History of the Enslaved
One cannot step foot into Louisiana’s River Parishes without experiencing the impact of the African culture. African art, language, folklore and of course food are woven deep into the fabric of Louisiana’s River Parishes. First brought to Louisiana through forced labor, the success of the region and its plantations were based largely on the intelligence and skill of the Africans. Through plantations, cemeteries, food, and more, the history of African- Americans can be deeply felt across the entire region.
Your trip to Louisiana’s River Parishes begins at Donut Land. Here an array of breakfast items and of course donuts are on the menu. Don’t forget to fill up on every local’s favorite coffee, Community Coffee.
Your journey into Louisiana’s River Parishes starts only 15 miles outside of downtown New Orleans at Destrehan Plantation, the oldest touring plantation home in the Mississippi Valley. Visit their German Coast Uprising (1811 Slave Revolt) exhibit for an in-depth depiction of the country’s largest slave revolt. Stories of the enslaved are also intertwined throughout the tour, such as that of Maugerite, an enslaved domestic who worked tirelessly to manage the manor home.
African-American history in Louisiana’s River Parishes continues with your first spoon of Gumbo at B&C Seafood restaurant. The flavors, the spices, and of course the name can be traced directly to the region’s African ancestry. Freshly caught seafood such as crawfish, crabs, and shrimp offer the perfect complement to this Louisiana staple.
Stories of the enslaved continue at Oak Alley Plantation, where several reconstructed cottages offer deeper insight into their lives. From medicine to horticulture, the astounding details are creatively presented in each cabin. The tour continues at the steps of the “Big House” where both sides of history, that of the free and the enslaved, are told throughout the home.
While at Oak Alley Plantation, take some time to view the Great Mississippi River as you walk along the paved Levee. For thousands of years, this powerful river has served as a witness to our poignant history, a history that includes the arrival of the first Africans to the region.
End your day at Nobile’s Restaurant, a favorite of locals and visitors alike. After having your pick of Creole/Cajun dishes, make sure to order the Ba-Ba, a dessert handed down from an enslaved woman.
Mama Jo’s Cajun and Creole Restaurant offers great food sure to keep a smile on your face. Try the fried chicken and waffles for a hearty start to the day!
Recognized as the most complete plantation complex in the South, Evergreen Plantation offers a walk through the past like no other with 22 original slave cabins on its premises. A tour crafted from 500 pages of documentation at Evergreen Plantation, provides one of the most thorough insights into the lives of the enslaved.
Recently voted as the 3rd fastest growing cultural experience by Trip Advisor, Whitney Plantation is the only Plantation museum in Louisiana with a focus on slavery. Through museum exhibits, memorial artwork, restored buildings and hundreds of first-person slave narratives, gain a unique perspective on the lives of Louisiana’s enslaved people.
While at Whitney, bring your lunch and enjoy their serene picnic area, where you can reflect on the powerful experience while communing with your family, visitors, and even the staff.
Continue on the Great River Road to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Cemetery, one of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in the country. While there, visit the tombs of notable African-Americans, such as Demas, a founder of Southern University and one of the first black senators in the country.
One of the region’s best-kept secrets, the Creole House Café offers all your favorites from seafood to steak. Dishes include Crawfish boletes, seafood platters, and even pulled-pork nachos to end your day on a delicious note.
The Our Lady of Grace original sanctuary, housed at Historic Riverlands, was truly a sanctuary to the many Black Catholics who sought a place to worship without segregation. This empowering tour combines the traditions of the church, the African- American experience, and a musical history that will leave you with a spirit of endurance and enjoyment.
One of the region’s best-kept secrets, Zora Christina’s is a new restaurant that has fast become one of the region’s favorite eateries. From soul food to seafood, Zora Christina has it all – and it’s all delicious!
Entrepreneur? Voodoo Priestess? Or maybe a combination of both? Whatever you believe about Julia Brown, you’ll learn about this powerful woman who lived in the small swamp town of Frenier the Cajun Pride Swamp Tour brings you deep into this town and its legends including that of the mysterious Julia Brown.
Perhaps the best way to view Lake Pontchartrain, other than being on a boat is at Frenier’s Landing. Only a short drive from Cajun Pride Swamp Tours, experience fresh seafood caught right outside the restaurant’s doors. Get the full Frenier’s Landing experience with a plate of their famous charbroiled oysters paired with a local beer on tap.
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.
Explore the 10 historic estates in the River Parishes of Louisiana and discover the stories rooted in their past.
Create memories learning the folklore of our swamps and viewing gators in their natural habitat.
Andouille was created here, so get out and try the local smokehouses that each have their own version of the "best".
The region out here is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and find adventure.
Famous for catfish, Lac Des Allemands is a haven for outdoor sportsmen.
Enjoyed around the world, Perique can only be grown and processed out here.
Cajun and Creole cuisine are as necessary to our culture as the people who make it.
Tour buses, shuttles and local airports are all transportation options for the River Parishes.
Louisiana's River Parishes offers a wide range of lodging options from rustic and quaint to upscale and luxurious.