Laura Plantation – A Creole Plantation

Laura Plantation a Creole Plantation

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and touted as one of the best Plantation tours in the area, Laura Plantation is a must when visiting New Orleans. What makes this creole plantation so special is the focus on its people. You will go beyond the explanation of the main house and will be transported to the past. At Laura Plantation you will hear the compelling accounts of the charming and tragic lives of those who lived there, both the free and the enslaved.

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What is Creole in Louisiana?

Creole is a non-Anglo-Saxon culture and lifestyle that was predominant in Louisiana. With a French heritage and Roman Catholicism a big part of their identity.  And a very elitist structure class, not necessarily about race, determined the social status. It is actually a big mix of West African with European and some Native American as well. Women could run business and own property and family and tradition were highly valued.  Understanding what Creole meant is important because it is a very big part of the history of Louisiana.

 

Entrance to Laura Plantation gift shop and ticket purchasing shop

Laura Plantation a Brief History

Acquired in 1804 by Guillame DuParc Laura Plantation is a creole plantation. The main house was completed 11 months later by highly skilled slaves using pre-fabricated methods. At Duparc’s death in 1808, the Plantation consisted of 10 buildings, including quarters for 17 slaves and a sugar mill.

One of the most interesting aspects of Laura Plantation is that it was run by four generations of women until it was sold by Laura Locoul (the great-granddaughter of Duparc) in 1891. Much of what we know about it is thanks to Laura’s memoire.

The family lived on the plantation from spring, when sugar cane was planted, till right after it was harvested late December.  Then they move back to New Orleans for a few months of city life.

Each member of the family played an important role in the business.  Extended family would also have a role and some other outsiders were hired as managers or overseers.  But it was the slaves who accounted for about 80% of the population. And after their emancipation many continued to live there as they were so indebted to the owners they had no way of living anywhere else.

 

The front of the main plantation house where the tour begins

The Tour of Laura Plantation

The guided tour takes about 75 min and the guides are passionate and knowledgeable. The tour includes the Maison Principale or the Main House as well as the French gardens & kitchen gardens, barn and original 1840 slave cabins. Furthermore, additional areas of the plantation is being restored and in total there are 12 buildings on the National Register.

The Family Tree

On the tour you will learn the history of the Plantation and about Laura’s family tree. Including the stories of the family and of the slaves.  Guides will present the rigors of daily life and the dark aspects of the history of slavery which lasted over 140 years with Louisiana being the last place in North America where slavery was legal.

The Maison Principale

The tour starts in front of the Maison Principale where you learn all about what being Creole is.  And if you have been on other Plantation tours like Oak Alley you will be able to see right away how different Laura Plantation is.  Laura is much more colorful and less grand if you will.

Read more about Oak Alley here

 

Laura Plantation

Laura Plantation

Next stop is the basement where you get an introduction to the history of the plantation. In addition you will be introduced to the main members of the family and learn how the slaves built the house.

Laura Plantation porch
Colorful Second floor porch at Laura Plantation

The tour continues on the colorful second floor porch and quickly moves inside where some air-conditioning has been installed for comfort (thank goodness because it was hot as hell). Inside the tale of each family member is recounted as you move through the restored rooms. Some fun quirky surprises await you inside but I won’t spoil the fun by telling you.

But here are a few pictures of the inside of the house:

Dinning Room

Fireplace

Bedroom at Laura Plantation

Slave Quarters

The guide then takes you from the main house through the gardens, banana leave forest, and the barn to the slave quarters.

Slave quarters at Laura Plantation
View of the slave quarters at Laura Plantation

As you walk your way to the back of the property the guide will stop at the Barn to impart even more information about the slaves and their lives.  And finally at the slave quarters you can see how poorly they lived and learn even more about the harsh reality of what life was like for a slave in Louisiana.

Banana leave forest at Laura Plantation
Banana Leave Forest
Barn at Laura Plantation
Barn at Laura Plantation

To me this is one of the things that really sets this plantation tour apart from the rest.  They do a great job of enlightening people to the other side of life on a Plantation. Additionally, they share openly the stories of slavery and how even after slavery was abolished many had no choice but to stay. Furthermore, they do not romanticize the place and they provide a great historical view of all sides of life.

 

 

Back of the main house at Laura Plantation

Conclusion

This is by far one of the best plantation tours I have ever been on. Therefore, I urge you to visit and listen to the stories directly from the guides. Their passion for history shines in their eyes and through their words as they make the past come to life through their stories.

 

View from second floor porch into the gardens

Essential Information

Location

Located midway between New Orleand and Baton Rouge in a town called Vacherie, Louisiana.  For those coming from New Orleans it takes about 1 hr to get there.

Address: 2247 Hwy. 18, Vacherie, LA

Phone number: 225.265.7690 or 888.799.7690

 

How to get there

Best way to get there is by car. The area has many plantations that you can visit in one trip

However, if you do not have a car, several tour companies can take you there.  Cajun Encounter and Cajun Pride are two popular ones.  But you can check trip advisor for reviews and to see other tour operators in the area.

 

Hours of Operation

Daily 9:30 am to 5:00 pm with first tour starting at 10:00 am.

Tours are available in English and French.

Closed on: New Years Day, Mardi Gras Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. PLease visit their website for more information on tour times and schedules.

 

Admission Cost

At the time this article was written the cost of admission was as follows:

Adults: $20

Children: 6 – 17: $6

Under 6: FREE

Some discounts for AAA, National Trust and military personnel

I had a coupon that came in my Visit New Orleans book therefore I was able to save a few dollars on admission cost.  You can receive your own book by requesting one online. The book has great information about New Orleans as well as many valuable coupons you can use during your stay.

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Laura Plantation a creole plantation

Have you ever visited a Plantation? Would love to hear your thoughts so please leave me your comments below or lets get social on Facebook or Instagram

 

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42 Comments

    1. Plantation was life was not easy and it is a time period in history that is not exactly our best. It is always good to learn and remember the past.

  1. Thanks for this educational read. Although I’ve visited New Orleans a few times, I’ve never been to one of the plantations. Mainly because I’ve heard that they romanticize plantation life and ignore the whole slavery aspect–which is not OK. It sounds like this place is different in that regard, so maybe I’ll pay a visit on my next trip to New Orleans. Thanks!

    1. Yes this one is different and for that it is my favorite. It is part of our past and we must never forget lest it repeats itself.

  2. This looks like a fascinating and really informative tour. It’s great that they don’t sugarcoat plantation life and really delve into the history and conditions in which the slaves lived. Other than that, the house itself looks beautiful – so colourful!

  3. I would so love to do a historical tour of America and visit somewhere like this. It would be a fantastic and insightful history lesson for our kids and also just a fascinating day out. I’m glad the realities of the history weren’t smoothed over, we need to remember and educate our children on their abundant privilege.

    1. Yes it is important to learn the history and make sure it does not repeat itself. I am not proud of some of this past but it shaped who we are today and hopefully we learn and become better.

  4. I’m so happy you posted this! I’ve never been to the South but would like to at some point. Doing a plantation tour makes my stomach a bit wonky. It’s good to know that this tour does a great job of showing both sides of plantation life. I know it’s big part of US history. I’m going to keep this in mind and this sounds like the one plantation tour I could get excited about!

    1. Yes some do a better job that others. It is a hard part of our past but we need to learn it and remember it. It should not be buried and forgotten. I am sure you won’t be disappointed with this one.

  5. I have a trip planned to New Orleans and wanted to visit a plantation. This looks like the perfect one to visit! I’m so glad this place openly talks about the slavery, it’s exactly the kind of tour I want.

    1. You can make a day of it and visit at lest two plantations if you start out early. It is really nice to see the difference between them and their different histories. Or you can combine a plantation with a swamp tour those are also fun. Hope you enjoy your visit.

    1. I do hope you get to visit New Orleans and the Plantations in the area. It is a great place and I am sure you will enjoy it.

  6. I’m loving the pictures of this plantation. Although I haven’t been to New Orleans or anywhere in Louisiana, this type of house is exactly what I picture. The southern plantations have so much rich history, it’s really cool to hear that the tour guides can keep it alive during their tours!

    1. It is not as grand as some of the other plantations in the area but it is colorful and well maintained and the tour is very informative. I really think they have one of the best tours in the area and I trulls loved every minute. We need to learn our history and make sure the horrible events do not repeat themselves.

  7. I really enjoyed the stories and history of this plantation. I always wondered about Creole, and you’ve explained it really well. Thanks I learnt something new now. Looks like a cool place to check out.

  8. What an amazing place the Laura Plantation looks like! I’ve been to New Orleans several times, but have not been here. The photos are really enticing, and I enjoyed learning more about the history and Creole lifestyle.

    1. Patti next time you are in the area you should visit. It makes for a great day and I am certain that you will love it.

  9. New Orleans is definitely on my list of places to visit so when I do I’m going to do this plantation tour. I love history and historic places and this one sounds so enjoyable and informative. It looks like they were able to preserve history very well and I imagine it takes you right back as soon as you enter!

  10. I know nothing about creole heritage or the plantation, so this is very interesting. Your photos are almost like stepping back in time, it’s so historic! Are there other things to do in the area to make a day of it?

    1. It is a short drive from New Orleans and there are quite a few plantations in the area you can visit as well as some tours of the Bayou where you can see gators and other wildlife. Plenty to see and do.

  11. This is such an awesome read! So much information, I hope more people get to read it! My grandmother is from New Orleans and she’s told me many stories. A very horrific time in deed for many people

  12. Plantations always give me chills. Partially because how beautiful the grounds are, along with the details and decor, and partially because of the horrible history behind the beauty. I’m glad you were able to take this tour and share what you learned with us. Louisiana is on our list for next spring, so we’ll probably take a tour as well to hear the details for ourselves. 🙂 Thanks for sharing (and for the tip about the coupon book for Visit New Orleans, that’s awesome)!

    1. So much to see and do and many plantations to chose from. Each one with its own history. I hope you enjoy your visit in the spring and if I can help with anything else please let me know.

  13. I have done a few plantation tours in India, but I am quite fascinated by the stories behind the Laura Plantation tour. I am amazed to know that it was run by women till the fourth generation. It must have been a great experience to re-live a few moments in the plantation and the house during your tour. I loved the decor of the house a lot.

    1. Yes it was fascinating to learn the role of women in this plantation. Unfortunately the role of slaves was still quite predominant and their conditions deplorable. It is however a big part of history and one we need to learn from. I loved how the really focused on the people both the women who ran the plantation and the slaves and we learned both of their stories.

  14. Thanks for this insight- we missed this place as we only had half an afternoon here and tried to squeeze in Oak Alley and the Whitney (both outstanding for different reasons.) Next time… such important and thought provoking history.

    1. The guide was so much better. There is only so much I could remember and the stories were so much interesting as told by the guide.

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