A few miles away from Oak Alley Plantation sits Laura Plantation, a restored historic Louisiana Creole plantation. The plantation is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Vacherie, Louisiana. My family and I decided to take the guided tour after we completed our Oak alley tour on a warm Saturday afternoon. We are brave! The Louisiana heat is rough but this plantation was worth the sweat.
Our guided tour began outside Laura Plantation where our tour guide, gave us some colorful information about the restoration process of Laura Plantation. Many plantations in area are restored to their original white outside exterior. Laura Plantation upon restoration the exterior exposed was a palette of various colors and to this day, the 19th-century Créole-style plantation is the most colorful of all local plantations in the area.
During our tour we entered the 1st floor of the raised house. Laura Plantation is one of 15 plantation complexes in Louisiana with complete structures in tact to this degree. The “big house” was considered prefabricated for it’s day and was designed by a salve hired to construct the home for the Duparc Family of New Orleans. Guillaume Duparc was an interesting character who was a naval veteran from the American Revolution. Because of his dedication to the revolution, President Thomas Jefferson secured the parcel of land to Duprac which sits alongside the bank of the Mississippi River.
Only a few after the completion of Laura Plantation (then known as Duparc Plantation), Duparc passed away leaving his home and remaining inheritance to his daughter, Elisabeth and Nannette Prud’homme Duparc who was the first mistress of Laura Plantation. What makes the story of Laura Plantation interesting is that the plantation from that day forward was ran by women. It was the women of this family that held the plantation together working to secure its wealth. From 1808-1891 women were mistresses of the plantation until the Waguespack family ran and lived at the plantation until 1984.
Various structures are still remaining at Laura Plantation. Aside from the “big house”, several outbuildings including six original slave quarters and a maison de reprise. The maison de reprise is a mother-in-law suite and retirement home built 500 feet away from the “big house” for Nannette Prud’homme Duparc, the first female President of the Duparc Plantation. Nannette Prud’homme Duparc is the great-grandmother Laura who is the namesake of the plantation and heir of Guillaume Duparc. are still preserved on the property. One interesting factoid is that workers continued to live in the slave cabins on Laura Plantation until 1977. Because of this, Laura Plantation has been listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places due to her historical relevance.
I have to admit that Laura Plantation is not only the most colorful plantation we have visited so far, but her history is just as colorful. If you are visiting the New Orleans area, please visit a local plantation. Laura Plantation was the highlight of our recent plantation tours due in part to our tour guide Lawton. Not only was our tour interesting but we laughed and he truly educated us on the culture of its time.
You can find more information about the guided tour & and the history of Laura Plantation via website. Also, In 1936, Laura Locoul Gore wrote a book called Memories of the Old Plantation Home which is an eye witness account of life on Laura Plantation and the four generations of family which ran the plantation.
Is this something your family would enjoy? Have you visited a plantation or historic home in your area?