Historic Women of the River Parishes

Montage of Désirée Archinard Locoul & Laura LaCoul: Photo Courtesy of Laura Plantation & The Zoë Company.

Under French Civil Law, women in Louisiana, including women of color, were entitled to several rights. Although they did not have all the rights that were given to men, they were able to own their own land, become business women, and manage and oversee plantations. In the River Parishes, there were several women that helped to create the unique culture of the region. On this journey, you will explore the diverse livelihoods of Creole women, as you travel throughout the River Region on this wonderful experience.

Day 1

Your trip begins in Destrehan with breakfast at Honeydoux Café and Bakery.  Enjoy a delicious light meal or have a tasty breakfast sandwich.

Dianne “Gumbo” Marie Honore’ – Destrehan Plantation

Next, you will explore the “Unheard Voices of the German Coast,” on a guided tour with Dianne “Gumbo Marie Honore’ at Destrehan Plantation. Dianne is a descendant of Jean-Baptiste Destrehan who was the founder of Destrehan Plantation. During the tour, you will walk the grounds where hospitals were run by enslaved women.

Photo Credit: Destrehan Plantation

Amelia Picou – Godchaux House

You will travel to Reserve, to learn the history of Amelia Picou, a free woman of color who became the owner of the Reserve Plantation after her husband died. Shortly after her husband’s death, his brother sold Amelia his interest in the plantation, which made her the sole owner of the property. The Reserve Plantation is now the Godchaux House.

Your lunch will be in LaPlace at the Grille at Belle Terre Restaurant. Enjoy a delicious meal and the picturesque views of Belle Terre Country Club.

Julia Brown – Frenier Cemetery

After lunch, you will travel to the Frenier Cemetery to learn the truth and legend about Julia Brown, a prominent African American landowner, local healer (traiteur), and midwife. The legend is: Julia was a Voodoo priestess who predicted the Category 4 hurricane on September 29, 1915 that killed everyone in the entire village.

There’s more to learn about Julia Brown on a relaxing Cajun Pride Swamp Tour. The tour features a replica of Julia’s house surrounded by the primitive beauty of moss-draped Cypress trees and sightings of alligators and other wildlife.

Your tour ends today with dinner at Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar overlooking beautiful Lake Pontchartrain.

Day 2

This morning you will travel to Convent to begin your experience with a delicious breakfast at the Creole House Restaurant. Enjoy a delicious Southern, Creole meal.

Mimi Zilla – St. Michael’s Catholic Church

After breakfast, you will learn the history of Mimi Zilla, a Free Woman of Color who owned and donated the land to build St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Inside the church are the Lourdes Grotto, the Henry Erben Pipe Organ, and a portrait of a lamb (Lamb of God) that looks at you no matter where you walk in the church.

Martha Deroche – Our Lady of the Blind River Chapel

Just minutes away from Convent is the town of Paulina, where you are told the vision of Martha Deroche, a dream that guided her to build Our Lady of the Blind River Chapel. The little church is a one room sanctuary that is hidden in the marsh on the Blind River.

Laura Locoul – Laura Plantation: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site

You will travel to Vacherie, and discover the life of Laura Locoul and other Creole women, both free and enslaved, who were instrumental in managing and maintaining Laura Plantation: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site. On this guided tour, you will learn how Creole women formed businesses and partnerships when the Americans attempted to take control from the Creoles who owned sugar plantations.

For lunch, you will enjoy a delicious meal in a relaxing and casual setting at  Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant.

Josephine Stewart – Oak Alley Plantation

After lunch, you will tour Oak Alley Plantation and learn the life of Josephine Stewart and her passion for sharing the historic plantation with visitors, which included the grounds, her gardens, the house, and the alley. You will also learn that Josephine encouraged promising students to continue their education and supported those who showed interest in pursuing higher education.

Les Babas de Chouquette – Nobile’s Restaurant

Tonight, you will travel to Paulina for dinner and enjoy a meal at Nobile’s Restaurant. When placing your order for dinner, make sure you include Baba, a dessert handed down from Les Babas de Chouquette, a slave who lived on a plantation just below St. Michael’s Catholic Church. During your meal, you will learn why Chouquette and good things to eat are synonymous.

Day 3

You will begin your journey today in Wallace with breakfast at Fee-Fo-Lay Café.  Enjoy a fresh hot cup of coffee and fresh cooked beignets and T-Cakes.

Cecile Landry – Acadian Monument

After breakfast, you will travel to St. James to visit the Acadian Monument, dedicated to the first four Acadian families that arrived in St. James Parish. Cecile Landry was one of the few women that arrived, and you will learn why the Spanish governor decided to give Cecile and the Cajun families their own land.

Mary Ferchaud – St. James Catholic Church Cemetery

Across the street from the Acadian Monument is the St. James Catholic Church Cemetery, where you will watch a live presentation of Mary Ferchaud. Mary was an African American who raised her own children and Chef John Folse and his siblings. You will listen to how Mary taught Chef Folse how to cook when he was a small boy, and you will visit her grave in the St. James Cemetery.

You will travel to Vacherie and have lunch at B & C Restaurant. Choose a tasty meal from an ample selection of authentic Cajun dishes and seafood platters.

Creole Women Mourning Tour – St. Joseph Plantation

You will experience another live reenactment at St. Joseph Plantation, which features the mourning customs women endured in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that originated from Roman Catholicism.

Your tour ends today in LaPlace with dinner at Zora Christina’s Restaurant. You will enjoy a delicious gourmet meal in a relaxing atmosphere.

Day 4

You will begin your tour in LaPlace with breakfast at Chung’s Heavenly Café. Enjoy a delicious Croissant and a basket of beignets.

Luise Von Seybold Marmillion – San Francisco Plantation

After breakfast, you will travel to Reserve to explore the talents of Luise Von Seybold Marmillion who owned and managed San Francisco Plantation for years after her husband died from Tuberculosis. Louise hosted plays in her home and was the piano and organ player for St. Peters’ Catholic Church and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Plantation

Louise Monica-Hebert & Agnes Hodgins-Monica – Garyville Timbermill Museum

You will travel to Garyville to learn the history of Louise Monica-Hebert and Agnes Hodgins-Monica at the Garyville Timbermill Museum.  Louise and Agnes were prominent Italian entrepreneurs who owned their own grocery stores in Garyville. For decades, Garyville was the largest Sicilian community outside of New Orleans.

The Historic Women of the River Parishes tour ends in LaPlace with lunch at Petra Restaurant. Enjoy a delicious meal in this Italian family style restaurant.

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Discover Exciting Ways to Explore

Make planning your next vacation to Louisiana's River Parishes easy. Use one of our trip itineraries to get started.

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New Orleans PLANTATIONS Country

Explore the 10 historic estates in the River Parishes of Louisiana and discover the stories rooted in their past.

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New Orleans SWAMP Country

Create memories learning the folklore of our swamps and viewing gators in their natural habitat.

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ANDOUILLE Trail

Andouille was created here, so get out and try the local smokehouses that each have their own version of the "best".

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OUTDOOR RECREATION

The region out here is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and find adventure.

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Lac Des Allmands

Famous for catfish, Lac Des Allemands is a haven for outdoor sportsmen.

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PERIQUE

Enjoyed around the world, Perique can only be grown and processed out here.

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CAJUN & CREOLE CUISINE

Cajun and Creole cuisine are as necessary to our culture as the people who make it.

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TRANSPORTATION

Tour buses, shuttles and local airports are all transportation options for the River Parishes.

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STAY OUT HERE

Louisiana's River Parishes offers a wide range of lodging options from rustic and quaint to upscale and luxurious.

STILL Have Questions? Drop us a line AND REQUEST A VISITORS GUIDE.