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Trip List by madmadeleine

Louisiana - plantation homes and more

May 5, 2006  Having gone to graduate school at LSU years before, I was eager to see how Louisiana was doing after Katrina. My husband and I visited New Orleans and the surrounding areas during Mardi Gras 2006.
3.5 of 5 stars based on 5 votes

In the wake of Katrina, many plantation homes suffered simply because of the drop in tourist visits. Plan to see these facinating historical sites and lend your support. You can have a great vacation and make a difference!

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Vacherie, White Castle, Darrow, Baton Rouge, New Orleans
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Budget travelers, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Oak Alley Plantation
    Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie, Louisiana

    Oak Alley Plantation is a beautiful antebellum mansion about 30 minutes north of New Orleans. It has been used for many films, including Dixie: Changing Habits. I know about this personally, since I had a bit part as a singing nun in this made-for-TV movie back when I was a grad student at LSU. We flew into Louis Armstrong Airport and drove our rental car to Oak Alley for the first part of our stay. The Plantation offers a Bed and Breakfast in the neighboring cabins, which is run by another company. We stayed in the newly furnished Doctor's Cottage on the grounds of this beautiful plantation. Because we arrived late, we had arranged to have a dinner waiting for us. We found our meal, complete with wine, ready to be heated up and plated. Our cottage featured an isolated location--no shared walls, windows on all four sides, a pillow-top queen bed with luxurious linens, a huge bath, really, a jacuzzi tub with room for two, a sunny kitchenette and a living room area with a gas fireplace and color TV/VCR. Breakfast is served on the plantation grounds. A tour of the mansion is highly recommended. Our guide told us that 60 people had to be let go since the hurricane, just because the tourists weren't coming. We hope that people will come visit and support this community and help with their economic recovery.

  • 2. Nottoway Plantation
    Nottoway Plantation, White Castle, Louisiana

    This mansion has seen better times, but it is still on my "must see" list for plantation homes in the area. The tour will take you through this beautifully furnished mansion, or you can arrange to stay and sleep in the best rooms.

  • 3. Houmas House Plantation
    Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, Darrow, Louisiana

    This beautiful mansion and grounds offers one of the best tours. Our costumed guide encouraged us to sit on the furniture and make ourselves comfortable as he regaled us with stories. This Plantation is a privately owned residence with gourmet dining facilities. We loved the extensive gardens and the twin Garconierre, especially the one that has been converted into an intimate bar. Plan to spend a few hours here enjoying the lush gardens and exploring.

  • 4. Magnolia Mound Plantation
    Magnolia Mound Plantation, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    This plantation was actually one of the earliest ones in the area and has a rich history. It is important because it is a great example of the way the first plantation owners lived in the south. Lafayette was a guest in this home. I have to admit that when I toured this home when I was a graduate student in the 1980's the guides were much better informed.

  • 5. Avenue Inn Bed & Breakfast
    Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast, New Orleans, Louisiana
    Show Prices
    Avg price: $189

    This is the best place to stay in New Orleans, especially for Mardi Gras. Joe and Bebe go the extra mile in providing a safe, clean, comfortable haven in the heart of The Big Easy. This Victorian Mansion was perfect for us. We stayed in the third floor Nanny's room. It featured a window seat looking out on the activity of St. Charles Avenue below, as well as other comfortable amenities. Because of Katrina, the trolleys were not running, but the French Quarter is not far away. Off-street parking is available behind the house and the restaurant next door is convenient and serves tasty fare. Joe always has the best information about where to go, what to eat and things to do. He suggests booking early for Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, but anytime of the year is a great time to visit.

  • 6. Gumbo Shop
    Gumbo Shop, New Orleans, Louisiana

    Don't let the line of people waiting to eat here put you off! It is worth the wait to eat here. Try the gumbo, or the red beans and rice and you will be eating like the locals. The prices are reasonable, and the food and service are excellent. My husband loved his catfish po-boy.

  • 7. Boiled Crawfish, Alligator Piquant and the adventurous palate

    Louisiana is rightfully proud of the local cuisine. You don't have to spend a lot of money to experience the flavors of this area. Food here can be pretty spicy, remember, Tabasco sauce is a local product. Putting lots of tabasco on your red beans and rice is required if you are to get the taste of the dish the way it is intended to be enjoyed. You will find dishes featuring alligator, catfish and crawfish as well as a wide variety of cajun sausages. Be bold, dig in. You will be delightfully surprised. If you really want to eat like a local, seek out the chance to eat boiled crawfish. Usually offered by the pound (3 pounds is a good dinner serving) the crawfish will be served after being boiled in highly spiced water. The natives will give you tips on how to eat them, and demonstrate the best way to get out that tasty nugget of meat from the tail. Bon Appetite!

  • 8. Stockade Bed and Breakfast
    The Stockade Bed and Breakfast, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    After the chaos of Mardi Gras, we retreated to this lovely garden home outside Baton Rouge. The rooms are beautiful and comfortable. Ours featured a balcony with a view of the gardens and the bayou beyond. The breakfast was made to order and absolutely delicious. Another great example of gracious southern living. This bed and breakfast was ideally situated for exploring the river road attractions.