is a variation of the New Orleans shotgun. Characterized by a T-shaped floorplan, it is one room wide and three or more rooms deep. Instead of the standard narrow front porch, North Shore houses have a long and generous side gallery to allow occupants to take the air. Some North Shore houses have galleries on both sides. With their extravagant Eastlake turned columns, spindles and brackets, and copious Queen Anne shingles in their gables, these homes are the glory of the North Shore. Today, concentrations of these houses can be found in Covington and around Abita Springs.

The advance of medical theory after the Spanish American and First World wars eliminated diseases such as yellow fever and undermined the medical necessity for the North Shore refuge. Another factor in its decline was that hydropathy itself was going out of favor as conventional medicine improved. Today the area still has great rural charm, with its towering pine trees, and is also quite cosmopolitan due to its proximity to New Orleans. Great restaurants and shops combine with natural beauty and a distinctive history to make the North Shore an obvious choice for a day trip or weekend getaway.

The casual lifestyle of the health resorts was in sharp contrast to that of Tangipahoa's hardworking strawberry farmers. The phenomenal rise of this industry in the first few decades of the 20th century is a classic Louisiana success story. One of the driving forces behind this success was the influx of Italian immigrants into the parish.

The Italians were originally recruited from their homeland to work in the cane fields of South Louisiana. They first appeared in Tangipahoa in 1890, when an American strawberry farmer brought an Italian family from New Orleans to pick his berries. This experience gave the Italians a first-hand knowledge of strawberry farming. A second family arrived in the fall. From their humble beginnings as pickers in the late 19th century, the Italians rapidly moved into a position of dominance in the strawberry industry.

The Italians saw in Tangipahoa Parish an opportunity to acquire land and escape the life of an urban worker or plantation laborer. The Italians were extremely efficient and successful strawberry farmers. A study conducted by an agricultural commission during this period noted that the techniques employed by the Italians stand out in contrast to the more or less shiftless and thriftless southern methods employed by native farmers. The entire family, even the children, would work in the berry fields and live as cheaply as possible, saving everything they could. After a few years, they would make a down payment on whatever land they could obtain. Often this land was near the railroads, which provided the means of getting their crop to market. In this way, a number of ethnic agricultural colonies arose throughout the parish. Amite, Tickfaw, and Natalbany all had small compact Italian farming settlements. There was also a large Italian settlement in Hammond. However, the biggest concentration of Italians was in Independence where the colony stretched for five miles up and down the Illinois Central Railroad by 1910. By this time, Italians had virtually taken over the town. Business signs in the Independence commercial district were in Italian rather than English!

By the early 1920s Tangipahoa strawberries supplied the entire Midwestern market; soon Louisiana was the country's leading producer. However, the resulting prosperity was not to last. Drought and frost in the 1927 and 1928 seasons reduced profits sharply and put many farmers heavily in debt. By the 1929-1930 season, a number of farmers were in serious financial trouble. In 1932 the industry suffered the greatest crop failure it had ever experienced. Twelve and one half inches of rain in one day in April, followed by a hailstorm later in the month virtually destroyed the crop. This season was the death knell of the strawberry boom, for the industry never recovered its former prosperity. However, strawberries continue to be an important crop, as Ponchatoula's annual strawberry festival, held every April, attests.

Essay written by the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation

List of Sites

St. Charles Parish
Destrehan Plantation
Homeplace Plantation House

St. John the Baptist Parish
San Francisco Plantation House
Evergreen Plantation
Whitney Plantation Historic District

St. James Parish
Laura Plantation
Colonial Sugars Historic District
Judge Felix Poche Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation

Assumption Parish
Christ Episcopal Church and Cemetery
Assumption Parish Courthouse and Jail
St. Elizabeth Catholic Church

Ascension Parish
St. Emma
Donaldsonville Historic District
The Houmas
Bocage Plantation

Iberville Parish
St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church
Nottoway Plantation House
St. John Baptist Church
Plaquemine Historic District

East Baton Rouge Parish
Mount Hope Plantation House
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Magnolia Mound Plantation House
City Park Golf Course
USS Kidd
Old Louisiana State Capitol
Old Louisiana Governor's Mansion
Pentagon Barracks
Louisiana State Capitol Building & Gardens

West Baton Rouge Parish
Poplar Grove Plantation House
Aillet House
Cinclare Sugar Mill Historic District

Pointe Coupee Parish
Cherie Quarters Cabins
Parlange Plantation
Poydras High School
Pointe Coupee Parish Museum
St. Francis Chapel

West Feliciana Parish
St. Francisville Historic District
Oakley Plantation House
Rosedown Plantation
Butler-Greenwood Plantation
Afton Villa Gardens
Myrtles Plantation
Cottage Plantation

East Feliciana Parish
Centenary College
Courthouse and Lawyers' Row
Port Hudson

St. Helena Parish
Greensburg Land Office
Old St. Helena Parish Jail

Tangipahoa Parish
Camp Moore
Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District

Washington Parish
Sylvest House
Knight Cabin
Sullivan Home

St. Tammany Parish
Salmen House
Abita Springs Pavilion
Christ Episcopal Church

Livingston Parish
Carter Plantation
Macedonia Baptist Church
Decareaux House

Destrehan Plantation

One of the oldest and best-documented buildings from the State's colonial period, Destrehan Plantation House represents three major phases of construction and illustrates the changes in architectural style in Louisiana. Erected in 1787 by Charles Paquet, Destrehan Plantation was purchased by indigo planter Robert Antointe Robin DeLogny and his family. Besides his profitable indigo cash crop, DeLogny's local claim to fame was his famous son-in-law, Jean Noel Destrehan, who married his daughter Marie-Claude in 1786. Destrehan was the son of Jean Baptiste Destrehan de Tours, royal treasurer of the French colony of Louisiana, and it is from him that both the name of the plantation and the name of the town are derived. After DeLogny's death in 1792, the Destrehans inherited the plantation and house. While under the ownership of the Destrehan family, both the house and grounds went through considerable periods of change. In the 19th century the major cash crop at Destrehan became sugarcane rather than indigo and the house went through two further phases of construction. The original gallery columns were replaced in the 1830s or 40s with massive Greek Revival Doric columns of plastered brick and the cornice was altered accordingly. Its original colonial appearance was altered with the post-colonial addition of semi-detached wings.

In the 20th century, the use of the grounds and house underwent yet another change. The house served as a facility of a major oil company, when Louisiana made the transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Destrehan Plantation House consists of a central, two-story house with open galleries on three sides and flanking two-story wings separated from the main body of the house by the side galleries. The central unit, the oldest part of the house, is composed of masonry columns on the ground floor and wood columns on the upper. At one time a colonnade had surrounded the central unit. The roof is double- pitched all around.

Destrehan Plantation is located at 13034 River Road, one half mile east of Destrehan Bridge. Fortunately, the house was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but please check with them directly to confirm the current hours of operation. The Plantation is open for guided tours by costumed interpreters 9:00am to 4:00pm, daily (except major holidays). The Plantation celebrates an Anuual Fall Festival the second week-end in November. There is a fee for admission, special group rates are available. Call 985-764-9315 or visit the plantation's website for more information.

Homeplace Plantation House

Homeplace Plantation, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970, is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Charles Parish. Constructed between 1787 and 1791, it is one of the finest and least altered examples of a large French Colonial raised cottage left standing. Similar in plan to another National Historic Landmark, Parlange in Point Coupee Parish, Homeplace is two rooms deep and four rooms across with a 16 foot-wide gallery on all sides, providing separate access to each of the second story rooms for cross ventilation. The upper story walls are constructed of cypress timbers in-filled with clay and Spanish moss. The lower story, with its thick brick walls and floors, contained seven service rooms, including the large dining room, a pantry, two wine rooms, a hall, and two storage rooms. The wine rooms still retain some of the original wine racks and the dining room walls are decorated in original green-gray and white Italian marble tiles.

Once the center of a large sugar plantation, Homeplace was originally surrounded by slave's quarters, pigeonniers (structures used by upper-class French for housing pigeons), a carriage house, and other dependencies used in plantation operations. Only the carriage house remains to the right rear of the house. An interesting feature of the house are tall brick pillars at the south end that once supported a large wooden cistern that supplied water to the house. The builder and first owner of Homeplace are unclear, but documents show that the plantation was owned by both Pierre Gaillard and Louis Edmond Fortier during its early years. The Fortier family owned the house until 1856 and it changed hands a number of times before Pierre Anatole Keller purchased the property in 1889. Keller dismantled the sugar production operation and tore down the sugar mill in 1894. Adding stairs to the front of the house in 1900, in addition to the original side stairs, the Keller family modernized the house and made some minor alterations. The Keller family continues to own the property today.

Homeplace Plantation House, a National Historic Landmark, is located in Hahnville along State Hwy. 18, half a mile south of the post office. It is privately owned, and not open to the public.

San Francisco Plantation House

The opulent San Francisco Plantation House is a galleried house in the Creole manner that has been pictured in American, British, and Swedish periodicals as one of the major sites of the New Orleans area. Constructed between 1849-50, the San Francisco Plantation House is one of the most ornate of Louisiana's plantation houses. San Francisco, with its potpourri of architectural designs, its immense and ornate roof construction, and the paintings decorating the ceilings and door panels in the house's parlors, exemplifies the "steamboat Gothic" style. The exterior of the home resembles a layer cake, with a simple ground floor where brick columns support the gallery across the front and halfway back the sides. A double stairway leads from this gallery to the second floor gallery where fluted wood columns with cast-iron Corinthian capitals support an overhanging deck. The main living area is on the second floor instead of the ground level. The attic is a Victorian construction that gives the house a unique look with the hip roof pierced by tall dormers with diamond-paned, Tudor-arched windows.

San Francisco's floor plan is unique as well, but the interior's primary significance lies in the fine murals attributed to Dominique Canova. The cost of San Francisco Plantation House, along with the paintings and other interior decorations, may have given rise to the house's name. One legend holds 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. Another legend holds that the name celebrated the port of entry to northern California, then undergoing the gold rush of 1849. A further legend states that the name changed from Sans St. Frusquin to San Francisco when Achille D. Bougere purchased the plantation house in 1879. San Francisco was originally preserved by the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Clark Thompson. The house is now owned by the San Francisco Plantation Foundation and has been restored to its former glory.

San Francisco Plantation House, a National Historic Landmark, is located on Highway 44, off River Road, three miles upriver from Reserve. Fortunately, the house was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but please check with them directly to confirm the current hours of operation. The Plantation is open for tours 10:00am to 4:30pm March through October and 10:00am to 4:00pm November through February (except major holidays); there is a fee. Please call 985-535-2341 for further information.

Evergreen Plantation

Evergreen is only one of eight major Greek Revival style plantation houses remaining on the historic River Road. These "Gone With the Wind" era houses lined River Road on the eve of the Civil War, but many more have been lost over the years than have survived. Characteristic of these homes, Evergreen, completely remodeled from its original French Creole design in 1832, features stuccoed-brick Doric columns that extend from the ground to the roof on the wide double galleries. Originally, the residence of Michel Pierre Becnel and his wife Desiree Brou, the "big house" also boasts two remarkable fanlight doorways at the head and foot of the winding double stairway servicing the galleries. Evergreen is significant not only because of the existence of its main building along River Road, but also because of the remains of the plantation complex. With two pigeonniers (structures used by upper-class French for housing pigeons), two garconieries (dwellings for a family's young boys), a privy, a kitchen, a guesthouse, an overseer's house, and a double row of 22 slave cabins, Evergreen is unique. It is one of only a handful of plantations that evoke what major plantations resembled in the antebellum period of America's history. Usually only the main house of the planter's family have endured the ravages of time.

Over the decades, the most serious change to Evergreen as a plantation complex has been the extensive fabric replacement evident in the slave quarters. Some noteworthy original features, such as chimneys, shutters, and doors remain, but nearly 150 years of patching, repairs, and reconstruction have caused alterations. It is surprising that these quarters, retaining their original appearance and double row configuration, have survived at all. There is very little documentation on these buildings, although it is clear that they are indeed antebellum. The 1860 census lists Lezin Becnel and his brother, the then owners of the plantation, as having 103 slaves in 48 dwellings. The only known historic map of the plantation is the Mississippi River Commission map of 1876, which shows 22 cabins in the same configuration and location.

Evergreen Plantation, a National Historic Landmark, is located on State Hwy. 18, in Wallace. The house is open to the public by reservation only. Call 504-201-3180 to arrange a visit.

Whitney Plantation Historic District

The Whitney Plantation Historic District is located on a 3,000-foot stretch of the famous, historic River Road in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Aside from the raised Creole main house, originally erected in 1803, the district contains an overseer's house, a rare French Creole barn, a manager's house, a plantation store, a two story tall pigeonnier (structures used by upper-class French for housing pigeons), and the 1884 Creole and Greek revival style Mialaret House, as well as other sites of historic interest. The Creole mansion and dependencies are grouped in a cluster, which forms the focal point of the district. Sugarcane and rice were the principal crops during the historic period, and Whitney's fields are still planted in cane. The district's plantation house is architecturally important statewide as one of Louisiana's most important examples of Creole architecture. Nationally, the art produced within the Whitney Plantation House, including the wall murals dating between 1836 and 1839, are important. Whitney's surviving French Creole barn is the last example known to survive in the State.

The plantation that came to be known as Whitney appears to have been founded by Ambrose Haydel. A German, Haydel immigrated to Louisiana with his mother and siblings in 1721 and married shortly thereafter. Ambrose Haydel and his wife may have lived on the Whitney land tract as early as 1750. By the end of the 18th century, Haydel's sons, Jean Jacques, and Nicholas, owned adjoining plantations which included and expanded upon their father's original holdings. It was apparently Jean Jacques who built the Whitney main house around 1790 and expanded it around 1803. In 1820, he sold the property to his sons Jean Jacques, Jr., and Marcellin. Marcellin eventually gained total control of the rest of the family's land, and commissioned the 1836-1839 remodeling. The plantation remained in the family's hands until it was sold to a Northerner, Bradish Johnson, after the Civil War. It was Johnson who actually named the property Whitney in honor of his grandson, Harry Payne Whitney. The Formosa Plastics Corporation purchased the land in 1990 and has pledged to preserve and restore the house and outbuildings as a museum of Creole culture.

The Whitney Plantation Historic District is located of Hwy. 18 in Wallace. All of the buildings within the district are privately owned, and not open to the public.

Laura Plantation

Situated on River Road between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the Laura Plantation complex is located just upriver from the west bank community of Vacherie. The plantation is significant for its raised Creole plantation "big house" and its rare collection of outbuildings, including six slave quarters, that illustrate the development of a sugar cane plantation from the antebellum period well into the 20th century. The land on which Laura plantation stands was originally owned by André Neau, who obtained it through a French royal land grant in 1755. In the late 1700s, the plantation became the property of the Dupare family and was divided between two family members in 1876. The house continued in the hands of Dupare heirs until 1891, when Dupare descendant Laura Locoul sold the property to A. Florian Waguespack. A condition of the sale was that the plantation and house continue to be called "Laura". Constructed c.1820, the main house at Laura has a raised brick basement story and a briquette-entre-poteaux (brick between posts) upper floor. The house is special because of its Federal style interior woodwork and Norman roof truss. In Louisiana, far more Creole houses with Greek Revival woodwork have survived than have those showing Federal influence. Few examples of the Norman roof truss construction technique survive, and they are usually found in very early Creole houses.

Although Creole residences once dominated the rural landscape of central and southern Louisiana, today perhaps only 300 to 400 examples of these buildings remain standing outside New Orleans. Of these, the majority are small or moderately sized one-story houses, while only approximately 30, including the main house Laura, are members of the distinct group of substantial raised plantation houses regarded as the apex of the Creole style. Little attention has been given to preserving the coterie of dependencies that were the "workhorses" of cotton and sugar production on Louisiana plantations. Historically the state was dotted with hundreds of plantation complexes such as Laura, but today they are rare survivors. One of about 15 surviving plantation complexes in the state, Laura might be compared to Whitney or Evergreen plantations in St. John the Baptist Parish. Thus, it is a very important visual reminder of the large agricultural enterprise common in antebellum and post-war Louisiana.

Laura Plantation is located on River Road midway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Fortunately, the house was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but please check with them directly to confirm the current hours of operation. The home is open for tours daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm, except for Creole holidays (New Year's, Mardi Gras, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). There is a fee for admission and groups are encouraged to call ahead. Call 225-265-7690 or visit for more information.

Colonial Sugars Historic District

The Colonial Sugars Historic District is significant as one of a small number of surviving historic sugar refineries and as an example of the kind of large centralized plants developed during the consolidation of sugar refining in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. The company town is typical of the facilities created by industries for their employees in rural areas and is only one of two towns (the other is Cinclare Sugar) surviving in Louisiana. Originally known as the Gramercy Sugar Company, this sugar refinery and adjacent town was founded in 1895 by a group of New York investors. In 1902, a new firm, the Colonial Sugars Company, was organized to take over the facility. Colonial Sugars operated the refinery until 1908 when it was acquired by the Cuban American Sugar Company which ran it until 1971. Several companies have owned the refinery since that time, and today it operates at full capacity by Savannah Foods and Industries.

The period 1880 to 1920 saw rampant industrial growth in Louisiana, most of which was fueled by out-of-state capital. It was during these years that mainline railroad trackage grew from under 700 miles to over 5,000 miles. Various industries matured during this period, including large-scale centralized sugar processing, industrial lumbering and oil exploration. Because most of the industrial enterprises associated with this growth were established in rural areas, the company town was a crucial feature of the emerging landscape. It was customary for the company to provide for all aspects of the workers' lives, including housing, churches, recreational facilities, etc. Points of interest in the Colonial Sugars Historic District include: Executive Row with the plant manager's house that served as the home (1928 to 1956) of George P. Meade, a co-author of the Cane Sugar Handbook and a well-known figure in the cane sugar refining industry; Workers' Row along Fifth Avenue with its cottages dating from the 1910s; the c.1910 company chapel; the 1902 Char House where liquid sugar flows through massive filters filled with bone char to remove the brown color; and the 1929 Power House, designed by the firm McKim, Meade and White, that generates electric power for the water plant and some workers' residences.

The Colonial Sugars Historic District is located in Gramercy, primarily between Main St. and Levee Rd. The mill and the residences are private and not open to the public.

Judge Felix Poche Plantation

The Judge Poche Plantation House is significant in the areas of architecture and local history. Architecturally, the Judge Poche Plantation House stands as a fine example of a raised plantation house built under the influence of the Victorian Renaissance Revival. This can be principally seen in its large front dormer with its oeil-de-boeuf motifs and in its arcaded front gallery. This decorative treatment is unusual because most plantation houses were characterized by Greek Revival styling. The Judge Poche Plantation House is locally significant because of its association with Felix Pierre Poche, Civil War diarist, Democratic Party leader, and prominent jurist. Poche built the house around 1870 and maintained it as his residence until 1880 when he moved to New Orleans. It served as his summer house from then until 1892, at which time he sold the property. Poches Civil War diary is regarded as an important source for scholars, especially those studying the war east of the Mississippi in the waning months of the conflict. Poche, who was bilingual, kept his journal in French. It has since been translated and published and is one of the few Confederate diaries describing the war in Louisiana that is in print.

After the war Poche returned to St. James Parish, resumed his law practice, and assumed an active role in the Democratic Party. In January 1866, he was elected to the Louisiana Senate to fill a vacancy occasioned by a resignation and served in this capacity until the adoption of the new state constitution in 1868. He attended the biannual Democratic party conventions from 1868 to 1876 and was a member and president of the 1879 party convention which nominated Governor Wiltz. Poche was also a member of the 1879 constitutional convention. On the national level he was an alternate delegate to the 1872 and 1876 Democratic conventions and was a Tilden elector in 1876. In addition to these accomplishments, Poche was a well-known jurist. In 1880 he was appointed associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court and served in this position until 1890 when his term expired. Poche was also one of the founders and charter members of the American Bar Association. At a social reunion in 1876 at Saratoga he originated the idea of a national association for his profession and proposed it to several others there. The idea was adopted and in 1877 the association met for the first time. Today the house had been adapted into a bed and breakfast.

The Judge Felix Poche Plantation is located at 6554 State Hwy. 44, in Convent. Tours are available Monday-Sunday at 10:00am and by appointment; there is a fee. Groups are encouraged to call ahead. For further information, or to make reservations at the bed and breakfast, call 225-562-7728 or visit

Oak Alley Plantation

Originally named Bon Sejour, Oak Alley was built in 1837-39 by George Swainey for Jacques Telesphore Roman, brother of Andre Roman who was twice governor of Louisiana. Joseph Pilie, Jacques Telesphore Roman's father-in-law, was an architect and is thought to have provided the design of Oak Alley. Oak Alley's most distinguishing architectural feature is a full peripteral (free-standing) colonnade of 28 colossal Doric columns. Such plantation houses were once scattered along the Mississippi valley, though Oak Alley is probably the finest of those remaining. In 1866, Oak Alley was sold at auction to John Armstrong. Several owners followed Armstrong, and by the 1920s, the house was is in a state of deterioration. Andrew and Josephine Stewart purchased the property in 1925 and hired architect Richard Koch to conduct an extensive restoration. The pale pink of the plastered columns and walls and the blue green of the louvered shutters and gallery railing were color choices of Mrs. Stewart at that time. Square in plan, the interior has a central hall from front to rear on both floors. At each end of both halls the doors have broad fanlights and sidelights framed with slim, fluted colonnettes. Rooms at the first floor rear were partitioned and adapted to modern uses at the time of restoration in the 1920s.

Equally significant is the impressive double row of giant live oak trees which form the oak alley, about 800 feet long, from which the property derived its present name. Planted before the house was constructed in 1837, this formal planting is a historic landscape design long recognized for its beauty. An important event in American horticultural history occurred in the winter of 1846-47 when Antoine, a slave gardener at Oak Alley, first successfully grafted pecan trees. His work resulted in the first named variety, Centennial, and the first commercial pecan orchard at nearby Anita Plantation. Josephine Stewart established a nonprofit organization to manage Oak Alley after her death. This Greek Revival showplace is now open to the public for tours.

Oak Alley Plantation, a National Historic Landmark, is located on 3645 State Hwy. 18 in Vacherie. Fortunately, the house was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but please check with them directly to confirm the current hours of operation. Oak Alley is normally open daily 9:00am to 5:30pm from March-October and 9:00am to 5:00pm from November-February. Tours are available for a fee and groups are encouraged to call ahead. Call 1-800-442-5539 or visit for more information.


Built in 1840-48, Madewood Plantation House reflects the aspirations of its original owner, Colonel Thomas Pugh, a member of a prominent and wealthy Louisiana family. Madewood represents one of the finest and purest examples of the Greek Revival style architecture in a plantation home. In a grove of oaks and magnolias, facing Bayou Lafourche, Pugh and his architect, Henry Howard, constructed a house whose classical splendor would surpass that of the neighboring plantations. Madewood was the manor house for the group of plantations that Pugh acquired in the 1830s and 40s, which eventually totaled some 10,000 acres. Sugar cane production brought economic prosperity to the area around Bayou Lafourche in the first part of the 19th century. While Madewood is one of many plantations along the bayou, it stands out for its architectural grandeur, which is unique in its blending of its Classical features with indigenous material. The grounds today include the main house and attached kitchen, and in the rear, the carriage house, the Pugh family cemetery, Elmfield Cottage and the Madewood slave quarters.

The house is built of bricks made on the plantation, while the exterior is covered with stucco, scored to represent masonry blocks and painted white. The proportions are carefully determined, the six fluted Ionic columns rise two stories, with the central portion retaining the character of a Greek temple. Two one-story wings, echoing the predominant elements of the main house, complete the facade. The interior contains 23 rooms, with floors of heart pine, doorframes and moldings of cypress, painted to resemble oak (or faux bois). Each doorway is signed by the artist, Cornealieus Hennessey. Elsewhere, the woodwork, including the cypress mantelpieces, has been painted to resemble marble or exotic woods. The Harold Marshall family purchased the property in 1964 and undertook a major restoration of the home, which was completed in 1978. The property is now owned by their sons, but is open to the public daily and is the center for an annual arts festival and other cultural events.

Madewood, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 4250 Hwy. 308, Napoleonville. It is open for tours 10:00am to 4:30pm daily, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Call 1-800-375-7151 for further information.

Christ Episcopal Church and Cemetery

One of the oldest Episcopal churches west of the Mississippi River, Christ Episcopal Church is located on Bayou Lafourche in the Napoleonville Parish. Built in 1853, Christ Episcopal served as a worship space for English-speaking Protestants in a predominately French-speaking Roman Catholic community, as well as a community center for all English-speaking area residents. An excellent example of Gothic Revival architecture, the church was designed by Frank Wills. Wills, architect for the New York Ecclesiological Society, is also credited with the design of Trinity Church in Natchitiches. The mission of the Ecclesiological Society was to encourage church design in the style of English parish churches of medieval times. Christ Church was consecrated on May 10, 1854, by the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, first Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, later a general in the Confederate army.

Using approximated $10,000 in locally raised funds, Christ Church was constructed by George Arment, a local carpenter since buried in the church cemetery. Dr. E. E. Kittredge donated the land for the church and cemetery. The building is constructed of Louisiana cypress and brick, made on Woodlawn Plantation by Colonel W. W. Pugh, who also supplied the labor for the construction. Slate for the roof and stained glass used in the windows were among the only materials imported from the East. The floor plan is asymmetrical consisting of a nave, sanctuary, transept, sacristy and entrance portico. The austere and graceful detailing of the interior consists of white plaster walls and dark brown stained wood work. A stained oak altar is located in the Apse. Thin stained glass windows, featuring bible scenes, line the interior walls. A wood organ, most likely added during a restoration, and a wood baptismal font complete the interior. The exterior is topped by a large spire, terminated by a graceful cross. The overall appearance of the church is long and slender, with a vertical emphasis. A cemetery is situated 12 feet from the back of church where early members of church are buried. These eternal resting places are marked either by a well-made and well-kept tomb or crumbling unmarked graves.

During the Civil War, Christ Church was used as a barracks by Union troops from Ohio and Indiana. Later they stabled their horses there and used the stained glass windows for marksmanship practice. Having been destroyed almost completely during the war, the church was abandoned until 1869, when the greatly impoverished congregation, out of its own slender means, was able to restore it for public worship. Upon visiting in 1869, Bishop Wilmer declared that "they were persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." The edifice had scarcely been restored before it was severely damaged in a thunderstorm and later by lightening. Again it had to be abandoned. The task of rebuilding began anew, with the major effort being undertaken between 1887 and 1906 under the leadership of the Edward Pugh Munson family. It was during this period that the beautiful Tiffany stained glass window was sent to New York for restoration and was reinstalled above the altar. With a renaissance of spirit at work in Christ Church, it continues to hold weekly services for its small, but growing, membership. Friend of Christ Church, Inc., has assumed the responsibility of maintaining the church and cemetery. While the majority of the members are descendants of the founding families, membership is open to all having an interest in preserving the historical richness of South Louisiana.

Christ Episcopal Church and Cemetery is located on State Hwy. 1, at the north edge of Napoleonville. It is open for services or by appointment by calling Judge Leon LeSueur, Senior Warden, at 985-369-2106, who will be happy to conduct a tour.

Assumption Parish Courthouse and Jail

The Assumption Parish Courthouse was built in 1896, while the nearby jail is an earlier building that was in place by at least 1885. The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a time of revival styles in architecture, recalling Greek, Roman, and Romanesque styles of earlier periods. The Assumption Parish Courthouse and Jail stand as the singular examples of Italianate architecture in the parish. The land on which the buildings now stand, along the West Bank of Bayou Lafourche, was donated by Maxill and Caroline Bourg in 1818, to serve as the permanent location for the courthouse. It was at this time that Napoleonville (today, with a population of 802) became the county seat. An earlier courthouse probably stood here, and some of its decorative features may be those that appear in the present courthouse, such as the earlier Federal and Greek Revival style mantels.

The Courthouse is built predominantly in the Italian-villa style--a two-story building in an L-shaped floor plan with a tower, or campanile. Although predominantly Italianate in design, the courthouse does show slight influence of the Romanesque Revival style in the massiveness with which the round arch entrances and the palladian windows, on the third level of the tower, are articulated. The Jail, too, features an Italianate style tower on its southeast corner, which may or may not belong to the original building. Both buildings are sheathed in stucco, a feature that highlights the simplicity of the design, while allowing the more ornate features, such as the towers, gables, windows, and pilasters to be accentuated. The Courthouse and Jail are today connected with a modern addition, though at the time of their construction, they were separate buildings. The courthouse has received a number of alterations since its construction. A first floor addition to the parish Tax Assessor's office has been added, along with a partially enclosed parking garage at ground level between the new offices and the old jail, and a new jail filling the connector's second floor.

The Assumption Parish Courthouse and Jail is located at 4809 State Hwy. 1 in Napoleonvelle. It is open 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday- Friday, tours are scheduled by appointments. Call 985-369-7435 for further information.

St. Elizabeth Catholic Church

St. Elizabeth Catholic Church is a large brick basilican plan Gothic style church near the center of the small bayou town of Paincourtville. St. Elizabeth is one of the largest historic buildings in Assumption Parish, and contains the most elaborate interior decorative paintwork in the parish. Purely Gothic in origin, St. Elizabeth stands out from other large Roman Catholic churches of the period, which can best be described as mixtures of Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque architectural features.

The largely Catholic population of southern Louisiana was instrumental in the construction of numerous, large Catholic churches throughout this area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. St. Elizabeth, built in 1902, was constructed of brick on a basilica plan with an impressive façade. The twin towers and the bays are set off by ornamental buttresses which have inset lancet shaped panels. In the interior, the vaulting and piers are almost entirely of wood and are covered with stenciled paintwork that is light and Victorian in character. Most of the stained glass windows date from 1906 and 1910. The windows are extremely intricate with painted scenes and figures, complete with drapery, facial features, architectural settings, foliage, sky, and elaborate trim. In 1914 the present decorative paintwork was executed. Much of the painting is stenciled and has a rather Victorian character except that the colors are more muted then one would expect in a 19th-century painting.

St. Elizabeth Catholic Church is located on State Hwy. 1 in Paincourtville. Call 985-369-7398 or visit for further information about the church and when it is open, and to see if tours are available.

St. Emma

St. Emma Plantation, located about four miles south of Donaldsonville and just west of the Bayou Lafourche, is a fine example of a large mid-19th-century Greek Revival plantation house. Built in 1847, St. Emma was owned from 1854 to 1869 by Charles A. Kock, one of the leading sugar planters and large slaveholders of Louisiana. Kock also owned the nearby Belle Alliance plantation, and between the two there lived 300 slaves. Born in Breman, Germany, in 1812, Charles A. Kock had become one of the largest sugar producers in Louisiana. St. Emma and the nearby plantation of Palo Alto figured in a Civil War battle, known as the "Battle of Koch's Plantation," in the fall of 1862. Confederate troops quartered in the sugarhouses of the two plantations skirmished with Union forces marching south from Donaldsonville to Thibodaux. The advancing Union army lost 465 men.

St. Emma Plantation House stands five bays wide and three rooms deep, all around a central hall, following a standard raised plantation house plan, though St. Emma is somewhat larger than other examples. Both the front and rear facades have five-bay galleries which are formed of brick posts on the lower story and paneled wooden pillars on the upper story. There are no interior stairs and both staircases are set within the galleries. The house has a brick lower story and a circular sawn frame upper story. Although the upper story is the main floor, there are rooms on the ground floor as well, which appear to be original to the house. The exterior doors have three ventricle panels rather than the usual two. They are encompassed within ear-molded frames with pediment-shaped tops, and the sidelights are separated from the doors by full pilasters rather than molded stripes. Today, St. Emma plantation is furnished with a superb collection of Empire-period furniture.

St. Emma Plantation House is located at 1283 South Hwy. 1, four miles south of Donaldsonville and is open by appointment only. Call the Ascension Parish Tourist Commission at 225-657-6550..


Tezcuco is a one-story, frame, Greek Revival plantation house located on the east bank of the Mississippi River about a mile and a half south of Burnside. Except for a few alterations, the residence retains its original c.1855 appearance on both the exterior and interior. The grounds also include a contemporaneous Creole cottage, which echoes the architecture of the main house. Tezcuco was built for Benjamin Tureaud around 1855. He was the grandson of Emanuel Bringier and the son of Augustin Dominique Tureaud, both plantation owners. The plantation remained in the Tureaud family until 1950 when Dr. and Mrs. Robert H. Potts purchased it. The present owner obtained it in 1982 and has restored Tezcuco and furnished it with antebellum antiques, some of which include pieces by the famous New Orleans cabinetmakers, Mallard and Seignouret. Tezcuco contains a number of details that distinguish it as an exceptional example of the raised Creole cottage, including the ironwork in an elaborate grape and vine pattern found on the two side porches and of the railing on the front porch. The raised house rests on a stuccoed brick basement with similar piers under the galleries and porches. The hip roof has gabled, pedimented dormers with entablatures and pilasters.

Tezcuco's plan amounts to an enlarged and developed version of the traditional Creole plantation house plan. The traditional form has a hall-less plan, three rooms wide and one room deep with rear cabinets flanking a gallery. Tezcuco's plan is similar in concept, but is more enlarged. Its floor plan is more elaborate and developed than that of the typical plantation house of the period. The 15-foot ceilings give the rooms an unusual grandeur and spaciousness. While the Greek Revival influence is prevalent in the house, the Italiante style is also present in the somewhat heavier, more pronounced mantels, ceiling medallions, ironwork and foliated plaster cornice work. Around 1955, a small room was added to the rear of each of the side porches in order to install modern bathrooms. A modern kitchen, housed in a sunporch, was added on the side porch on the upriver elevation. A vestibule entry to the basement was also constructed next to the front steps.

Tezcuco is located at 3138 State Hwy. 44 in Darrow. Tezcuco features a restaurant, bed and breakfast accommodations and tours daily (except major holidays) for a fee. Tours are offered 9:00am to 5:00pm March-November; 10:00am to 4:00pm December-February. Call 225-562-3929 or visit for further information.

Donaldsonville Historic District

The Donaldsonville Historic District is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River and encompasses an area of about 50 blocks. The buildings, about 640 of them, date mainly from the period of 1865-1933 and include residences, commercial, and public buildings, five churches, and three cemeteries, of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths. The Donaldsonville Historic District is architecturally significant because it contains the finest collection of buildings from the pre-Civil War era to 1933 to be found in any of the Mississippi River parishes above New Orleans. Comparable to other Mississippi River towns in Louisiana, Donaldsonville contains a number of Queen Anne Revival residences and a number of Italiante commercial buildings. Donaldsonville is unique in that it retains a sizable complement of working class areas complete with housing including shotgun houses, cottages and bungalows, as well as neighborhood stores. Donaldsonville also possesses several neo-classical buildings and two fine Romanesque Revival office buildings. A Romanesque Revival Courthouse, the site of which was part of the 1807 plan for Donaldsonville, is located on Houmas Street. Moreover, the Lemann Store, located at 314 Mississippi Street, is probably the finest Italiante commercial building in any Mississippi River town north of New Orleans. With its cast-iron gallery, its three-story sprawling mass, and its rich ornamentation, the Lemnan Store, built in 1878, stands as a monument to architect James Freret, the first New Orleans architect to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

The development of Donaldsonville began in 1806 when William Donaldson hired Bartholemew Lafon to prepare a street plan. It included a number of grand public spaces: a semicircular park and drive along the Mississippi River (Crescent Park and Drive) and Louisiana Square, all of which are still extant. After the majority of the town was destroyed during the Civil War, the town's recovery came in the form of the New Orleans, Mobile and Chattanooga Railroad, which began regular service between Donaldsonville and New Orleans in 1871. Donaldsonville is one of only three Mississippi River towns in the state north of New Orleans, which go beyond the normal speculative grid plan. Donaldsonville's plan incorporates baroque features such as a semicircular park and an axial street leading to an open public square.

The Donaldsonville Historic District is bounded roughly by the waterway of Bayou LaFourche on the west, the Mississippi River levee to the northeast, Church St. on the east and by Marchand Dr. on the south, in Donaldsonville. From I-10, take exit 182 to the Sunshine Bridge and take Hwy. 3120 north to Donaldsonville. Residences are private and not open to the public, but many of the businesses, institutions, and government buildings welcome visitors. Visit the Donaldsonville Tourist Information Center at 714 Railroad Ave., open 8:30am to 5pm daily or call 225-473-4814 for further information.

The Houmas

The Houmas house is significant in the area of architecture as an excellent example of a plantation house designed in the peripteral mode of the Greek Revival. It represents an important regional variation of the Greek Revival, which typified many of the grandest residences in the deep South. Houmas house is also historically important because under owner John Burnside in the 1850s and 60s it was the center of the largest slave holding in Louisiana. With over 800 slaves, it represented the largest economic unit in the prevailing slave economy of the state's pre-Civil War period. The plantation house began in the late 18th or early 19th century as a two-story, pitched roof brick building with end wall chimneys and a stuccoed exterior. The house had two rooms on each floor with a central staircase, six over six windows, and exposed beams, some of which were beaded. Although it presents a historic appearance, this old portion of the house has been much reworked. Changes made by Dr. Crozat include the removal of the stairs, the addition of an upstairs hall with a Palladian window, the replacement of the fireplaces and mantels, and the installation of closets and cupboards.

In 1840 a square plan, two and a half-story, peripteral style mansion of stuccoed brick was built in front of the original portion. The normal rear gallery was omitted because of the close proximity of the old house. The 1840 portion is three rooms deep with a wide central hall plan. It has a graceful helix staircase set in a rear vestibule opposite a corresponding curving wall. The dining room and front parlor connect by means of wide doors. Significant exterior features include the handsome colossal Doric galleries, the Federal arched dormers, the cupola, and the movable louvered shutters. The axial formal garden, which extends to the sides and rear of the house, is largely the result of work done by former owner Dr. George Crozat in the 1940s. In the 1940s Dr. Crozat demolished a pair of rooms which had connected the older portion with the 1840 portion, and built a glazed breezeway with an arch at each end. He also installed a modern kitchen and bathrooms in the 1840s portion.

The Houmas is located at 40136 Hwy. 942 in Darrow. Fortunately, the house was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but please check with them directly to confirm the current hours of operation. The Houmas is open for guided tours by costumed interpreters daily 10:00am to 5:00 February- October; and 10:00am to 4:00pm November-January, except on major holidays. Call 225-473-7841 or visit for further information


Duncan F. Kenner (1813-1887) built Ashland for his wife, Anne Guillemine Nanine Bringier, a member of an old and influential French family of Louisiana. Ashland-Belle Helene is representative of the massiveness, simplicity, and dignity which are generally held to epitomize the Classical Revival style of architecture. Free of service attachments and with a loggia on all four facades, it is a more complete classical statement than the vast majority of Louisiana plantation houses. With its broad spread of eight giant pillars across each facade and its heavy entablature, Ashland-Belle Helene is among the grandest and largest plantation houses ever built in the state. Ashland-Belle Helene is also important for its association with Duncan F. Kenner, a sugar planter, horse breeder, lawyer and political figure during the antebellum period. The walls of Ashland (as the Kenner plantation was then known) were adorned with paintings of horses, and the grounds included a racetrack. Kenner himself was a keen advocate of scientific methods of farming and experimented with innovations in the sugar production industry. Kenner is said to have been the first in the state to use the portable railroad to carry cane from fields to mill.

In addition to serving in the Louisiana House of Representatives, and as a member of the Confederate Congress, Kenner was appointed in 1865 as minister plenipotentiary by President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, to gain the support of England and France for the Confederacy. When Kenner returned to Ashland at the end of the Civil War, he found his plantation in ruins and his slaves freed, the place having been raided by Union troops in 1862. At the age of 52 he had to start over again, but by persistence and great business skill, and by re-employing as laborers the slaves that had been freed, he built up an estate. When Duncan Kenner died, his plantation was even larger and more valuable than it had been before the war. In 1889, Ashland was purchased by John B. Reuss, a German immigrant who became a prosperous sugar planter. Reuss re-named the plantation "Belle Helene" in honor of his granddaughter, Helene Reuss.

Ashland Plantation is set approximately 1500 ft. from the Mississippi River, just off State Hwy. 75, north of Darrow. Ashland is not open to the public, but group tours can be arranged through the Ascension Tourist Commission. Contact them at 985-675-6550.

Bocage Plantation

Resting on some 100 acres on the east bank of the Mississippi River, Bocage Plantation is one of the jewels of the River Road plantations between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  The plantation house is a grand Greek Revival mansion.

Constructed in 1801, the original mansion was a wedding gift from St. James Parish planter Marius Pons Bringier to his eldest daughter, Francoise “Fanny” Bringier and her husband Christophe Colomb, a native of Paris, France, who claimed to be a descendant of Christopher Columbus. For many years, the belief was that the current house was the result of a full remodeling of the original 1801 building that took place around 1837. However, a recent renovation of the home, which in some places involved the removal of exterior stucco and interior plaster, revealed no hint of the remodeling of an earlier building.  During the process, the bases of four symmetrically placed chimneys surrounded by extensive charred remains and fragments of brick and broken glass were discovered buried about 40 feet behind the house. Experts involved in the recent renovation believe that these remains are of the original 1801 home and that the current building is a replacement for the one that burned.

Bocage was obviously designed by an architect well skilled in the Greek Revival idiom.  Although no documentary evidence exists to confirm the designer’s identity, circumstantial evidence points to renowned architect James H. Dakin.  A New York native, Dakin relocated to Louisiana in 1835 and came under the Bringier family’s employ.  He would later design Louisiana’s fine Gothic Revival Old State Capitol (1847-1849) in Baton Rouge.

Bocage’s façade features square columns, an impressive entablature with a denticulated cornice, a pediment shaped parapet (which is unusual for Louisiana) and a double gallery. 
Inside, the home has a Creole floor plan whose primary living space, called a premier etage, is located on the second floor.  Interior rooms opening into each other without hallways and a rear cabinet-loggia range make up the plan.  The grander rooms across the front open onto the upper gallery that overlooks the Mississippi River levee and provides a panoramic view of the 100-acre plantation.  However, premier etage’s most significant decorative feature is a splendid anthemion and patera door surround which encases a second-floor set of pocket doors. The design for this feature is taken directly from Plate 26 of Minard Lafever's 1835 builders' pattern book, Beauties of Modern Architecture, to which Dakin apparently contributed drawings. 

Dr. Marion Rundell, a native of Louisiana, has returned the mansion to its original splendor. “The plantation has never been open for public tours,” he said. “When I purchased Bocage in 2008 my goal was to open it for the public to enjoy. It is a unique property that maintains an important role in the history of the great plantation houses of the United States. Now you can visit it and see why it holds such an important historical role.”

Now a bed and breakfast, the stately mansion is open for tours and group functions. The mansion is furnished with fine antiques, paintings, and accessories.

Located about 47 miles from New Orleans or 20 minutes from Baton Rouge, LA, Bocage is on the East Bank of the Great River Road, just a short distance from Interstate-10 (turn off I-10 at Highway 22). Tours are available by appointment Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00pm – 5:00pm. Admission is $20.00 per person, with no charge for children under 12. Group discounts are available. To schedule a tour, book a bed and breakfast stay, or for details on group events, call 225-588-8000 or visit the plantation's website for further information.

St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church

St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church is perhaps one of the oldest churches in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. Tradition sets the date of the formation of the parish in 1761. The Capuchin Vicar General, Father Dagobert, directed that a church be established in its present location in 1769, and St.Gabriel was dismantled and moved to its present site in 1772. The Church served an area already settled by French Acadians who had first been exiled from Nova Scotia and then uprooted from Maryland in 1758. When Spain took over the administration of the territory from France the Church was dismantled and moved to its present location, approximately 14 miles east of Baton Rouge. A Spanish land grant dates this move from 1772-3, during the administration of Governor Unzaga. It was in this new location, in 1773, that the church was dedicated and placed under the invocation of St. Gabriel the Archangel. At least four chapels were established under the direction of St. Gabriel Church, as it was the hub of the Catholic Church system of Iberville Parish. These included St. Raphael and St. Paul's in the Bayou Goula area, St. Rose, and the St. John the Evangelist Church in Plaquemine.

The first baptism record available for the St. Gabriel Church is dated April 22, 1773, and the first marriage record is from January 1, 1773. They were recorded by Father Angelus de Revillagodas, a Spanish Capuchin who was at the church at Donaldsonville, a few miles down the Mississippi River. It was not until August 1779, that the French Capuchin, Father Valentin, became the first resident pastor. Two later prominent pastors were Father Cyril de la Croix, pastor from 1859 to 1865, who founded the first Conference of the Society of St.Vincent de Paul in the South, and Bishop Jean Marius Laval, who was at St.Gabriel from 1884 to 1890. Architecturally, St. Gabriel is unique because beneath its 19th-century façade lies an extremely rare18th-century French colonial church building. Its exterior is composed primarily of cypress, which remains an abundant material on the site. Its design is Classical on the inside, representative of its French Acadian origins and its exterior is an example of the Gothic style, which is executed simplistically with its frame construction.

The St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church is located at 3625 Hwy. 75, in St. Gabriel. It is open by appointment only, call 225-642-8441.

Nottoway Plantation House

The Nottoway Plantation House, one of the largest antebellum plantation houses in the south, is composed of 64 rooms, 7 staircases, and 5 galleries. This 53,000-square foot plantation home, constructed by John Hampden Randolph in 1858, is a fine example of an antebellum home. Randolph, whose father had come from Virginia in 1820, purchased the area in 1841. In 1860 Nottoway Plantation encompassed 6,200 acres and Randolph, the builder and owner of the property during that time, owned 155 African-Americans that worked his sugarcane plantation as slaves. When Randolph was ready to build his house, he went to New Orleans and asked various architects to submit designs, and chose Henry Howard's. Nottoway survived the Civil War, however damage occurred when a Union gunboat on the Mississippi River attempted to destroy the magnificent house until the gunboat officer realized he had once been a guest there and decided to spare Nottoway The Randolphs held onto the house through the Civil War and Reconstruction until 1889, when Mrs. Randolph sold the mansion following her husband's death.

Nottoway sits about 200 feet behind the Mississippi River Levee surrounded by oaks, magnolias, pecan trees, and sweet olives. Nottoway House is distinctive for being an essentially Italianate Style plantation house built in an era dominated by Greek Revival architecture. Nottoway contains an elegant, half-round portico as the side gallery follows the curve of the large ballroom bay window. Nottoway's thin Italianate pillars stretch vertically to touch all of its three levels, extending from the house's one-story brick base to the paramount height of the third-story made of wooden frame. From the front gallery the Mississippi River is in view. The interior of Nottoway is white in color, including Corinthian columns, lace curtains, carved marble mantels and even the floor, creating an elegant environment.

Nottoway Plantation House is located at 30970 Hwy. 405, the Mississippi River Road, 2 mi. north of White Castle, and can be accessed from Hwy. 1. Fortunately, the house was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but please check with them directly to confirm the current hours of operation. Tours are offered daily 9:00am to 5:00pm; there is a fee. The restaurant at the plantation is open 11:00am to 3:00pm, and 5:00pm-9:00pm daily. Please call 225-545-2730 for further information.

St. John Baptist Church

St. John Baptist Church is a large frame building located in the small rural African-American community of Dorseyville. Built between 1871 and 1875, the church is significant because it represents the earliest period of the African-American community of Dorseyville. The town of Dorseyville takes its name from Reverend Bazile Dorsey, the first pastor of St. John Church and the recognized founder of the community. Surrounded by sugarcane plantations, the village developed in the years immediately following the Civil War as a place for black agricultural workers to live. According to a cornerstone in the church, St. John was organized in 1868 and incorporated on September 19, 1869. The community was sufficiently established to appear on Mississippi River Commission maps of 1879-80. By 1893, local children had a school, thanks to the efforts of St. John Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Dorsey.

Although there is no written record of the founding of Dorseyville, it seems likely that it grew up around St. John's, given the early founding of the congregation and construction of the church building. Expressing the high aspirations of newly freed African-Americans, St. John's stands as a reminder of the pivotal role of the church in the African-American communities. St. John Baptist Church is a basilican plan building five bays deep with a second story gallery on three sides of the interior. The basic form and appearance of St. John Baptist Church is related to rural Greek Revival churches of the mid-19th century, possessing a clapboarded structure with tall windows, a partial entablature and a forward facing gable. However, unlike this prototype, St. John has a three-stage entrance tower at its center, which is largely Italianate in detailing. Although the church has experienced some change over the years, almost all modifications have been on the interior or to the rear. The exterior looks much as it did when the building was completed.

St. John Baptist Church is located at 31925 LaCroix Rd. at State Hwy. 1 in Dorseyville, eight miles south of Plaquemine. The church is open for church services, and by appointment. Contact Harriet Tillman at 225-687-4029. .

Plaquemine Historic District

The Plaquemine Historic District encompasses 21 blocks of Railroad Avenue, Main, Eden, Church, Plaquemine, and Court Streets. Incorporated in 1838, the town of Plaquemine developed as a commercial center due to its location on the Mississippi River at the mouth of Bayou Plaquemine. A lively steamboat trade built the town's fortunes, but this trade was partially disrupted in 1866 when severe flooding required that a dam be built to separate Bayou Plaquemine from the Mississippi. Although local civic leaders turned to the railroad to restore their commercial ties, they continued to campaign for waterway improvements until the Federal government opened the Plaquemine Lock in 1909. However, the decline in river traffic and the erosion of the West Bank of the Mississippi River turned Plaquemine towards the rail and the lock was closed permanently in 1961. Several "cave-ins," including a major one in 1888, plunged streets, businesses, and residences into the river. Today, as a result, most of the original town of Plaquemine is gone.

The Plaquemine Historic District includes the few Greek Revival buildings that have survived the ravages of the river and time as well as the later commercial area which developed along portions of Railroad Avenue, Main and Eden Streets between the 1880s and 1930s. Also included are the residential neighborhoods, which grew between the railroad and the river as well as along the West End of Main Street. The community's fine late Italianate, Queen Anne Revival, and 20th-century eclectic buildings owe their existence to the coming of the railroad. The district contains two 18th-century French Neoclassical style buildings, St. John School on Main Street is an Italian Renaissance style school. St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, also on Main Street, is a tour de force in the Italian Romanesque and early Christian styles. There are many other superior quality architectural examples in the district, including old City Hall, now the Iberville Museum, at 57735 Main Street. The City Hall has a four column pedimented portico, which makes it fairly unusual among Louisiana Greek Revival buildings. The Brusle Building at 23410 Eden Street stands as the finest commercial Italianate building in the parish.

The Plaquemine Historic District is bounded by Railroad Ave., Main, Eden, Church, Plaquemine & Court Sts. in Plaquemine. Residences are private and not open to the public, but many of the businesses, institutions, and government buildings welcome visitors. Visit the Historic Plaquemine Lock, a State Historic Sites, is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, call 225-687-7158 or visit the state park's website for more information. The Iberville Parish Tourist Information Center, open 10:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday-Sunday, except major holidays, is located at. For group tours or further information call 225-687-5190, or visit the parish's website.

Mount Hope Plantation House

Mount Hope Plantation House stands as an example of the architecture typical of Southeastern Louisiana farmhouses constructed during the 19th century. Built in 1817, it is the only farmhouse of its kind remaining in the Baton Rouge area. Through the years this plantation house has become part of the landscape of a thriving suburban neighborhood, its Greek Revival style of architecture distinguishing it from its surroundings. Mount Hope Plantation's mid-19th-century features include its mortise and tenon construction. Mount Hope Plantation, like many of its architectural type, embodies many traditional forms and characteristics, including the period cabinets, the central hall, the gabled roof, and the simple mantels. The one and a half-story house has a narrow central staircase flanked by pairs of rooms and a front gallery, which encompasses three sides of the house. The wide gable roof is a replacement of the original one that was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1940s. Chimneys are set between the front and rear rooms with simple mantels and exposed ceiling beams that line the interior. The galleries have simple posts with molded capitals on their upper portions. Mount Hope was originally constructed of cypress from the plantation.

The spacious lawns, oak trees, and colorful flowers and vegetation of the plantation itself find their origins from a 400-acre Spanish land grant endowed to Joseph Sharp, a German planter, in 1786. German families had settled in the region since 1718, when the Company of the Indies recruited them for the then French colony. Most Germans became culturally absorbed into the surrounding French Creole culture, but even with their addition, the European population of the colony remained small. When France ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1763, the total population of the colony stood at about 5,000 Europeans and 3,000 slaves. Later, during the Civil War, the plantation housed Confederate troops for the war effort.

Mount Hope Plantation is located at 8151 Highland Rd. in Baton Rouge. Tours are available 10:00am to 4:00pm, Tuesday-Saturday. Bed and breakfast accomodations are also offered. Please call 225-761-7000 or visit for further information.

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Louisiana State University (LSU) at Baton Rouge is the principal campus of the State University system. The historic campus consists of 46 buildings, with the majority of these dating from the 1920s and 1930s. Styled in a manner reminiscent of the architecture of the Italian Renaissance, many of the buildings achieve this effect with stucco over masonry construction and similar features. The campus presently rests on its fourth location; its first location in Pineville, Louisiana opened in 1860 and was destroyed by a fire nine years later. Following the fire, classes moved to the State School for the Deaf and Dumb in Baton Rouge, which also no longer exists. The third move for the University was to the Pentagon Barracks in 1886, which were used as a stronghold by first Confederate then Federal troops in the Civil War. Finally in 1918 the University purchased Gartness Plantation south of downtown Baton Rouge. Growth of the campus was spurred by the ascension of Huey P. Long to power in 1928. As governor and later U.S. Senator, Long made the growth of LSU a special item of interest, launching a major building campaign which continued through the 1930s.

The 46 historic buildings on the campus vividly reflect an important period in American architecture. The eclectic style they express has its roots in the French Beaux Arts system. This architectural spirit of learnedly imitating the past came to America in the late 19th century; LSU is by far the largest of the dozen or so eclectic complexes in the state, with 43 consistently styled buildings. The Memorial Tower on campus, built to resemble the historic clock tower at the basilica in Vicenaza, and the Old President's Home, designed in the Victorian Italianate Villa style, are but two examples on campus reflecting this architectural movement The architect who is primarily credited with the design of Louisiana State University's campus is Theodore C. Link, a former student of the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

Louisiana State University campus is located near the intesection of Hwys. 30 and 42 in Baton Rouge, with the historic section lying between Hwy. 30 and University Lake. The campus is open to the public Monday-Friday for tours. For further information, please call 225-388-3202.

Magnolia Mound Plantation House

Located in Baton Rouge, Magnolia Mound Plantation stands as a fine example of the architectural influences of early settlers from France and the West Indies. One of the earliest buildings in the city of Baton Rouge, the property was owned originally by James Hillen, an early settler who arrived in 1786. On December 23, 1791, John Joyce, from Cork County, Ireland, purchased the property. Here he lived with his wife, Constance Rochon, until he mysteriously drowned in Mobile on May 9, 1798. Constance Rochon Joyce went on to marry Armand Allard Duplantier, a former captain of the continental army under the Marquis de Lafayette and a most influential personality in the city. Several persons owned the property from the time of the Duplantier family to the late 19th century when Mr. Louis Barillier sold the land and improvements to Mr. Robert A. Hart. Finally, through family inheritance Mrs. Blanche Duncan acquired Magnolia Mound Plantation. Mrs. Duncan commissioned the architectural firm of Goodman and Miller of Baton Rouge to do extensive alterations and additions in 1951. Eventually, the city of Baton Rouge expropriated the property in 1966 for its historic and visual significance to the community.

The house originally had a three-room side by side room arrangement. It was extended to the rear in the early 19th century to include a formal dining room and two service rooms. A " U-shaped " gallery was constructed during this second stage of development. During the late 19th century, rooms were added under the gallery on the north and south. The basic form of the house is rectangular with a large hipped roof, which covered all rooms and galleries. During the early 19th century double hung windows were added. The interior décor was altered during the early 20th century.

Magnolia Mound Plantation House is located at 2161 Nicholson Dr. approximately one mile south from downtown Baton Rouge. It is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm, Tuesday-Saturday, and 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Sunday; there is a fee for admission. Please call 225-343-4955 for further information.

City Park Golf Course

City Park Golf Course was Baton Rouge's first public golf course, and the city's only public course until the mid-1950s. The short, 34-par, nine-hole course was completed in 1926 and officially opened in 1928. City Park Golf Course was built during the "The Golden Age of Golf"--when golf's popularity spread from the upper to middle classes as public courses were built at a rapid pace. Public golf courses increased the popularity of the sport because, unlike private courses, they only charged a nominal fee and did not require membership or annual dues. By 1930, 2.25 million Americans were playing golf on 5,648 courses, an 800 percent increase in the number of courses in 1916.

Prior to the opening of City Park, there were two private course in Baton Rouge. In 1923 taxpayers voted for a bond issue to finance the acquisition of park land. The following year, the city signed an agreement to develop a golf course with American Park Builders of Chicago. Scotsman Tom Bendelow was the company's designer and designed hundreds of courses during his career. Bendelow's design for City Park was derived from naturalistic Scottish designs, as was typical for this period of golf course design, and he took advantage of the natural conditions of the land, altering them as little as possible. The course straddles the meandering Baton Rouge Fault, which provides a notably hilly course in a part of Louisiana know for its flatness. Fairways are placed closely together, with no visual delineation. Half of the sand traps of the current course are original, and water hazards on some of the holes are remnants of a bayou in the southwest corner of the course. Local, self-taught horticulturist Steele Burden was responsible for the tree planting, and today numerous mature trees (mostly live oak) define many of the fairways and provide great challenges for golfers. The course also includes the original clubhouse, that combines Colonial and Spanish Revival elements. No longer remaining are other elements of the entire 1920s recreational complex developed by American Park Builders, which included a swimming pool, zoo and amusement pavilion.

City Park Golf Course is located at 1422 City Park Ave. in Baton Rouge. The course is open daily 7:00am until dark. There is a minimal daily fee, cart rental is extra. Call 225-387-9523 for further information, or visit the city's golf course website.

USS Kidd

Having undergone almost no alterations since the end of World War II, the U.S.S. KIDD has become one of the most important tourist attractions in the city of Baton Rouge. This extremely rare example of an American World War II Fletcher class destroyer is open daily and is permanently docked across the street from the Old State Capitol on the Mississippi River. Altogether, the KIDD earned 12 battle stars while being used in the Pacific during both World War II and the Korean Conflict. The U.S.S. KIDD was part of Destroyer Squadron 48 of World War II, which was composed of nine Fletcher class destroyers, four of which were constructed at the Kearney Shipyard in New Jersey. The Fletchers were the backbone of the Pacific destroyer force during World War II. Small, fast, fighting ships, they were used to screen task forces, escort convoys, bombard shore positions and deliver torpedo attacks. No aircraft carrier or battleship ventured into enemy waters without her escorting destroyers ahead. On April 11, 1945, during the battle for Okinawa, the U.S.S. KIDD suffered a kamikaze attack when a Japanese pilot targeted and crashed into her, killing 38 crewmen.

After the end of the War, all of the other destroyers of the 245 Fletcher and Sumner class besides the U.S.S KIDD were modernized. This was done by the replacement of the rear island of the ship with a helicopter platform, the addition of side launching torpedo tubes, and the installation of hedgehog depth charge launchers. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the veteran sailors of the Destroyer Squadron 48 Association, and the people of Louisiana, the ship was saved as a museum-memorial. Towed from Philadelphia to her new home in Baton Rouge in 1982, the 2,050-ton destroyer underwent restorative efforts to get her up to her 1945 VJ Day appearance. The exhibition of the vessel is unique due to the rise and fall of the Mississippi River-which may range up to 45 feet in a year. Because of this fluctuation in water depth, a special mooring system was designed.

The U.S.S. KIDD, a National Historic Landmark, is part of the Historic Warship & Nautical Center, located at 305 S. River Rd., across the street from the Old State Capitol. The site is open daily 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m., closed on Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day; there is a fee for admission. For further information call 225-342-1942 or visit

Old Louisiana State Capitol

September 21, 1847, was the historic day that the City of Baton Rouge donated to the state of Louisiana a $20,000 parcel of land for a state capitol building, taking the seat of the capitol away from the City of New Orleans. The land donated by the city for the capitol building stands high atop a Baton Rouge bluff facing the Mississippi River, a site that some believe was once marked by the red pole, or "le baton rouge," which French explorers claimed designated a Native American council meeting site. The state house itself is one of the most distinguished examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States. Designed by architect James Harrison Dakin, its floorplan, towers, exterior stained glass windows and gables give it the appearance of a 15th-century Gothic Cathedral. Dakin referred to his design as "Castellated Gothic" due to its decoration with cast-iron, which was both cheaper and more durable than other building materials used at the time. The building design was so unusual and distinctive that its romantic, medieval appearance earned the Old Statehouse ridicule from the timelessly famous author, Mark Twain.

In 1862, during the Civil War, Union Admiral David Farragut captured New Orleans and the seat of government retreated from Baton Rouge. The Union troops first used the "old gray castle," as it was once described, as a prison and then as a garrison for African-American troops under General Culver Grover. While used as a garrison the Old Louisiana State Capitol caught fire twice. This, in turn, transformed the building into an empty, gutted shell abandoned by the Union troops. By 1882 the state house was totally reconstructed by architect and engineer William A. Freret, who is credited with the installation of the spiral staircase and stained glass dome, which are the focal points of the interior. The refurbished state house remained in use until 1932, when it was abandoned for the New State Capitol building. The Old State Capitol Building has since been used to house federally chartered veteran's organizations, and the seat of the Works Progress Administration. Restored in the 1990s, the former Capitol Building is now a museum.

The Old Louisiana State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark, is located in downtown Baton Rouge, next to the Mississippi River at 100 North Blvd. and currently houses the Old State Capitol Center for Political and Governmental History, which contains several state of the art exhibits. The Center is open Monday-Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm to 4:00pm, but closed on Mondays from June until March. There is a fee for admission. Call 225-342-0500 for further information.

Old Louisiana Governor's Mansion

The Louisiana Old Governor's Mansion was built in 1930 under the governorship of Huey P. Long, its first resident. The building, of stucco Georgian construction, is reported to be a copy of the White House as it was originally designed by James Hoban. It is said that Governor Long wanted to be familiar with the White House in Washington when he became president, so he had the White House duplicated in Baton Rouge. Some dispute this legend and simply say that the mansion is merely a fine example of a Georgian mansion. This is the second governor's mansion to occupy the site. The first governor's mansion, a large frame house built for Baton Rouge businessman Nathan King Knox, served as the official residence of Louisiana governors from 1887 until 1929, when it was razed. The architects for the neoclassical mansion were Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth of New Orleans. The building has two floors, a full basement, and an attic. The slate mansard roof has open balustrades and 14 windows set in a small gable projecting from a single roof. Four large 30-foot Corinthian columns support a pediment adorned with carvings depicting a pelican feeding her young framed by ornate scrollwork, a design based on the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana.

Governor Long's plan to destroy the previous antebellum mansion met with opposition. Despite great public disapproval he had the old mansion raised by convicts from the State Penitentiary. When impeachment proceedings began against the Governor in March 1929, one of the 19 articles of impeachment was that he destroyed the old mansion and another accused Long of destroying and disposing of property and furniture from the Governor's mansion, the capitol, and State offices. Huey Long failed to be impeached, and the new mansion was completed in 1930 and members of the State legislature attended the official housewarming party on June 27, 1930. In 1961 Governor Jimmy Davis moved into the present Governor's Mansion, thus ending this mansion's 32 years as the official residence of the Governors of Louisiana.

The Old Louisiana Governor's Mansion is located 502 North Blvd. between Royal and St. Charles Sts. in Baton Rouge. The mansion is open for tours 10:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday-Friday. There is a fee. Call 225-387-2464 for further information or visitor the mansion's website.

Pentagon Barracks

The Pentagon Barracks of East Baton Rouge Parish has been won and lost by the Spanish, French, and the British, and even has the distinction of being the site of the birth of a nation - the short-lived Republic of West Florida. During it's use as a military post, many famous men and public figures served or visited, including Lafayette, Robert E. Lee, George Custer, Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln. The British erected a dirt fort on the site of the barracks in 1779, which was soon captured by the Spanish Governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez. Not wanting to be under the rule of Spain, the citizens of the West Florida Territory revolted and in September of 1810 raised the flag over the fort declaring their independence and announcing the birth of the Republic of West Florida. The citizens then turned the area over to the United States on December 10, 1810. The fort served as the assembly point for American troops going to the Creek War in 1813-1814 and to the Battle of New Orleans in 1814-15. A major expansion of the post was made in 1819-1823 when new barracks were built and a large Arsenal Depot was established to serve the southwestern United States. The four, two-story brick buildings were built in 1825 after six years of planning. Captain James Gadsden of the U.S. Army, who prepared the schematics for the barracks, headed the construction. Originally, there were five buildings, Gadsden having intended for a group of buildings arranged in a pentagon-shaped configuration to be erected for the boarding of enlisted soldiers.

The fort remained an U.S. military post until 1861 when it was seized and captured by the State of Louisiana, who turned the operation of the arsenal over to the Confederacy. However, in 1862 during the Battle of Baton Rouge, Federal troops reclaimed the garrison and renamed it Fort Williams for the late commander who died in the battle. After the Civil War, in 1884, the General Assembly of Louisiana passed a resolution allocating the full usage of the buildings and grounds of the Pentagon Barracks to Louisiana State University. The University gained full possession of the grounds in 1886. Today the Pentagon Barracks houses the offices of the lieutenant governor and private apartments for state legislators.

The Pentagon Barracks are located at State Capitol Dr. at River Rd. in Baton Rouge. It is not open to the public.

Louisiana State Capitol Building and Gardens

The present state capitol building of Louisiana, located in Baton Rouge, will forever be entwined with the political career of Huey Pierce Long. It was Long's idea for the state to construct a new building for the statehouse in 1928 when he was running for Governor of the State of Louisiana. The construction of the building was part of his political platform, as well as the notion to place the state capitol on the site, which was once Louisiana State University and formerly a military post known as the Pentagon Barracks. Included was a strip of land on which the Arsenal Museum was located. Long had contracted with a New Orleans architectural firm, Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth, to design the building. Next, Governor Long had pushed through an amendment which financed the new capitol by the end of the 1930 Legislative Section. Within 36 days of the completion of the final design, actual construction by the George A. Fuller Company of Washington, D.C. had begun. The construction work took 29 months to complete and the dedication was coordinated with the inauguration of Oscar K. Allen as Governor on May 16, 1932. Ironically, Long was not present because he had been elected to the U.S. Senate and was in Washington, D.C.

The Louisiana Capitol, a 34-story, 450-foot Alabama limestone-clad skyscraper, is an excellent example of a greatly simplified classicism with Art Deco details that were in vogue for monumental buildings in the late 1920s. Only two other state capitols had been built with this design and its 34-story frame is to date unrivaled by any other building in Louisiana. The tower is decorated with important groups of sculpture representing the history of the State. Long was assassinated in the Capitol Building, the building for which he fought to be constructed and used as the state's government seat, and died on September 10, 1935. However, he was fittingly buried in the center of the public Capitol Gardens on the State Capitol's grounds. His memorial, a statue showing him holding a model of his monument, stands proudly in the English Garden in the shadow of the skyscraper that was part of his political platform for governor.

The Louisiana State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark, is located at N. 3rd St. on State Capitol Dr., Baton Rouge. It is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm, daily, except on major holidays. There is no fee for admission. For further information, please call 225-342-7317.

Poplar Grove Plantation House

Poplar Grove Plantation House is a single-story, galleried pavilion featuring a combination of Chinese, Italianate, Eastlake and Queen Anne revival elements. Designed by noted New Orleans architect Thomas Sully, the house was built as the Banker's Pavilion at the 1884 World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition held in New Orleans. The New Orleans Daily Picayune of February 8, 1885 described its 1885 debut as an example of "one of the handsomest structures on the Exposition Grounds" and further concluded, "in every respect the structure does credit to the gentlemen who created it and the profession it represents." In 1886 it was purchased by the family of the present owners, and moved by barge on the Mississippi River to its present location. Here it was renovated and enlarged. Noteworthy decorative features include the jigsaw cut Chinese dragons in the gallery brackets, and multi-pane Queen Anne Revival windows of stained glass. The galleries are trimmed with an elaborate Italiante modillion cornice. Poplar Grove Plantation House has undergone some changes, yet retains major features contributing to its architectural significance, including its essential form and the oriental details.

Poplar Grove Plantation House is architecturally significant statewide because of its unique character. While Poplar Grove was not the personal statement of an eccentric client, it was nonetheless deliberately designed to be both eye-catching and extremely unusual. One of the architectural aspects of the era was a fondness for things oriental. The Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876 brought exotic building styles, many with an oriental flavor, to the attention of the American public. This normally took the form of wallpaper designs, prints, collecting porcelain jars, but it was seldom seen manifested in the architecture of the period. Poplar Grove is a most unusual and exuberant example of this stylistic element found in Louisiana. In about 1910 the rear wing was extended and enlarged incorporating an 1850s building found elsewhere on the plantation.

Poplar Grove Plantation House is located 3142 North River Rd. in Port Allen. It is open for groups tours by appointment, there is a fee. Please call 225-344-3913 for further information or visit the house's website at

Aillet House

Standing in its new location on the grounds of the West Baton Rouge Museum, Aillet House is an important example of a small, Creole plantation house. The Aillet House contains five features which are themselves unusual within the Creole context. These include the single leaf attic gable doors, interior French doors, an unusual side door, interior staircase, and an enclosed hallway filling the loggia (the roofed open gallery along the front side of the building). The rebuilt masonry features original brick whenever possible. The interior retains all of its 1830s features. The house is near the museum house and a cabin, all in a park-like setting reminiscent of the house's former rural environment.

The early settlers of Louisiana combined features from two architectural traditions in order to create the Creole house. One came from the French West Indies, where Frenchmen, already known as Creoles, were knowledgeable about the design and construction of houses suitable for a tropical environment. This tradition provided for multiple double-leaf doors for ventilation. The second architectural tradition contributing to the Creole house derived from the professional engineers and carpenters whom French explorer and colonizer Iberville brought to America. These men constructed buildings in simplified provincial Louis XIV and later in Louis XV styles. All permanent buildings were timber frame construction. During the late 18th century, however, Creole architecture came under the influence of two immigrant groups, the Acadians from Nova Scotia and the Americans from the eastern seaboard.

The events which would bring the Acadians to Louisiana began in 1755, when the Colonel Charles Lawrence, the British governor of Nova Scotia, suddenly expelled almost 6,000 of the approximately 16,000 French Acadians who were residing in Acadie. Bernado de Galvez, the Spanish governor of Louisiana during America's Revolutionary War, welcomed Americans to the colony after they won their independence. The Aillet House, built during the transitional period of Creole architecture (1790-1860), reflects some of the Federalist style that influenced Creole housing from 1790 to 1830, but is still firmly viewed within the context of the continuing Creole tradition.

Aillet House is located at 845 N. Jefferson Ave. in Port Allen. The house is open for tours 10:00am to 4:00pm, Tuesday-Saturday, Sunday 2:00pm to 5:00pm; donations accepted. Call 225-336-2422 for further information.

Cinclare Sugar Mill Historic District

The Cinclare Sugar Mill Historic District consists of 46 buildings and two structures, including a sugar mill and associated support buildings, a "big house" and other management facilities, including housing for workers and managers. The buildings date from 1855 to 1947. The original plantation house, constructed in 1855, was known as the Marengo Plantation. In 1874 and 1877 its owners sold off the land and the plantation itself, and in 1878 an investor from Ohio, James H. Laws, purchased it. In 1906 the Laws family moved the Greek Revival plantation house to a spot on Manager's Row and replaced it with a house reflecting northern architectural tastes. At one time the railway came up to the sugar processing plant the Laws constructed and improved. This massive, rambling sugar mill was constructed in two stages. Begun in 1897 and completed in 1906, the building is constructed of riveted steel girders and sheathed in corrugated metal. The complex features wood frame, brick, and metal construction with building heights ranging from one-story structures to a chimney stack that towers above the mill. Many of the district's buildings are oriented toward the Mississippi River, as was the custom when steamboats were the mode of transportation. The roads in the historic district form a cross pattern, with Terrell Drive heading from Highway 1 to River Road adjacent the Mississippi, and North Florence becoming South Florence after crossing Terrell Drive. It is on North and South Florence where the workers' homes can be found.

The period 1880 to 1920 saw rampant industrial growth in Louisiana, including large-scale centralized sugar processing. The group of buildings at Cinclare is significant because it is a rare surviving example of a South Louisiana sugar complex. Today barely a handful of these complexes remain to illustrate the important role sugar played in the economy of the state's southern region. Its sugar mill, despite additions and modernization, survives to represent a major chapter in sugar production in Louisiana, which saw the displacement of individual plantation sugar mills with large central factories. These buildings also stand as a rare example of a company town from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Cinclare Sugar Mill Historic District is located on State Hwy. 1 near Brusly, and 3 miles from Interstate 10. The mill and the residences are private and not open to the public.

Cherie Quarters Cabins

The two single-story slave dwellings, which remain on the historic Riverlake Plantation, are known as the Cherie Quarters Cabins. These buildings are significant because they are rare surviving examples of a once common antebellum building type which has all but disappeared from the state. Standing roughly 400 feet apart, the twin cabins are all that remain of the slave quarters for Riverlake Plantation. The number of cabins on the site during the antebellum period remains unclear but former residents of a thriving African-American community who called the quarters home in the 1930s assert that about 30 cabins existed at that time. Rectangular in plan, each of the two remaining cabins is raised approximately two feet above grade on large brick piers. Each cabin is two rooms wide with a gallery on its façade. The gallery is open to the tin roof, which is pitched from front to back, has gable ends, and is pierced by a central chimney. Both rooms possess front and rear doors, as well as a window on one side. In the antebellum era, each room housed a separate African-American family.

Cherie Quarters was the birthplace and childhood home of African-American author Ernest J. Gaines, writer of noted works including The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1970), A Gathering of Old Men (1983), and A Lesson Before Dying (1994). Despite their recent use, the age and authenticity of the quarters are uncontested as the timber frame constructions are held together with nails produced between 1830 and 1880. The census schedules of 1860 reveal that there were approximately 1,640 holdings of 50 or more African-American slaves in Louisiana on the eve of the Civil War. This information, along with various other sources, indicates that at one time there must easily have been thousands of slave cabins across the state. Although no comprehensive survey of slave quarters has been undertaken in Louisiana, it is probable that only about 40-50 survive.

The Cherie Quarters Cabins are located half a mile from the intersection of State Hwy. 1 and Major Ln. in Oscar. They are privately owned and not open to the public.


Riverlake Plantation is one of Pointe Coupee Parish's premiere examples of the Creole architectural influence. During Riverlake's history, the plantation house underwent three major periods of construction covering 1820, 1840 to 45 and 1890, respectively. Set on the west bank of the False River, Riverlake began around 1820 as a well detailed, two-story, galleried structure with brick on the lower story and bousillage construction above (mud and animal hair mixture applied inbetween timbers). The upper story was originally three rooms wide and one room deep, while the lower story consisted of numerous smaller rooms. Around 1840-45, the entire roof structure was replaced, the present dormers added along with the front and rear upper galleries with their enclosed sides and cabinets. After this second period of refurbishment, Riverlake was the typical late Creole plantation house; unlike early Creole plantation homes which were detailed in the Colonial style, Riverlake had Greek Revival details. In the late 19th century, a two-story rear kitchen wing was appended to the 1840-45 rear gallery. Minor changes included replacing earlier Greek Revival columns with Eastlake columns.

In the 1890s and early 1910s Bungalow style glass doors replaced the French doors opening onto the upper gallery, and the exposed brick walls were covered with cement throughout the house. Riverlake Plantation also boasts two surviving although deteriorated pigeonniers (structures used by upper-class French for housing pigeons) which are noteworthy, rare features of plantation homes. Riverlake is one of a select group of major Creole raised plantation houses which are Pointe Coupee Parish's largest and oldest buildings. Riverlake is also notable because of its size, and is wider than most traditional plantation houses of its type. Its Creole features include its hall-less, cabinet plan, its heavy hip "umbrella" roof complete with the customary pair of small dormers, and its basic, two-story, open galleried form.

Riverlake is located on Hwy.1 just west of its intersection with Hwy. 416 in Oscar. It is privately owned, and not open to the public.

Parlange Plantation

The Parlange Plantation House, built about 1750, is a classic example of a large French colonial plantation house in the United States. Exemplifying the style of the semitropical Louisiana country house, the Parlange Plantation House is a two-story raised cottage. The main floor is set on a brick basement with brick pillars to support the veranda of the second story. The raised basement is of brick, manufactured by slaves on the plantation. These walls, both inside and out, were plastered with a native mixture of mud, sand, Spanish moss and animal hair, then painted. The ground story and second floor contain seven service rooms, arranged in a double line. The walls and ceiling throughout the house were constructed of close fitting cypress planks. The house was once surrounded by a formal garden that was destroyed during the Civil War. During this conflict, Parlange alternatively served as Union headquarters for General Nathaniel Banks and his army as well as Confederate headquarters for General Dick Taylor. Built by Vincent de Ternant, Marquis of Dansville-sur-Meuse, the Parlange Plantation House remains largely intact.

Vincent de Ternant received the plantation grounds from a French land grant and developed the 10,000 acres into an active plantation facing the False River. When de Ternant's son Claude inherited the plantation, he changed the cash crop from indigo to sugarcane and cotton. When Claude died his second wife, Virginie remarried another Frenchman, Colonel Charles Parlange, from whom the plantation took its name. Together they had one son, also named Charles, who survived the Civil War to begin a distinguished career as a State Senator, United States District Attorney, Lieutenant Governor, Federal judge, and finally Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. When Virginie died, Charles and his wife moved to New Orleans and Parlange was left to tenants for the next 20 years until Charles' son, Walter, left New Orleans to return and take up the life of a plantation farmer. Today 1500 acres surround Parlange, which is still used as a cattle and sugarcane plantation.

Parlange Plantation is located on 8211 False River Rd./Hwy. 1 at New Roads. It is privately owned, but open by appointment only; there is a fee charged. Please call 225-638-8410 for further information.

Poydras High School

A school of beige and brown brick with off-white cast concrete decorative elements, Poydras High School stands on the edge of downtown New Roads. Noted for the quality of its brickwork, Poydras High School was vacant for a few years before being rescued by its new owner, the Pointe Coupee Historical Society. Built in 1924, Poydras High School is locally significant in the area of education because its construction represents a "coming of age" for public education in the parish seat of New Roads. Poydras High School is the descendent of a succession of schools made possible by the philanthropy of Julien Poydras, a local planter and public benefactor. When Poydras died in 1824 his will contained a clause bequesting the sum of $20,000 for an education fund, the interest from which was to be used for the construction of a school. Poydras College, established in 1829 near New Roads, operated until the outbreak of the Civil War. A "Poydras School of New Roads" operated for a few years in the 1880s, and in 1889, the immediate predecessor of Poydras High School was established on the present site, named Poydras Academy. By 1912, the school had outgrown the resources of the Poydras Fund, and it was taken over by the Pointe Coupee School Board, which operated the school as Poydras Academy until 1923. In that year, a school district was formed, a $100,000 bond issue was passed, and the school board purchased the property in question.

It is clear that the Poydras High school, a modern three-story brick school which made it possible to separate students by grades, and contained a library, gymnasium, and chemistry lab, opened an era of improvement in the quality of public education provided in New Roads. Historically, it represented a shift towards improved educational opportunities in the Parish, representing a statewide trend in the 1920s. Poydras High School is architecturally significant as one of the few neo-classical, high-style buidings in a parish where Creole vernacular is the predominant architectural style. Currently the school houses offices and a museum.

Poydras High School is located at 460 W. Main St., in downtown New Roads. It is open by appointment only, please call the Pointe Coupee Historical Society at 225-638-9031 or 225-638-8333 for further information.

Pointe Coupee Parish Museum

The Pointe Coupee Parish Museum, located on the west bank of False River near Parlange Plantation, is architecturally significant because it is a rare example of a log cabin type construction in a Creole type house. The original portion of the house dates from the early 19th century. It has a typical Creole plan, consisting of two rooms, front and rear galleries, and a single central chimney. This portion is constructed of horizontal logs with full dovetail corners. There is no gap between the logs. Before 1840 a boussilage (mud and animal hair mixture applied inbetween timbers) addition was made to the south side, giving the house a width of three rooms. At that time the double pitch roof was added, along with the present chamfered column galleries with their exposed rafters. The chimney top was later replaced, along with some of the doors and windows. A small bathroom and kitchen have recently been added in the southeast corner of the house. This type of notched-log construction is not uncommon in French Canada where the architectural style is described as "piece sur piece."

Creole architecture is fundamentally a vernacular tradition. This means a limited number of choices were available to the builder at each stage of design and construction. Two stages of building development were important. The first stage was the basic house type, which were rectangular, usually small buildings in which the front door was located in the wall parallel to the roof ridge. The second stage of development was the method by which Creole builders added to the basic house type to form a larger dwelling. This expansion was accomplished by surrounding the small basic house with one or more sets of ancillary rooms and porches rather like rings around a central core. These expansion spaces might include side rooms, new galleries, an open rear porch called a loggia, and small corner rooms flanking the loggia. Such corner rooms were called cabinets. The Creole tradition is the principal non-British colonial architecture tradition in the Eastern half of the United States.

The Pointe Coupee Parish Museum is located at 8348 False River Road (State Hwy. 1) in New Roads. It is open 10:00am to 3:00pm daily and by appointment. Call 225-638-7788 for further information.

St. Francis Chapel

St. Francis Chapel is situated near the banks of the Mississippi River on the outskirts of New Roads, Louisiana. The simple rectangular building, designed in the Gothic Revival architectural style, has an open hall church plan of four bays, with a small balcony over the central front entrance. A simple gable roof with a small frontal tower completes the picture of the Church, which has served the local Catholic community since 1895. St. Francis Chapel's history is entwined with that of the Mississippi River, which destroyed its predecessor of the same name, despite attempts by the local community to save it from the encroaching waters. The present St. Francis Chapel, however, is the third church of that name to serve the local Catholic community. The first local church of that name, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was dedicated on March 16, 1738. Due to encroachments from the Mississippi River on the church, a second church was built on a different site in 1760. Samuel Wilson, Jr., in Religious Architecture in French Colonial Louisiana, wrote that this 1760 church "resembled a typical, small, one-story French colonial plantation house surrounded by galleries . . ."

In 1890 the river again threatened St. Francis Chapel. Efforts were made by the local community to move the colonial landmark. From 1891-1895 the Pointe Coupee Banner, a local newspaper in Pointe Coupee Parish, gave a week-by-week account of the disassembling, removal, and the unsuccessful attempt to reconstruct St. Francis Chapel. The Banner called for the preservation and removal of the Church to safer ground, and began subscriptions to save the old church. Two local carpenters, Louis Green and Ephriam Desormes, were awarded the contract for disassembling the old colonial church. However, due to the general decayed condition of the timber, Father F. A. B. Laforest, a pastor and the most important leader in the movement to save the old Church, decided that a new building would have to be constructed. On June 1, 1895, the new Saint Francis Chapel was dedicated. It remained on its new site until the 1930s when, once again, the river forced the building's removal to it's present site.

The St. Francis Chapel is located at Hwy. 420 East and Hwy. 10 in New Roads. It is open by appointment only, please contact St. Mary Church, at 348 W. Main St., or call then at 225-638-9665.

St. Francisville Historic District

The two streets of Royal and Prosperity comprise the heart of the area known as the St. Francisville Historic District. A high concentration of buildings dating from the early 19th century to the early 20th century line these streets, reflecting the history of the region. Such buildings as the 1905 Georgian Revival Courthouse, the c.1810 Greek Revival Camilla Leake Barrow House, and the 1909 brick Romanesque Revival style Bank of Commerce & Trust, are to be found in the heart of the commercial and government center of town. Extending down Ferdinand and Sewell Streets, the character of the St. Francisville Historic District changes. Here Bungalows, Eastlake or Renaissance Revival houses with pyramid roofs, commercial and public buildings and the later raised cottages are common. The cottages represent perhaps the last generation of a traditional Louisianan house type with Renaissance Revival influence.

St. Francisville's history is closely related to the town of Bayou Sara, located at the conjunction of Bayou Sara Creek and the Mississippi River. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Bayou Sara grew into one of the most flourishing ports between Natchez and New Orleans. Due to frequent flooding, market places were established up on the bluff, where St. Francisville was eventually built. From 1825 to 1860 cotton continued to be a dominant commodity and vital to the commercial trade of St. Francisville. Grace Church, within the St. Francisville Historic District, was one of the finest examples of church architecture during of the time. Built in 1858, this church was as much a representation of the plantation owners' wealth as were the area's great plantation homes. After the Civil War, the number of small merchants rose, and St. Francisville received a number of newcomers, some Jewish, who established a synagogue (later turned into a Presbyterian Church) and were largely responsible for the construction of the Julius Freyhan High School in 1907. St. Francisville's ascendancy as a major railroad-shipping center for agricultural produce and cattle produced the turn-of-the-century wealth seen in many of its buildings.

The St. Francisville Historic District is located off US Rte. 61 in St.Francisville, overlooking the place where the Bayou Sara creek joins the Mississippi River. Many special events and tours are held throughout the year. Visit the West Feliciana Historical Society for exhibits, tourist information, brochuers and guidebooks. They are open 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday-Saturday, 9:30am to 5:00pm Sundays, except holidays. For further information call 1-800-789-4221 or visit the city's website.

Oakley Plantation House

Arriving at Oakley Plantation on June 18, 1821, the young aspiring naturalist John James Audubon wrote: "The rich magnolias covered with fragrant blossoms, the holly, the beech, the tall yellow poplar, the hilly ground and even the red clay, all excited my admiration." Audubon's stay at Oakley lasted only four months, but he painted 32 of his famous bird pictures here and developed a love for the beautiful West Feliciana Parish. Mrs. Lucy Pirrie brought the young Audubon to Oakley as a tutor for her daughter, Eliza. The arrangement required that Audubon spend half his time teaching drawing to Eliza, but he was otherwise free to roam the woods and work on his naturalistic paintings. For this Audubon was to receive 60 dollars a month plus room and board for himself and his 13-year-old pupil assistant, John Mason. Audubon returned at a later date to join his wife, then teaching there, and his son. He wrote, "Numerous pupils desired lessons in music, French and drawing. . .the dancing speculation fetched two thousand dollars; and with this capital and my wife's savings I was now able to foresee a successful issue to my great ornithological work." This work was later to become Audubon's famous Birds of America.

Oakley Plantation House is located in the Audubon Memorial State Park in West Feliciana Parish. Construction on the house began in 1799, when Ruffin Gray, a successful planter from Natachez, Mississippi, moved here on land purchased from the Spanish authorities. Gray died before the house was completed, and his widow Lucy Alston oversaw its completion. She later married James Pierre of Scotland. Eliza, the daughter of James Pierre and Lucy, was born here in 1805, and it was her future education that introduced Audubon to the Felicianas. Oakley's interior has been restored to the Federal period style (1790-1830), reflecting its appearance when Audubon stayed here. The three-story home expresses the colonial architecture adapted to the geographical location. Oakley Plantation House contains 17 rooms, with front and side entrances leading to the landscaped grounds, which are shaded by oak and ancient crape myrtle trees.

Oakley Plantation House, within Audubon Memorial Park, is located 41/2 miles southeast of St. Francisville on State Hwy. 965., off US Hwy. 61. It is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, there is a fee for adults, but children under 13 and seniors are free. Call 225-635-3739 for more information or visit the park's website.

Rosedown Plantation

Rosedown Plantation, encompassing 374 acres in St. Francisville, is one of the most intact, documented examples of a domestic plantation complex in the South. It embodies the lifestyle of the antebellum South's wealthiest planters in a way very few other surviving properties can. The plantation's landscape is a laboratory for the study and interpretation of the cultural traditions of slavery, the life style of the gentry and scientific experiments in agriculture and horticulture. Rosedown was established in the 1830s by Daniel and Martha Barrow Turnbull, and remained in the hands of their descendants until the 1950s.

At its height, the plantation encompassed 3,455 acres, and included the typical components of cotton plantations of the mid-antebellum period in the South--agricultural acreage planted with the cash crop, fields of fodder crops, pastureland for cattle, stables for horses, yards and pens for poultry and other farm animals, the quarters of enslaved Africans (where they typically had their own individual garden plots), a kitchen garden, an orchard, and the pleasure, or ornamental, gardens adjacent to the main plantation house, or the "Great House." Over the years the acreage was subdivided and although the working portions of the plantation have vanished, both the house and the gardens survive. The c.1835 Federal-Greek revival style great house, complete with Grecian style wings c.1845, is at the head of a 660-foot long oak allee. It is typical of the small minority of great houses built by the South's wealthiest planters. Near the great house are several dependencies, most notably three latticed summerhouses and a Greek temple style doctor's office.

What distinguishes the landscape of Rosedown are its pleasure gardens, notable for their size, sophistication and refined plant collections. The gardens were the passion of Martha Turnbull and her garden diary provides invaluable insight into the story of the garden's planting and management. She recorded her first entry in 1836 and her last in 1895, a year before her death at the age of 87. Eighteen acres of ornamental pleasure gardens illustrate a combination of the axiality of the Baroque style and the winding paths of the picturesque tradition. Many of the plants introduced by Martha survive today, and include one of the earliest collections of camellias in the Deep South. She also relied heavily on plants imported from the Orient, such as cryptomeria, azaleas and crape myrtles. Due to the access available to Martha's life story through her own words, Rosedown reminds us of the central place that ornamental horticulture held in the lives of many people living in the plantation South during the antebellum period and its aftermath.

Rosedown's labor intensive gardens were made possible by an enslaved African workforce. The 1860 census indicated that 145 slaves were living in 25 houses on the plantation (an average of six people per house). The succession of Daniel Turnball after his death in 1862 indicates the occupations of only a few--carpernters, driver, blacksmith, cooks, carriage driver, house servant and washer woman. None are identified as gardeners, but Martha names individual slaves frequently in her diary, indicating that they were essential in the planting and maintence of the gardens. On-going archaeological investigations are being conducted to learn more about the lives of the African Americans who lived on the plantation.

Rosedown Plantation, now owned by the state of Louisiana, is located at 12501 La. Hwy. 10 in West Feliciana Parish. Fortunately, the house was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but please check with them directly to confirm the current hours of operation. It is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily; closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's day. Guided tours of the main house are provided on the hour from 10:00am to 4:00pm. There is a fee for admission. For more information call 1-888-376-1867 or visit Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site's website.

Butler-Greenwood Plantation

Standing as a fine example of an antebellum plantation house, Butler- Greenwood Plantation consists of 44 acres and a plantation complex including the plantation house, a gazebo, and a rear brick kitchen. The beauty of Greenwood lies in the landscape architecture surrounding this historic plantation home, and the side gardens flanking the house remain as one of the few extant examples of antebellum garden design in West Feliciana Parish. English and French stylistic garden features adapted to the Louisianan climate, as well as a sundial, summer house, garden gate and urns are the notable unique features of the Butler-Greenwood grounds. The north side garden is in the form of a geometric parterre, an ornamental garden with paths between the beds, reminiscent of the style developed in French gardens of the 16th and 17th centuries. In contrast to the formal geometric pattern of these sunken side gardens, the entrance of Greenwood, with its naturalized, free-flowing manner, is derived from the design of 18th-century English gardens.

In 1770, a physician named Samuel Flower came to the Baton Rouge area from Reading, Pennsylvania, and within a decade purchased the land where he would build Greenwood. In 1810 a fire destroyed the original Greenwood, but Flower built a larger house on the site, which is the present Butler-Greenwood Plantation home. Samuel Flower died in 1813, and the title of Greenwood eventually passed to his daughter, Harriet, who married Judge George Mathews in 1809. Mathews was an important figure in the early judicial history of the state, being one of the presiding judges of the Louisiana Supreme Court in its early phase. By 1860, Harriet and her son, Charles Mathews, were running a plantation of 1,400 acres worked by 96 African-American slaves living in 18 dwellings. After Harriet's death in 1873, the management of the estate fell on Charles's wife, Penelope. The history of Greenwood Plantation provides an excellent illustration of how southern women managed great southern plantations. The house possesses a degree of architectural significance despite the loss of its historic three-story side wing.

The Butler-Greenwood Plantation is located on 8345 US Hwy 61, 2 ½ miles north of St. Francisville The house features bed and breakfast accommodations and guide tours Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm for which there is a fee. Please call 225-635-6312 for further information.

Afton Villa Gardens

Begun in 1849 and restored in 1915, the terraced garden of Afton Villa stands as an outstanding example of antebellum landscape architecture. The 140 acres of rolling countryside which house the gardens include a mile and a half driveway enveloped by an alley of live oaks. The landscaping effects at Afton Villa were achieved by taking advantage of the natural contours of the property. Like many traditional formal southern gardens, Afton Villa has terraces which descend in stages away from the house. Afton Villa Gardens' most typical traditional features are its maze and its parterre garden. Both retain their original designs, although time has allowed for some alterations. A sundial now marks the spot where a small gazebo once stood. Next to the parterre garden is the Barrow Family Cemetery. The centerpiece of the cemetery is a large marble Tuscan obelisk, erected by the United States Congress in memorial to Senator Alexander Barrow upon his death. The cemetery is the only feature of the present garden which predates 1849, dating to the time of the first plantation on the site in the late 18th century. A large hedge surrounds the cemetery, and an artificial pond and lake dot the grounds.

The history of Afton Villa is entwined with that of the Barrows, one of the richest and most prominent families in antebellum Louisiana. Bartholomew Barrow purchased the land in 1820 from his brother William, and in 1839 he sold it to his son, David. David would eventually carve out a thriving plantation empire of some 2,000 to 3,000 acres, which would make him, according to the 1860 census, the wealthiest planter in West Feliciana Parish. In 1849, he and his second wife, Susan A. Woolfolk, built around an existing small house to create an imposing Gothic Revival villa of some 40 rooms, and added the gardens. David Barrow died in 1874 and his wife continued to live at Afton Villa until 1876, when she sold the estate. The house was destroyed by fire in 1963. Afton Villa Gardens is popularly known for the azaleas which grow there. One particular strain, known as the Pride of Afton or Afton Villa Red, was developed at the gardens.

The Afton Villa Gardens are located at 9247 North US Hwy. 61. The Gardens are open for self-guided tours 9:00am to 4:30pm March 1-July 1 and October 1-December 1. There is a fee for admission. Call 225-635-6773 or visit for further information.

Myrtles Plantation

General David Bradford was forced to flee from President George Washington's army in 1794, because of his leadership role in the Whisky Rebellion. General Bradford arrived in Louisiana and obtained a Spanish land grant of roughly 650 acres. A wealthy judge and businessman from Washington County, Pennsylvania, Bradford showed interest in the area before the conclusion of the unsuccessful Whisky Rebellion forced him to settle there. Bradford built the plantation that was later named "the Myrtles" in 1797. He died in 1808, and his widow sold the land to her son-in-law, Clark Woodruff, a lawyer and friend of Andrew Jackson. In 1834 Woodruff sold it to Ruffin Gray Stirling, who restored the plantation. The Stirling family held the plantation until 1894, after which it passed through a succession of owners. Restoration efforts on the gracious 1 1/2-story country house began in the mid-1970s.

The house itself is a broad, low, rambling frame mansion with a clapboard exterior and was built in two halves. The first half, which was built in 1796, forms the western six bays of the main façade. These were increased in size due to mid-19th-century restoration, when the house also received a southward extension that almost doubled its size. The unusually long gallery is supported by an exceptional cast-iron railing of elaborate grape-cluster design. It is the interior detailing, however, which is perhaps the most important feature of the Myrtles Plantation. Most of the ground floor rooms have fine marble, arched mantles in the Rococo Revival style, with central console keystones or cartouches. Most of the rooms have plaster-ceiling medallions, no two of which are the same. All of the flooring and most of the windows in the house are original. The Myrtles Plantation is an outstanding example of the expanded raised cottage form that characterized many Louisiana plantation houses by the mid-19th century. The plantation house is touted as one of the most haunted houses in America, as it was the scene of a Reconstruction-era murder and other more natural deaths that have entered into local folklore over the years. Restored to its 1850s grandeur, complete with fine French furnishings and chandeliers, the Myrtles enhances its haunted-house reputation with candlelight mystery tours.

The Myrtles Plantation is located off US 61 North, in St.Francisville. It is open daily for tours 9:00am to 5: 00pm, with mystery tours at 8:00pm Friday and Saturday evenings; there is a fee for admission. The Myrtles also offers bed and breakfast accomodations, and a restaurant (closed Monday and Tuesday). Please call 225-635-6277 for further information.


Catalpa Plantation is one of numerous late Victorian cottages found across Louisiana, significant for the beautiful gardens that surround it. The oak trees lining the grounds were planted in 1814, and Catalpa's oak alley is thought to be the only one in Louisiana which has an elliptical shape. Primarily a cotton plantation in the antebellum period, Catalpa's grounds were devastated during the Civil War, and the plantation house burned. Mr. Fort, the owner, died during the Civil War. In 1885, his son, William J. Fort, rebuilt Catalpa and it is this house that still stands. Although it is often referred to as a "Victorian cottage," the house is in fact quite large. It has a two room deep main block with a central hall and a large rear wing with a central hall of its own. Double doors separate the two central halls. The rooms are large, and finished with standard late-19th century details. Catalpa Plantation House is important for its false marbled mantels. During the late-19th century manufactured cast-iron and slate mantels were sometimes given a marble treatment. This work was done by hand, but at the factory rather than on-site. The mantels at Catalpa are important as examples of Victorian art because they show the Victorian fondness for elaborately contrived effects.

The slave cabin behind the Catalpa Plantation was built of pit-sawn timber. Originally the cottage had no gallery, but a new roof and a gallery were added around 1900. North-northeast of the house is a sizable pond that, according to Fort family history, dates from the antebellum period. The pond is one of the surviving elements of what was once an extensive landscaped garden. Catalpa's alley is one of a limited number of plantation oak alleys which survive across the state. The exact date of the oak alley is uncertain, while family history indicates that it dates from the early 19th century, the scale of the trees indicates that the alley has stood for about 120 years.

Catalpa is located at 9508 US Hwy. 61, 5 miles north of St. Francisville. The house is open daily for tours 1:00pm to 4:00pm, but closed from December 15-January 31. There is a fee for admission. Call 225-635-3372 for further information.

Cottage Plantation

The Cottage Plantation House was built from 1795 to 1859 and consists of three buildings joined together. The architecture reflects both Spanish and English influence. Built of virgin cypress, except the massive sills, the core of the house dates from the Spanish colonial era, beginning in 1795. Completed in 1859, the Cottage Plantation consisted of two buildings in the form of an "L," with the original house as part of the foot of the L. Standing complete as it did in antebellum days, the Cottage Plantation has in addition to the plantation home the old school house, outside kitchen, milk house, carriage house, barn, three slave houses, and other outbuildings. Every room was originally furnished with a hand carved fireplace mantle, some of extreme simplicity and others elaborate with fluted Doric columns and panels in a sunburst design.

Judge Thomas Butler (1785-1847) acquired the Cottage Plantation around 1800. Judge Butler was the first Criminal Court judge of the Florida Parishes and a member of Congress. Moving to the Mississippi Territory c.1807, after practicing law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he became a Captain of a cavalry troop in the Mississippi Territory Militia in 1810. Appointed Parish Judge in 1812 and Judge of the Third District in 1813 by Governor Clairborne of Louisiana, he was elected to the Fifteenth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas B. Robertson. Re-elected to the Sixteenth Congress, he served until March 3, 1821. Butler was the owner of 12 sugar and cotton plantations, president of the board of trustees of the Louisiana College in Jackson, and a member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati. He died in St.Louis, Missouri, on August 27, 1848, and is interred on his plantation, "The Cottage."

The Cottage Plantation is located at 10528 Cottage Ln., off US Hwy 61, six miles north of St. Francisville, on the east side of the road. The Cottage offers bed and breakfast accommodations and tours daily from 9:00am to 4:30pm, there is a fee for admission. Closed on major holidays.

Centenary College

Centenary College stands as a monument to Louisiana's education, being one of four major state Church schools existing prior to 1860. The other three colleges were the College of St. Charles at Grand Coteau, the College of the Immaculate Conception at New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mount Lebanon University at Mount Lebanon. Centenary College, founded in 1839, had first been located in Clinton, Mississippi, then in Brandon Springs, Mississippi, before removing to Jackson in 1845. When Centenary College moved to Jackson in 1845 from Brandon Springs, Mississippi, it took over the physical plant of the College of Louisiana, which was being discontinued. The East Wing at Centenary College was designed by a Captain Dalafield of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and built in 1832-33. The West Wing was built in 1837 as a duplicate of the East Wing. In 1857, at a cost of sixty thousand dollars, a large central building located between the two wings was erected, containing a sizable auditorium, library rooms and recitation rooms. Although its former campus was a 3-building complex, now only the West Wing of the main building remains along with the "professor's house," as it was once known to students. The West Wing is two stories high, one room deep, with a two-story free standing colonnade encompassing the south front and east and west ends. Each floor was divided into 12 rooms, each with a front window and two rear windows. Chimneys were set between each pair of rooms, an arrangement that was later modified.

Centenary College, then proclaimed as a "church school," was the perfect replacement for The College of Louisiana. Unlike The College of Louisiana, Centenary College upheld a thriving record of enrolling students until the semester just before the Civil War. During the war, its buildings were used as a military hospital and to house Confederate troops. Consequently, it was during this time that the Greek Revival buildings of the school were considerably damaged. After the war, the college's fortunes declined, and in 1906 the trustees of the college and officials of the Methodist Church accepted the offer of a 40-acre site in Shreveport, and Centenary College moved to its present location.

Centenary College is located off Hwy 10 at E. College and Pine Sts. in Jackson. Operated by Louisiana State Parks, the Centenary College Commemorative Area is open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm, there is a fee for admission. Call 1-888-677-2364 for further information or visit the park's website.

Courthouse and Lawyers' Row

The East Feliciana Parish Courthouse stands as a monument that has suffered few alterations from its original appearance as completed in 1840. Designed by J. S. Savage and built by Lafayette Saunders, the Courthouse stands as a two-story brick building surrounded by a Doric colonnade. Saunders, when his construction bid of $23,000 was accepted, resigned as a member of the East Feliciana Parish Police Jury. The five buildings comprising Lawyers' Row face the Courthouse across Woodville Street on the north side of the public square. These, like the Courthouse, are Greek Revival in style and painted white. Dating from the 1840s, the two brick offices at the east end of the row and the frame buildings at the west end of the row are alike in having tetrastyle porticos averaging 20 feet in width. The other two buildings each have seven columns under level cornices. A full Greek Revival Courthouse opposite five adjacent law office buildings of harmonious design form an ensemble unique when first completed and even more remarkable for having survived largely intact.

Today, only four courthouses built in Louisiana before the Civil War are still used for parish proceedings. Aside from the Clinton, East Feliciana Parish, they are found in Thibodaux, Lafourche Parish, St. Marinsville, St. Martin Parish, and Homer, Claiborne Parish. Some courthouse alterations in recent years to the Clinton Courthouse included cutting vents in chimneys and putting lights on the roof. Original specifications confirm that the East Feliciana Parish Courthouse is minimally altered from its appearance as completed in 1840. The Courthouse and Lawyers' Row, painted in a pristine white surrounding a public courtyard, provide a scenic view of a past that has survived completely intact. Lawyers' Row is located across from the Clinton Courthouse and currently contains offices.

Courthouse and Lawyers' Row, a National Historic Landmark, are located in downtown historic Clinton along State Hwy 10. The buildings are open to the public during normal business hours, although tours are not available.

Port Hudson

Port Hudson was the site of the longest siege in American history, lasting 48 days, when 7,500 Confederates resisted some 40,000 Union soldiers for almost two months during 1863. Realizing that control of the Mississippi River was a key military objective of the Union, the Confederacy in August 1862, had its forces erect earthworks at Port Hudson. In 1863, Union Major General Nathaniel P. Banks moved against Port Hudson. Three Union divisions came down the Red River to assail Port Hudson from the north, while two others advanced from Baton Rouge and New Orleans to strike from the east and south. By May 22, 1863, 30,000 Union soldiers had isolated 7,500 Confederates behind 4 ½ miles of earthen fortifications. On May 26 Banks issued orders for a simultaneous attack all along the Confederate perimeter the following morning. The first Union assault fell on the Confederate left wing, which guarded the northern approaches to Port Hudson. Timely reinforcements from the center allowed the Confederates to repulse several assaults. The fighting ended on the left wing before the remaining two Union divisions advanced against the Confederate center. Here the Confederates repulsed the Federal advance across Slaughter's Field, killing approximately 2,000 Union soldiers. Union casualties included 600 African-Americans of the First and Third Louisiana Native Guards. Free blacks from New Orleans composed a majority of the First Louisiana Native Guards, including the line officers. Former slaves commanded by white officers composed the Third Louisiana Native Guards. Led by Captain Andre Cailloux, a black officer, the two regiments made their advance on the extreme right of the Union line. Captain Cailloux was shot down as he shouted orders in both French and English.

Another attempt to take Port Hudson failed on June 13, when the Confederates inflicted 1,805 casualties on the Union troops while losing fewer than 200. The Confederates held out until they learned of the surrender of Vicksburg. Without its upriver counterpart, Port Hudson, the last Confederate bastion on the Mississippi River, lacked strategic significance and the garrison surrendered on July 9, 1863. Today, the Port Hudson State Commemorative Area encompasses 889 acres of the northern portion of the battlefield, and has three observation towers, six miles of trails, a museum, a picnic area and restrooms. Four thousand Civil War veterans are buried at the Port Hudson National Cemetery, which stands just outside the old Confederate lines.

The Port Hudson State Commemorative Area is located at 236 Highway 61, in Jackson. The park is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, there is a fee for admission. Groups are requested to call 1-888-677-3400 in advance. Visit the park's website for further information.

The Port Hudson is the subject of an online-lesson plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

Greensburg Land Office

The Greensburg Land Office, one of the three oldest public buildings in the Louisiana Florida Parishes, is an excellent example of a small, rural office building in the Greek Revival style. This building is historically significant because it housed the St. Helena District Land Office, which serviced the Florida Parishes. In 1812 Congress organized a land district out of the Florida Parishes, but there were no provisions made for surveying the private claims and public lands in the area. On March 3, 1819, Congress officially named this region the St. Helena District and provided for its survey. It was here that Florida Parish residents applied for American patents to their lands, a step that was part of the "Americanization" process of Louisiana. In 1843 the land office was removed from Greensburg to Baton Rouge.

Located adjacent to the St. Helena Parish Courthouse entrance on the courthouse square, the Greensburg Land Office's architectural style is found in the Eastern United States, as well as nearby Lawyer's Row in Clinton, but seldom in other parts of Louisiana. The common bond brick building has one room and a single end wall chimney and is entered through a small portico which has two massive brick Doric columns. There is no frieze, and the gable roof was replaced in the late 19th century. The only major interior feature is a large paneled Adams mantel, which dwarfs the room. Few of the buildings built in this fashion were spared from the redevelopment of America's urban downtowns in the late 1800s. Currently the Greensburg Land Office is used as a Veterans' Administrative office and it is one of the oldest public buildings still in use in the Florida Parishes.

The Greensburg Land Office is located on northeast side of the Courthouse Square in Greensburg. It may be seen by appointment only. Contact the St. Helena Parish Tourist Commission, P.O. Box 162, Greensburg, LA 70441.

Old St. Helena Parish Jail

The Old St. Helena Parish Jail, built in 1855, is an excellent example of a mid-19th century jail building. It is probably one of fewer than five extant examples in Louisiana, as well as one of the oldest buildings in St. Helena Parish. The Old St. Helena Jail is a simple two-story brick building whose main space cuts through the square plan at a 45 degree angle, leaving two small triangular spaces on each story. One of these spaces contains a relatively new triangular staircase. On the cement floor is evidence of the location of the former cells. The Old St. Helena Parish Jail exemplifies Louisiana's history in the area of its legal and criminal codes, which differs from that of the rest of the United States. Louisiana was established in 1699 as a French colony under French laws, and later during Spanish rule, Spanish laws applied.

The outstanding difference between Louisiana and the other States is found in the judicial system, where it has retained the laws of France and Spain, expressed in its civil law, in preference to English common law. The Civil Code, as drawn up in Louisiana in 1808, is a codification of French and Spanish modifications of ancient Roman law. Elements of the Code Napoleon were adapted at this time. However, the tendency in Louisiana has been to adopt criminal procedure and rules of evidence from English common law. English common law began after the Norman Conquest of 1066 when the king sent his magistrates to settle disputes and enforce the unwritten law, believed common to all men, that his subjects understood. Common law was spread by England and adopted by the lands and territories conquered or established by the English, including most of the United States, Canada, and all of New Zealand and Australia. Louisiana law is akin to the civil law jurisdictions found all over the world, from South and Central America to much of Africa and all of Continental Europe, a system which can trace its origins back to the Code of Justinian, the Eastern Roman Emperor, who reigned from 527-565 AD.

The Old St. Helena Parish Jail is located next to the courthouse square in the center of Greensburg. It is open by appointment only. Contact the St. Helena Parish Tourist Commission, P.O. Box 162, Greensburg, LA 70441.

Camp Moore

Situated on roughly 450 acres of land just north of the town of Tangipahoa, Camp Moore is of historical significance because it was the training camp for about 25,000 Louisiana soldiers before they entered combat for the Confederacy during the Civil War. In May 1861, the site for the camp was selected and the troops began to arrive. The new camp was named for Governor Thomas Overton Moore, and Confederate Brig. General E. L. Tracy was placed in charge of it. During the remainder of 1861, the 4th-13th and 16th-20th regiments, as well as a battalion of infantry, successively trained here. Each of these regiments was organized with about a 1000 men. Due to the policy of moving regiments to the front as soon as they were sworn in, there were probably never more than 5000 men at Camp Moore at any one time. The 5th-10th regiments were sent to bolster the Confederacy's armies in Virginia, where they formed part of two Louisiana brigades. The other regiments served in the Confederate Army of Tennessee against the Union armies.

After the fall of New Orleans in April 1862, with Baton Rouge threatened by the Union Navy, Governor Moore made Camp Moore his headquarters during the second week in May 1862. At the end of July 1862, Confederate General John C. Breckenridge assembled about 5000 troops at Camp Moore. They marched to Baton Rouge and made an unsuccessful attempt to force the Federals out of the city on August 5, 1862. During the rest of the war, Camp Moore served as a base for small calvary units and as a training camp for some conscripts. Since the 1890s, local organizations including the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Children of the Confederacy have worked with the State Legislature to preserve and maintain the cemetery. As of the present, the state of Louisiana's Office of State Parks owns approximately seven acres, including the cemetery and the Camp Moore Confederate Museum.

Camp Moore is located along Hwy 51 just north of Tangipahoa. The museum is open from 10:00am to 3:00pm Wednesday - Saturday; there is a fee for admission. Call 985-229-2438 for further information or visit the

Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District

Within the heart of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, "America's Antique City" famous for its artisan and craftsmen exhibitions, lies the Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District. The city derived its name from the Choctaw Indian language, referring to the abundance of Spanish moss on trees in the area. The Pine Street corridor between Railroad Avenue and Sixth Street is, within the context of the Florida Parishes, a superior example of a small town, turn-of-the-century commercial zone. Within Tangipahoa Parish, the Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District is noted for its historic role in strawberry production, an industry of crucial importance. Strawberry production displaced cotton as the "money crop" of the parish by 1910, and by the 1920s, strawberry production precipitated an economic boom, supplying the entire mid-western market.

The Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District comprises an area of three streets of predominantly early 20th-century commercial buildings. There are 67 buildings within the district, most are constructed of brick, and the majority are one-story high. The only exception to this is the West Pine Street Corridor from Railroad Avenue to 6th Street where two-story buildings dominate the streetscape. Here covered wooden galleries shading shop fronts and apartments above the galleries are characteristic of commercial buildings in downtown areas in the 1890s to 1900s. Other commercial buildings that are included in the historic district represent the change in the design of these types of edifices from 1911 on. The buildings constructed after this time are one-story, and plain in comparison. A one-story commercial warehouse, once a strawberry packing plant, stands on 113 East Hickory Street. There are 30 major towns in the Florida Parishes, most of which possess some 1920s commercial buildings and a few have a scattering of earlier, more richly ornamented commercial buildings.

The Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District is bounded by 5th, 7th, W. Hickory, and W. Oak Sts. in the center of Ponchatoula, off Hwy. 51. The cafes, antique stores, and other businesses within the district are all open to the public during normal business hours. The city also hosts a large strawberry festival in the spring. Visit the town's website at for further information.

Sylest House

The Sylvest House, once located in Fisher, Louisiana, has been moved to the rural, wooded setting of the Washington Parish fairgrounds in Franklinton. While modest in design, this late 19th-century example of a dog trot log cabin is constructed of small and medium sized round logs with saddle-notches at their corners. Built in 1880 by farmer Nehemiah Sylvest, the Sylvest House stood as the home of the Sylvest family and is considered an excellent representative of the local history of Washington County because of its simplistic style and design. While other parishes had been adequately explored and settled Washington Parish at the time was at best frontier-like. Washington Parish was the center of a vast wilderness area and remained largely uncultivated until 1900. Local historian Daunton Gibbs wrote, in A Brief History of Washington Parish, "Most of the land owners were stock raisers with a few acres of land in cultivation." Therefore crude log cabins seem to have been typical of the time and place. The house itself has an early 20th-century kitchen attached to the back of the rear gallery.

Ultimately the Sylvests had 12 children. According to the 1880 federal census, Sylvest was a 35-year-old farmer. His wife Lenora, then 25 years old, was listed as "keeping house." They had been born in Louisiana, and both of their fathers had come from Portugal. The 1880 Agriculture Census provides detailed information concerning Sylvest's farm as of that date. He owned a total of 160 acres, of which 15 were under cultivation. The value of his farm, including land, fences, and buildings, was $400. His livestock consisted mainly of 25 swine and 15 barnyard poultry. Not much additional information is available on the Sylvests. Like most of the rest of the 1890 census, the data on Washington Parish was destroyed. As of 1900, there were eight children, ranging in age from three to 18, living in the household with the parents. Since the Agriculture Census data for 1900 was destroyed, there is no information available on the farm as of that time.

The Sylvest House is located at the Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton. It is open for events and by appointment only for groups. Contact the Washington Parish Tourism Commission at 985-735-5731 for further information.

Knight Cabin

The Washington Parish fairgrounds in Franklinton, Louisiana, has become the relocation site of several log cabins built during the late 1800s in Washington Parish that were once threatened by the possibility of demolition by a highway project. The Knight Cabin, originally located northwest of Enon, Louisiana ,was removed to it's new location at the fairgrounds in a wooded area to recreate the feel of its initial setting. The house itself consists of one large room with a sleeping loft in part of the attic. The cabin is constructed of split half-round logs, which are square-notched at the corners. The Knight Cabin, constructed by George and Martha Knight in 1857, is significant as a surviving example of the smaller German log house, a vernacular house type which is rare in Washington Parish. The Knight's were a family of farmers who raised livestock and built their cabin of materials that they found themselves-namely logs which were split into half-round segments and were square-notched in the house's corners. Their one-room cabin with its loft and mud chimney is representative of the pioneer era of the then wild, untamed Washington Parish.

The 1860 Census listed George Knight, a native of Louisiana, as a 28-year-old farmer with real estate valued at $800 and personal estate at $483. His 19-year-old wife Martha Anne, a Mississippi native, and their one-year-old daughter Margery lived with him. In 1870, there were six children, four daughters and two sons. Knight owned about 175 acres of land at this time, which increased to 250 acres by 1880. By then he had considerable livestock, including two horses, 36 cows, and 75 pigs. In addition, ten acres of corn yielded 150 bushels, one-half acre of sugar yielded 120 gallons of molasses, and one-and-a-half acres of sweet potatoes yielded 125 bushels.

The Knight Cabin is located at the Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton. It is open for events and by appointment only for groups. Contact the Washington Parish Tourism Commission at 985-735-5731 for further information.

Sullivan Home

The Sullivan Home, built in 1907 in Bogalusa, Louisiana, is historically significant for its association with William Henry Sullivan. Known in his time as "the father of Bogalusa," Sullivan, as general manager of the Great Southern Lumber Company's Bogalusa operations, was in complete charge of the construction of the plant and entire town of Bogalusa. Sullivan held authority in Bogalusa as the head of its lumber camp until he became the town's mayor in 1914 - an office he kept until his death in 1929. By 1929, under Sullivan's direction, the Great Southern Lumber Company had built a company-owned town of 10,000 people. At the time of his death William Sullivan was Vice President and General Manager of the Great Southern Lumber Company, Executive Vice President of the Bogalusa Paper Company, and a Director of the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad. His house is significant in three areas--architecture, industry, and local history.

Set on a large wooded lot, the house is a symmetric, two-and-a-half-story frame edifice, which combines elements from the Colonial Revival and Queen Anne styles. The Colonial Revival characteristics may primarily be viewed from the house's exterior; these characteristics include its three-bay colossal order gallery, the front door, the ballroom, Palladian window motif, and dormers. The most architecturally significant Queen Anne feature of the house is its rigid, mannered style. This is exemplary of Queen Anne styled homes built at the turn of the century and expresses the trend to move away from the irregularity of the larger, older Queen Anne houses. The workers in the town came to refer to the home as "Official Quarters." It is located in a section of town called "Little Buffalo" or "Buffalotown" since it was the residential district where many of the company officials who had come from Buffalo, New York, had their homes. The Sullivan House was the largest and grandest of the homes in this section of town.

The Sullivan House is located at 223 S. Border Dr., just off Ave F (Hwy 1075) in Bogalusa. The house is privately owned, and not open to the public.

Salmen House

The Fritz Salmen House is a one-and-one-half-story frame residence located on a large lot bordering one of Slidell's major thoroughfares. Built around 1900, the Fritz Salmen House is locally significant because of its close association with Fritz Salmen, founder of the brickyard which was Slidwell's first major industrial facility. The home was Fritz Salmen's residence from its construction until his death in 1934. The Salmen Brothers Brick and Lumber Company was the economic mainstay of Slidell from its founding in the 1880s through at least the second decade of the 20th century. Stylistically, the Fritz Salmen House features elements from both the Colonial Revival and the Queen Anne styles. The Colonial Revival decorative features include it's overall symmetrical, boxy shape, a pillared porch wrapping around two sides of the building beneath the home's main roof, a hipped roof with prominent central shed dormers, and a double entrance door. The dwelling's surviving Queen Anne style characteristics include textured shingles on the sides of the dormers; one intact bay window; and corbelled chimney tops.

Slidell's birth coincided with the arrival of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad, which surveyed the townsite in 1883. At the time the parish was already well known for its fine clay deposits, which had furnished the raw material for brick making since well before the Civil War. When Swiss immigrant Fritz Salmen arrived in 1886, Slidell became a center of brickmaking. With his two brothers, Jacob and Albert, Fritz established a small brickworks in which the employees made bricks by hand. True entrepreneurs, the brothers soon branched out, establishing The Salmen Brothers Brick and Lumber Company in 1886. Next, they expanded into shipbuilding in 1914 and then this portion of the business branched off into its own company, the Slidell Shipbuilding Corporation on Bayou Bonfouca. After the economic boom years during World War I, Fritz and Albert, the surviving brothers, began to cut back their operations. By 1926, a new company owned the original brick and lumber plant, but the Salmen brothers, in their seventies, operated a smaller brick and lumber plant along the bayou.

The Salmen House is located at 127 Cleveland Ave. in Slidell. The house is now a restaurant and special event venue. Groups tours can be arranged by call ing 1.866.672.8866, visit for dining information.

Abita Springs Pavilion

The Abita Springs Pavilion, constructed in 1888, is important for its historic role as a popular resort spot for New Orleans residents from the late 19th century through the 1960s. When covering the renewed interest in preserving the Pavilion in 1972, one New Orleans newspaper printed, "There are scores of New Orleanians who nostalgically remember their childhoods when their parents took them to Abita Springs for the summer." A raised, wooden, octagonal structure, 46 feet high and 52.6 feet in diameter, the Pavilion has a concrete foundation with four drinking fountains, now capped, where visitors could sip from the springs. In 1867, a local physician, Dr. T. M. D. Davidson, purchased the property upon which the Pavilion was built. Dr. Davidson knew of the local Choctaw Indians' belief in the healing powers of the springs and promoted the medicinal effects of the spring waters. Word of the springs spread to neighboring communities and, in 1887, the first railroad arrived to the area. Boarding houses, hotels, and restaurants were soon constructed to accommodate visitors.

In 1888, the St. Tammany Farmer reported on the construction of the Abita Springs Pavilion, "Messrs. Poitivent and Favre have built a commodious pavilion over the springs, so constructed as to be beyond the reach of high water." An article entitled "Life at Abita Springs" from the same newspaper described the "pleasure seekers from among the wage-workers and counter hoppers of the great Southern Emporium.all who can move around light, out for a ramble to the springs and through the pinewoods.or can recline upon the seats of the ample pavilion. There are four well kept and commodious hotels in a few hundred yards of the main Artesian Saline Calebian Springs." In 1903 the town of Abita Springs was formally organized and later chartered in 1912. The State of Louisiana purchased the Pavilion in 1948 and added it to the state park system. In 1965, the St. Tammany Parish School Board purchased the property. It is now used for numerous community activities.

The Abita Springs Pavilion is located at the end of Main St. in Abita Springs. The Pavilion is part of a local park always open to the public, with a playground and picnic areas overlooking the Abita River. The yearly Abita Spring Water Festival in October brings the town's many organizations, clubs, the two schools and the residents of Abita together for a day-long celebration, and visitors are welcome. Call 895-892-0711 for further information.

Christ Episcopal Church

Built about 1840 as a three-bay, gable-front Greek Revival frame church, Old Christ Episcopal Church has been modified over the years. Today, the Old Christ Episcopal Church sits beside its modern, brick successor, the New Christ Episcopal Church. The Old Christ Episcopal Church is architecturally significant as an unusual example of the Queen Anne Revival style in church architecture. Since its beginning in 1846 Christ Church has been an integral part of the community of Covington. Christ Church was organized as a parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1846, and officially adopted the name of Christ Church on December 26, 1846. The original volume of the Vestry minutes indicates that most of the founding parishioners were of English ancestry from the southern states along the Atlantic coast, and were prominent citizens of the community. Jonathan Archer, a 35-year-old naturalized citizen from London, England, was among the original parishioners and selected as the architect. Bishop Leonidas Knox Polk consecrated Christ Church on April 11, 1847. Christ Church was plagued by the ravages of the Civil War. The 1873 arrival of Rev. H. C. Duncan as Rector began the Church's repairs, as the roof had fallen in and the walls were rotted.

Around 1890 six large lancet windows replaced the earlier square head windows. A semioctagonal chancel with two opalescent stained glass windows was added at the rear, and a cove-molded wooden plank ceiling was installed. Finally, a large octagonal tower was added to the façade along with a large stained glass crescent shaped lunette. The present rear gallery was added to the nave around 1915, and a hurricane destroyed the original spire, which was replaced with the present bell tower. The octagonal tower acquired a conical roof, and the front entrance porch with its stained glass, round head windows was added. Old Christ Episcopal Church is currently used as a chapel in the new church's complex of buildings.

Christ Episcopal Church at 120 N. New Hampshire St., 3 blocks west of Boston St. in Covington. Still used by the Episcopal Church, the building is not regularly open to the public.

Carter Plantation

The Carter Plantation House is situated on property acquired by James Rheem under a Spanish land grant in 1804. In 1817, Thomas Freeman became the first African-American man to own property in Livingston Parish when he acquired the pine forest that he would transform into what has come to be known as the Carter Plantation. He was also the first African-American to record a legal transaction in the Greensburg District. By the year 1820, Freeman had built the renowned, Federal style house and remained there with his wife and five children until 1838 when he sold the house and land to then current state representative and later sheriff of Livingston Parish, W. L. Breed. Breed died in Carter House in 1843 while still serving as the parish's sheriff. After Breed's death, George Richardson, acquired the plantation. Richardson lived at Carter Plantation House until his death in 1858. It is Richardson's descendants who carried the surname Carter by which the plantation is known.

Carter Plantation House is one and a half stories high, with front and rear galleries and a central hall plan with 2 rooms on each side. The old rear kitchen and dining room, which was a separate building, burned in the late 19th century; a kitchen and dining room wing on the rear of the house replaced it. There are four main fireplaces in the house, feeding into two interior chimneys. As an early 19th-century house which was built by a free black man and lived in by an important local political figure, the Carter House is significant in the area of African-American history, as well as local politics and government. The Carter House also enjoys a degree of architectural significance as a local example of a raised plantation house. A pine forest area surrounds Carter House and its immediate grounds. The landscape features, including shrubs, flowerbeds and the lake, are comparatively recent in origin.

Carter Plantation is located along State Hwy. 1038, south of US Hwy 190. It is privately owned, and is not open to the public.

Macedonia Baptist Church

Three country miles down a dirt road leading through a pine forest lies an almost perfectly preserved example of a late 19th-century rural, Louisiana church named the Macedonia Baptist Church. Still retaining and actively using its original cast iron stove and pews, the church was built in 1898 and is renowned as the oldest building in the town of Holden, and the oldest Baptist Church in Livingston Parish. Constructed in 1898, it is a good example of what a typical, vernacular rural Louisiana church was like. The church is currently still used for services; its original congregation was organized in May of 1856 under the shade of a magnolia tree. Its members first worshiped in various homes then later shared a building with a local congregation of Methodists. After leaving this church, the congregation proceeded to build their own church house, which was a log structure. This was followed in 1871 by a board house, then valued at $500 dollars. The present building is the congregation's third church house.

The history of the Baptists in Louisiana begins shortly before the United Sates acquired the territory from France in 1803. Before this time, the Baptists had made tentative efforts to establish themselves in the Catholic colony. In 1799 Bailey E. Chaney, a Baptist minister, was arrested by the Spanish officials for conducting services at an Anglo-Saxon settlement near Baton Rouge. Ministers from several denominations came after 1803 to work among the African-Americans and the Native Americans. Joseph Willis, a mulatto Baptist preacher, conducted meetings at Vermilion (now Lafayette) but was forced to leave because of his race. In 1812, Willis returned to Bayou Chicot and organized the first Baptist church west of the Mississippi. A month earlier, his colleagues in the Florida parishes had organized the Half Moon Bluff Church, the first Baptist church in the State, near the Bogue Chitto River in Washington Parish. During the same year, Cornelius Paulding, a Baptist layman, came to New Orleans to engage in business. He donated space in one of his buildings for Baptist meetings and arranged for traveling ministers to hold services. In 1834, the first Baptist Church was established in New Orleans, and in 1854, with funds provided by Paulding's will, the Coliseum Place Baptist Congregation was founded.

Fortunately, the church was not damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Macedonia Baptist Church is located on State Hwy. 1036, 3 miles north of State Hwy. 442, and north of the town of Holden. It is open for church services only, visit the church's website for further information.

Decareaux House

The Decareaux House, located in French Settlement, Louisiana, was built in the French Creole style in 1898. This is in itself unusual, as after 1860, Creole architecture entered a period of gradual decline. Although a number of Creole homes, such as Decareaux, were built after the Civil War, the style never regained its old monopoly on the cultural landscape. A brief revival of plantation life between 1865 and 1880 saw Creole cottages, manager houses, and Acadian small landholders utilize the style, but after 1880, new national architectural styles such as the Queen Anne Revival style gradually pushed the Creole house into the background. Decareaux House has been slightly remodeled over the last 100 years. However, it still retains the characteristic architectural features of its style, a full-length gallery, exposed ceiling beams, gabled umbrella roofs, and a floorplan which reflects its Creole origin. The floorplan consists of two equal sized front rooms and rooms of unequal size in its rear, which are textbook examples of French Creole design.

The Village of French Settlement is the only part of the surrounding area originally settled by the French and remains to be the only French enclave known to exist there. A boom in the area's lumber industry from 1880 to 1915 employed many of the men of French Settlement who were privy to cheap or free lumber that they used to construct homes for their families. It was during this period that the majority of the houses, which were constructed in the old French Creole style, were replaced by more modernly fashioned homes. The Decareaux House derives its name from its first owners, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Decareaux. The one story frame cottage had been constructed for the couple by Mrs. Decareaux's father, Harris Lambert, and her brother Alexander. The house which was last owned privately in 1977, is now known as the Creole House Museum and is on long-term lease to the French Settlement Historical Society by the Village of French Settlement.

The Decareaux House is located on Hwy. 16 in French Settlement, behind the Municipal Building and Library. It is open for tours by appointment, but the exterior and grounds can be viewed anytime. A Creole Festival is held at the house in September. Call 225-698-6100 for further information.

Learn More

By clicking on one of these links, you may go directly to a particular section:
Bibliography of Southeastern Louisiana History
Children's Literature on Louisiana
Links to Southeastern Louisiana Tourism and Preservation
Links to Southeastern Louisiana Historic Sites

Bibliography of Southeastern Louisiana History

Ancelet, Barry Jean, Glen Pitre, Jay Edwards, and Lynwood Montell, ed.. Cajun Country (Folklife in the South Series). University Press of Mississippi. 1991.

Bannon, Lois Elmer, Martha Yancey Carr, Gwen Anders Edwards, and Winifred Evans Byrd. Magnolia Mound: A Louisiana River Plantation. Gretna, LA: Firebird Press. 1984.

Bearss, Edwin C., ed. A Louisiana Confederate: Diary of Felix Pierre Poche. Louisiana Studies Institute, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, 1972.

Bourgeois, Lillian C. Cabanocey: The History, Customs and Folklore of St. James Parish (Louisiana Parish Histories Series). Gretna, LA: Firebird Press. 1999.

Caughey, John Walton, and Jack D. L. Holmes. Bernardo De Galvez in Louisiana 1776-1783 (Louisiana Parish Histories Series). Gretna, LA: Firebird Press. 1999.

Dietrich, Dick, and Joseph A. Arrigo. Louisiana's Plantation Homes: The Grace and Grandeur. Voyageur Press. 1991.

Ellis, Frederick S., and Walker Percy. St. Tammany Parish: L'Autre Cote Du Lac (Louisiana Parish Histories Series). Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company. 1999.

Fricker, Jonathan, Donna Fricker and Patricia L. Duncan. Louisiana Architecture: A Handbook on Styles. Lafayette, LA: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1998.

Gayarre, Charles E., William Beer, and Grace King. History of Louisiana (Louisiana Parish Histories Series). Gretna, LA: Firebird Press. 1999.Gehman, Mary. Touring Louisiana's Great River Road: From Angola North to Venice South. New Orleans, LA: Margaret Media, Inc. 2004.

Gehman, Mary. The Free People of Color of New Orleans: An Introduction. New Orleans, LA: Margaret Media, Inc. 1994.

Gilbert C. Din, ed. The Spanish Presence in Louisiana, 1763-1803 (The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Series in Louisiana History, Vol II). University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 1996.

Goins, Charles Robert, and John Michael Caldwell. Historical Atlas of Louisiana. University of Oklahoma Press. 1995 .

Hair, William Ivy. The Kingfish and his Realm: The Life and Times of Huey P. Long. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991.

Hyde, Samuel C. Jr. Pistols and Politics: The Dilemma of Democracy in Louisiana's Florida Parishes, 1810-1899. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.

Johnson, Marael. Louisiana Why Stop?: A Guide to Louisiana's Roadside Historical. Markers Gulf Publishing Company. 1996.

Jolly, Ellen Roy, and James Calhoun The Pelican Guide to the Louisiana Capitol. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company. 1980.

Kein, Sybil. Creole: The History and Legacy of Louisiana's Free People of Color. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 2000.

Louisiana Folklife Program, Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism and Center for Regional Studies, Southeastern Louisiana University. Folklife in the Florida Parishes. Baton Rouge: The Program, 1989.

Malone, Lee, and Paul Malone. Louisiana Plantation Homes: A Return to Splendor. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 1986.

Malone, Lee, and Paul Malone. The Majesty of the Felicianas. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company. 1989.

Malone, Lee, and Paul Malone. The Majesty of the River Road. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company. 1988.

Poesch, Jessie, and Barbara Sorelle Bacot eds. Louisiana Buildings, 1720-1940 : The Historic American Buildings Survey. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 1997.

Rehder, John B. Delta Sugar: Louisiana's Vanishing Plantation Landscape (Creating the North American Landscape). Johns Hopkins University Press. 1999.

Roland, Charles P., and John David Smith. Louisiana Sugar Plantations During the Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 1997.

Sexton, Richard, Alex S. MacLean, and Eugene Darwin Cizek. Vestiges of Grandeur: The Plantations of Louisiana's River Road. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

Smith, J. Frazier and Leicester B. Holland. Plantation Houses and Mansions of the Old South. Dover Pubs., 1994.

Sternberg, Mary Ann. Along the River Road: Past and Present on Louisiana's Historic Byway. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.

Tregle, Joseph George. Louisiana in the Age of Jackson: A Clash of Cultures and Personalities. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 1999.

Williams, T. Harry. Huey Long. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970.

Winters, John D. The Civil War in Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 1991.

Louisiana Children's Literature

Adams, Janus. A mystical journey into Cajun country. Wilton, CN.: BackPax International, 1986. (24 pg. book and cassette)

Bial, Raymond. Cajun home. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. (48 pgs)

Daigle, Pierre V. Tears, Love, and Laughter: The Story of the Acadians Church Point, LA : Acadian Pub. Enterprise, 1980. (162 pgs.)

de Varona, Frank. Bernardo de Galvez. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn, Co., 1993. (32 pgs.)

Duey, Kathleen Amelina Carrett, Bayou Grand Coeur, Louisiana, 1863. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1999. (137 pgs.)

Fradin, Dennis B. Louisiana in words and pictures. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1981. (47 pgs.)

Weber, Valerie and Geneva Lewis. Home life in grandma's day. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 1999. (32 pgs)

Welsbacher, Anne. Louisiana. Minneapolis, MN: Abdo & Daughters, 1998. (32 pgs.)

Links to Southeastern Louisiana Tourism and Preservation

Foundation for Historical Louisiana
A statewide non-profit organziation that promotes the preservation of the cultural and architectural heritage of Louisiana through education, advocacy, and stewardship. They offer specialized group tours to Louisiana's magnificent historic sites and cultural treasures through Lagniappe Tours.

Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council
A website still in development with information about the Council's agendas and meetings

Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation
Find further information on the programs and role of the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office.

Louisiana Office of Tourism
Tourist information on events, attractions, travel, and tourism throughout the state of Louisiana

Louisiana Office of State Parks
Information about the accessibility and history of state parks, historic sites, and preservation areas.

Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University
The Center serves as a research facility committed to preserving and promoting the history and the cultures of Louisiana's Florida Parishes, southwestern Mississippi, and surrounding areas through scholarly research, lectures, and publishing.

Lower Mississippi American Heritage River
Visit the section of the White House website dedicated to this section of the Mississippi that has been designated as an American Heritage River by President Clinton.

Louisiana Scenic Byways
Discover the routes and attractions of the four scenic byways included in this itinerary: River Road, Louisiana Scenic Bayou, Promised Land, and Tunica Trace.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Learn about the programs of and membership in the oldest national non-profit preservation organization.

National Park Service Office of Tourism
National parks have been interwoven with tourism from their earliest days. This website highlights the ways in which the NPS promotes and supports sustainable, responsible, informed, and managed visitor use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry.

National Scenic Byways Program
This website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, includes information on state and nationally designated byway routes throughout America based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Visit the America’s Byways Great River Road website for more ideas.

Links to Southeastern Louisiana Historic Sites

Afton Villa Gardens:

Camp Moore
This website features several photographs and a history of this historic site

Centenary College
Part of the State Parks website, this site provide historic and tourist information

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
The official university website including information for visitors

Louisiana State Capitol
Further information on this tweentieth century state capitol

Magnolia Mound Plantation

Several pages of information, photographs and a virtual tour of this plantation

Mount Hope Plantation
Further information and photographs of this historic plantation

Old Louisiana State Capitol
Website for Louisiana's Old State Capitol Center for Political and Governmental History

Old Louisiana Governor's Mansion
Further information on the mansion's history and architecture

Oakley Plantation House
The website for the Audubon Memorial Park, of which Oakley is a part, has further information on this park and the history of the house

Plaquemine Lock
Opearted by State Parks, the Plaquemine Lock is open to the public, and this site provides further information on the operation of development and operation of this lock

Port Hudson
History and information on this historic site operated by State Parks

Rosedown Plantation
History and information on this historic site operated by State Parks


Explore the History and Culture of Southeastern Louisiana, was produced by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council (United State Department of Agriculture), Lagniappe Tours (of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana), the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). It was created under the direction of Carol D. Shull, Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Patrick Andrus, Heritage Tourism Director, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Director. Explore the History and Culture of Southeastern Louisiana is based on information in the files of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark collections. These materials are kept at 800 North Capitol St., Washington, D.C., and are open to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.

Capital Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council and Lagniappe Tours conceptualized and compiled photographic and written materials for the itinerary, guided by Sue Hebert (RC&D) and Virginia Watson (Lagniappe). Contextual essays were written by Donna Fricker and Patricia L. Duncan of the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation. Shannon Bell (of NCSHPO) created the design for the itinerary and coordinated project production for the National Register. Jeff Joeckel (NCSHPO) created the maps and assisted with the compilation of the website, as did Rustin Quaide (NCSHPO). Site descriptions were edited by Rustin Quaide, Sarah Dillard Pope (NPS), Maya Harris and Mary Downs (both National Conference of Preservation Educators interns).

Many other individuals and organizations made important contributions to this project. Heather Cushman (NCSHPO) provided editorial assistance and, along with Tangula Chambers (NCSHPO) and Kristen Carsto (intern from Catholic University), helped gather accessibility information for the sites in the itinerary. Maya Harris further assisted with preparing the photographs for the web and compiled bibliographic sources. Many Louisiana organizations assisted RC&D as they compiled their materials, including the Tourism Commissions or Visitor Bureaus in Ascension, Assumption, East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes; the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation; Dr. Paul Hoffman and Dr. Richard Condry from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; the Iberville Parish Librarian and Plaquemine Main Street Manager; and Harry J. Hebert, President of Promotion and Preservation of Iberville, Inc. Bo Boehringer, of the Louisiana Office of State Parks, provided images of Port Hudson.

Photographic background of azaleas
Photographic background of azaleas Graphic that is a link to a contextual essay on The River Road Photographic background of azaleas Graphic that is a link to a contextual essay on French Creole Architecture Photographic background of azaleas Graphic that is a link to a contextual essay on the Florida Parishes Photographic background of azaleas

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