The word plantation brings a lot of things to mind. Some think of big houses with white columns, wrap-around porches, and antebellum-style dresses. Some think of the enslaved that worked there and the hardships they faced. What usually doesn’t come to mind is brightly colored single-floor homes.
That is unless it’s a Creole House. The Laura Plantation in Vacherie is also a creole heritage site. The home is a wealth of information about the misunderstood culture and the history of the home. The only way to gain access is by taking on the Laura Plantation Tour.
This post is sponsored by the Laura Plantation a Louisiana Creole Heritage Site. There may be affiliate links within the post. Clicking on them doesn’t cost you anything more. But I do earn a small commission. I never promote things I don’t stand behind.
Whenever I hear, anyone is going to New Orleans, I always recommend visiting a plantation. It’s a part of history that everyone needs to learn from.
I feel that even though there were unjust actions taken place on the grounds, what remains is a testament to those that built them. The Laura Plantation’s Creole Culture, in particular, is fast disappearing. It’s very important.
Laura Plantation Tour: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site
The Laura Creole Plantation shares the longstanding Creole culture that once thrived in Louisiana. Creole is the non-Anglo-Saxon culture and lifestyle that flourished before Louisiana was sold to the United State in 1803.
They mostly spoke French and practiced Roman Catholicism. You could be of all races. They functioned in an elitist structure and valued family ties.
European customs were thrown out. Value in public education and the rule of law was cast aside. This culture is what helped the Laura plantation to survive with women running the plantation.
Unlike other plantations, people visit, the grand house isn’t grand. In actuality, this is where the family lived. This is not where they would entertain guests. That would happen back in the city of New Orleans.
The house was built by 30 enslaved people in the year 1805. The foundation when down 18 feet. The tour starts in the basement, learning about the home itself and the family history.
After a view of the basement, you’ll venture up to the main entrance and tour the main living quarters.
Laura Plantation History
So much is known, thanks to Laura Locoul Gore’s memories. Laura’s father named the plantation after her when she was just 13 years old. Knowing the heavy burden it was, left the plantation at 29 years old.
She made a final return to the plantation in 1931 at the age of 69. In creole culture, she was the one responsible for passing down her family’s history and legacy.
In her day she learned by stories. She decided instead to pass down the stories to her next generation with a book. It took her nearly five years to write it all. This is where we get most of the information and history about the plantation.
Because it was intended to be read by her own children, not much is talked about the conditions of enslaved. The guided plantation tour does go through the slave cabins.
At one time there were 69 houses on the property. The plantation produced sugar cane and sat along the Mississippi River. The plantation is on the list of the US National Register of Historic Places.
|Get your ticket before you leave. They will sell out! By Now
From the Big House to the Quarters: Slavery on Laura Plantation
The Laura Plantation tour is 80% about the family’s legacy and how they lived. Whenever they get the chance, they do talk about the enslaved. It’s not until leaving the main house, you’ll see how they lived.
They have two slave quarters, that were lived in as late as 1977. Once the emancipation of the enslaved, many signed contracts with the family, staying on and continuing to work the land, this time with pay.
The last remaining people living there had to move with the sale of the property due to changes in Louisiana Law. If you want to get more information about the enslaved, you need to check out the auxiliary museum.
Inside the gift shop, take the door to the left. It holds a wealth of information about the enslaved. Starting at capture, to the civil war and even their legacy after their freedom.
This piece of the museum gets overlooked completely and it’s a shame. Without these people, there would be no plantation. The only other plantation that compares is the Whitney Planation.
The Laura Plantation Tour Tips
I highly recommend buying your tickets before you leave. This is one of the more popular plantation tours. Tour companies often frequent the home, making it hard for those that wish to walk up.
Tickets can be purchased online for those that want to drive themselves to the plantation. You can also do at Oak Alley Plantation and Laura Plantation combination tour with a tour company.
Wear comfortable shoes. While there isn’t a lot of distance to cover, you are on your feet for the full 70-minute tour. Also, dress appropriately for the weather. You will be inside and outside for portions of the tour.
This tour is family friendly. I was traveling with a group of four kids and four adults, and it was able to hold everyone’s interest.
If you are getting close to lunchtime, you may want to get give your kids a snack before it starts. They also do a good job of introducing the life of the enslaved and the hardships they faced without being too graphic.
|Stop into Oak Alley Plantation after your visit for a more traditional plantation experience. Find out more.
Bundle tickets together for both plantations to save some money. Get tickets here.
Before entering the shop, everyone needs to use hand sanitizer and have temperature checks. They also require that everyone wears a mask.
The masks can be put down when you are outside, but the tour guides keep them on at all times. They have also limited the tour sizes, to follow state guidelines.
The Dirty Facts about the Laura Plantation
Tours are available in French or English. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $15 for Teens and $10 for kids. Tours run everyday from 10am – 3:20pm. They are closed on major holidays and Mardi Gras Day.
How long is the Larua plantation Tour?
The tour lasts about 75 minutes. You’ll be taken through the inside of the homes, gardens, and slavery quarters. The tour moves at a leisurely pace and is about a quarter of a mile in length.
How many slaves did the Laura Plantation have?
The Larua plantation had 186 slaves living on property by the end of the civil war. After the emancipation, the majority of the enslaved continued to live on the property.
During your tour, you’ll get more information about the contracts they signed to keep them running the plantation.
What do you wear to a plantation tour?
When deciding what to wear to the plantation tour, prepare to be on your feet and in the sunshine. All plantation tours have a mix of both inside and outside time.
A good pair of walking shoes, and comfortable clothing. Sunscreen or an umbrella may be necessary. Planation buildings are not normally equipped with air conditioning.
Would I do a Laura Plantation Tour Again?
This was my second time taking the Laura Plantation Tour. Each time I do I learn a little more about it. This was the first time getting to take my family there.
I think it did a great job of showing a different side of plantation life that isn’t normally depicted. What I love about the plantation and is that they are always adding things when they discover new pieces of history.
The entire Slavery portion was missing from the first time I stop by. In 5 years, it’s probably going to be a completely different tour altogether.
I highly recommend visiting and even picking up your own copy of Memories of the Old Plantation Home by Laura Locoul Gore. In another few years, went kids are older, I will take them o the Whitney Plantation where there is a larger focus on the enslaved. The plantation sits along the river road, making it a great to drive to.