Thursday, November 21, 2013

Destrehan Plantation {Stepping into Louisiana's Past}

**Disclosure: We received complimentary admission for the purpose of conducting an accurate review. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

As a former French colony, Louisiana has quite a unique past. During our visit to Louisiana a few weeks ago, we wanted to make sure to absorb as much of Louisiana culture both past and present as we could. There is nowhere else like Louisiana! So, a visit to a French plantation was definitely on the list. We spent one lovely morning walking under trees draped in Spanish moss, along a sweeping veranda and through well-appointed rooms at Destrehan Plantation.


Destrehan Plantation is one of the older plantations in the country so you cannot find many that have seen so much history. Construction on the home began in 1787 and I love that you can still see the influence of French colonial style. The home's wide-hipped roof and sweeping porches and raised level living quarters really show off the style. The home was later remodeled in a Georgian style, but I really think the French colonial style still comes out.

The Destrehan family figured prominently in Louisiana history. So, our tour not only introduced us to the family but to Louisiana history as well. In fact, the plantation has an original document from Thomas Jefferson appointing Jean Noel Destrehan to the Orleans Territorial Council. So, you can see that the family was important to the growth of Louisiana. My daughter was in awe seeing this document--which was pretty cool, too!

I love to tour historic homes. When I was a child, my family enjoyed touring James River Plantations in Virginia. Ever since, I have been hooked. As a parent, though, I had a difficult time deciding when to take my daughter on a house tour. She is now 8-years-old and I think she was the perfect age for this tour.

We began the tour with a short video laying down the background history of the home. After the video, the costumed guide began the tour of the house. When you walk through a house like Destrehan, it is almost like you are walking through a dollhouse. Scenes were set and I think that really appeals to adults and children alike. We enjoyed moving around each room, taking in all of the details. The tour guide exhibited a deep knowledge of the history of everything in the house {at least everything we asked about}.



I was pretty impressed by how the tour guide was able to relate to my daughter. She was very patient with my daughter's deluge of questions. She demonstrated a few items---which of course had my daughter wide-eyed.



While the guide was able to captivate the interest of the wee one, she was able to also keep the interest of the adults. I loved learning about the functions of items throughout the house including this tea chest from China.

Additionally, we learned that the plantation grounds have been used in film including appearances in Interview with a Vampire and 12 Years a Slave. Pretty cool! Does this bedroom look familiar?



The tour concluded in a room with family artifacts and digital images of family documents. My daughter and I loved that some of the documents were in French.

After the tour, we were able to explore the grounds and other buildings. The buildings highlight more about the history of the plantation, how it worked and its restoration. The Museum Shop is also a must stop. You will find many giftable items in the shop--many reflecting the pleasantries of Louisiana.

We loved our visit at Destrehan and were definitely swept up in the charm of the old South. It is hard to believe that the plantation was once in grave disrepair! When we visited, we really felt like we were stepping into the grand home during its heyday. We enjoyed our visit to Destrehan Plantation and found that the tour gave us a great snapshot of this period of Louisiana history.

For more insights and impressions based on our tour, read my review on Trekaroo.

Destrehan Plantation is located at 13034 River Road in Destrehan, Louisiana.

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