A Visit to Destrehan Plantation

The Lower Mississippi River is famous for old plantation homes, and my favorite one to visit is Destrehan, just outside of the city of New Orleans.  One of the oldest homes in the Louisiana Purchase, Destrehan Plantation was constructed beginning in 1787 and completed in 1790.    Like many of these old plantation sites, Destrehan has a reputation for being  haunted, and has great ghost stories, as well as a very colorful history.    In the nineteenth century, the house was the center of a bustling slave plantation that produced sugar for export. The site hosted the notorious St. Charles Parish Tribunal, which executed 18 of the slaves involved in the 1811 German Coast Uprising, the largest slave revolt in American history.  Thanks to an old legend that the illustrious privateer Jean Lafitte had hidden treasure in the house, treasure-seekers left gaping holes in the walls and vandals stripped the house of many of its finer materials. Fortunately, a local sheriff prevented the theft of the plantation’s original 1840s iron gates, rumored to be a gift from Napoleon Bonaparte to the family.  More recently, the house was recently the site for many of the plantation home scenes in the movie “Interview with a Vampire”.    One of the star attractions in my mind is the live oak trees that surround much of the property.  These trees are massive in size, and are covered in spanish moss, creating that distinctive southern style look to the grounds.  Unfortunately, I did not have time to pay the admission fee and roam around the grounds for a dedicated photo shoot.  I simply took a few quick shots from the the property fenceline before I had to get back on the road; even so, the brief encounter was grand, and I enjoyed the historic feel of the place and the shade of the amazing trees.  See more photos in the Destrehan Plantation Gallery.