Located 25 miles (40 kilometers) upriver from New Orleans, Destrehan Plantation is the oldest documented plantation house in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Learn about life in the antebellum South while wandering the grounds among ancient oak trees.
See Spanish and French architectural influences, listen to costumed tour guides talk about the daily life of those who ran the plantation, and watch demos of historic trades such as candle making, open-hearth cooking, and indigo dyeing. Destrehan also offers a tour focusing on the region’s marginalized people, including German farmers, Acadians, enslaved Africans, and Native Americans.
Some guided tours from New Orleans combine a visit to the plantation with an airboat swamp ride for a full day of sightseeing.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Destrehan’s gift shop, main house, and education center are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
- The tour of the home takes about 45 minutes.
- Be prepared for heat and high humidity during the summer months; the house, however, is air-conditioned.
- The plantation hosts various seasonal events.
How to Get There
About 30 minutes by car from downtown New Orleans, Destrehan Plantation is a convenient stop for visitors traveling to or from the city. Most guided tours provide round-trip transportation from New Orleans. If you’re driving, head west on Interstate 10 toward Baton Rouge, then take Interstate 310 Boutte South.
When to Get There
Destrehan is open year-round except on major holidays, and tours run throughout the day. Go to New Orleans sometime between February and May for the most pleasant weather and to hit one of the city’s major festivals, such as Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest.
What to Know About Antebellum Architecture
Antebellum mansions are characterized by a symmetrical exterior, large pillars, a balcony that wraps around the house, and a big center entrance, as well as geometric gardens that complement the boxy style of the house. Inside, you’ll find sweeping staircases and a formal ballroom. Some of these homes were damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.