The Whitney Plantation was one of the most infamous plantation estates in Louisiana, having housed some 60 slaves between 1819 and 1860. Today, the site serves as one of the only slavery memorial museums in the United States, having opened in 2014. Through original period buildings, art exhibits, and first-person narratives, visitors can gain an understanding of the lives of slaves in 19th-century America.
The plantation site, on the National Register of Historic Places since 1992, includes a stately plantation home and a number of historic outbuildings. While the visitors center museum exhibits are self-guided, the other plantation buildings—including the French Creole–style Big House, slave quarters, and a church—can only be visited by 90-minute guided tour, included with admission. The poignant exhibits and memorials help visitors see the stark contrast of the lives of slaves and slave-owners in pre-Civil War Louisiana. Most travelers see the Whitney Plantation has part of an extensive plantation tour from New Orleans.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Guided tours of the plantation site are included with admission; self-guided tours are not permitted.
- Whitney Plantation tours are 90 minutes long; plan to spend about two hours onsite.
- Dress for the weather, bring water, and wear closed-toe walking shoes.
- Although children under 6 enter for free, some tour material may be unsuitable for kids.
- The visitors center is accessible to those with limited mobility; the second floor of the Big House is not. There are gravel paths throughout the plantation.
How to Get There
The Whitney Plantation is located in Wallace, Louisiana, 46 miles (74 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans. Group and private tours offer round-trip transportation from New Orleans, while ride-sharing applications are not readily available in the area.
When to Get There
The Whitney Plantation is open year-round but closed on Tuesdays and on New Year's Day, Mardi Gras, Easter Sunday, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
Understanding Louisiana’s Dark History Through Art at the Whitney Plantation
Words and art are used at the Whitney Plantation to honor the lives of the slaves who worked and died there. Throughout the site are The Children of Whitney, life-sized sculptures of slave children by American artist Woodrow Nash. In the Field of Angels exhibit, the 2,200 children who died under slavery in Louisiana are commemorated, with their names listed on granite. Names of Whitney Plantation slaves are recorded with their ages and skills on the Wall of Honor, and in the Allèes Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, the names of all 107,000 people recorded in the Louisiana Slave Database line 18 walls, along with quotes and pictures from the time of slavery.