This national park is well worth your visit to see, and better understand, an important piece of Creole, Louisiana, and US history. From Natchitoches, the signs are easy to follow. Take the rural road along the Cane River and soak up the history, buildings, and landscape as you go. The Oakland plantation is well preserved. Go during a tour time, so you can see inside the main house. The outbuildings include two remaining slave/tenant quarters, the overseer house, the plantation store, which remained open into the 1980's, and a number of other outbuildings including the pigeonnier. This is an important piece of French culture brought over to Louisiana. After leaving Oakland, you'll continue down the river, through Melrose, before coming to the Magnolia plantation. The main house is not open, because a member of the original family that began the plantation still lives there. However, much of the other buildings are preserved and open. They include the plantation store, the slave hospital that later became the overseer home, a pigeonnier, 8 slave cabins, and the gin building. I found it very interesting how drastically different the architecture is between each plantation. From the main house, to the overseer house, to the slave cabins, they are all very different. The park is great for families, too, because everything is free, and you can have so many great conversations with your children about our history, and how our history is still impacting our present.
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