Every plantation has its own story to tell.
In New Orleans Plantation Country — three parishes in Louisiana situated on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge — 10 historic riverfront plantations are open for visitors to see the diversity, beauty and struggle of the antebellum period. In July, 16 tour operators, travel agents and other readers of The Group Travel Leader discovered these stories firsthand during a four-day familiarization tour hosted by the River Parishes Tourism Commission.
During the trip, participants toured seven of the key plantations in the area, discovering the unique stories and experiences of each. Along the way, they also got a taste of the region’s signature Creole and Cajun cuisine, visited a start-up rum distillery and took thrilling rides through the bayous for up-close experiences with alligators and other swamp wildlife.
Follow along on this itinerary to plan your own experiences in New Orleans Plantation Country.
- Arrival in New Orleans Plantation Country
- Lunch at The Seafood Pot
- Destrehan Plantation
- Swamp Tour with Swamp Adventures
- Dinner at Ormond Plantation
Guests traveled from around the country to LaPlace, a town about 25 miles west of New Orleans in St. John the Baptist Parish, to begin their tour of New Orleans Plantation Country. There they met at Hampton Inn LaPlace, the hotel that served as home base throughout the tour.
The first stop of the trip was at The Seafood Pot, a small local restaurant in the nearby town of Destrehan, where travelers were treated to a delicious seafood lunch and introduced to the frozen daiquiris that are famous throughout the area. Next, the group proceeded down the road to Destrehan Plantation, the first of seven plantations they explored during the tour. After that, they got a thrilling airboat tour through the bayou with Swamp Adventures before continuing on to Ormond Plantation for a welcome dinner.
The group began its exploration of area plantations at Destrehan Plantation, a 3,000-acre French Creole plantation established in the 1700s. There, they toured the plantation home, the first part of which was built in the 1790s, and learned about the lives of enslaved people who worked there by visiting several of the existing slave cabins. They also toured one outbuilding that has a museum dedicated to a slave revolt that took place in the area in 1811 and saw a folk life demonstration involving the use of indigo to dye fabric.
A trip to the wetlands around the Mississippi River in Louisiana wouldn’t be complete without an expedition into the bayou, which locals define as a slow-moving waterway that drains a swamp or marsh into a river. FAM participants got a thrilling exploration of an area bayou with Swamp Adventures, a company that ferries passengers into the wetlands on airboats. The group boarded two of these boats, each powered by massive, high-powered fans, to zoom through the swamp and visit some of the local wildlife. Guides attracted alligators to the sides of the boats by offering them food, and one guide even brought an adult alligator on board. Along the way, guests learned about the ecosystem of the swamp and the history of the area.