When in Louisiana, it’s essential to visit the beautiful plantations that the South has on offer. I managed to visit one of the most beautiful plantations called, The Oak Alley Plantation.
Oak Alley was a sugar a plantation, an abandoned investment property and even a cattle ranch for over 175 years and now it seems only fitting that it’s one of the most beautiful, historic sites in Louisiana. The actual plantation is huge and wonderfully picturesque with its ancient old oaks paving the way to the “Big House.” To read about the family history of Oak Alley, read it here.
The Oak Alley Plantation is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River (in the community of Vacherie, St James Parish, and Louisiana). If travelling by car from New Orleans, it will take you just over an hour to get there – the trip is about 69km. If driving on the “other side” of the road is not your thing, then you can arrange transportation from New Orleans through these agencies.
Parking is free at the plantation.
Tickets and Admission
Note: Admission tickets not sold in advance.
Admission to the historic site requires a ticket, which may be purchased at the Ticket Booth upon arrival. Admission includes guided tours of the Big House, and self-guided tours of the Historic Grounds, “Slavery at Oak Alley” Exhibit, Civil War Encampment, Blacksmith Shop, Sugarcane Video and fifteen other exhibits and points of interest.
Adults (19 yrs & older) – $22 (ZAR 277.93)**
Youth (13 to 18 yrs old) – $8 (ZAR 101.06)**
Children (6 to 12 yrs old) – $5 (ZAR 63.17)**
5 yrs & under – free
*Please refer to website for most recent ticket pricing
**Exchange rate used on the 21 March 2017.
What to expect:
When you get to the plantation, you’ll be bewildered by the most beautiful oak trees that lead up to the Big House. Just before you take the massive path leading there, you will see the “slave” houses display. I would start with the Big House tour and then walk the grounds after the tour. The actual tour is about 30-45 minutes and I definitely recommend paying for the guided tour. The guides are dressed up in the old traditional wear worn by the folks of that time.
The tour starts in the living area and ends on the balcony. Each room is decorated with tokens and furniture from the era and it’s fantastic and creepy at the same time. A few rooms are off-limits and can only be viewed from the doorway. The guides are extremely knowledgeable about the history of the plantation and I definitely learnt a lot while I was there. I won’t spoil it for you!
The view from the balcony is absolutely breathtaking. Take a look for yourself!….
In summary, you can do the following at the plantation (taken from their website):
- Experience a professionally guided tour of the Big House
- Visit the Confederate Commanding Officer’s Tent
- Witness the “Slavery at Oak Alley” – exhibits reconstructed slave quarters and learn about those who made plantation luxuries possible
- Learn about sugarcane and its impact on Oak Alley then and now at the Sugarcane Theater
- Explore 25 historic acres using an interpretive map (self-guided) and see the legacies left by those who once resided here
- See newly planted pecan trees commemorating Antoine, an enslaved gardener who grafted the first paper shell pecan
- Visit the blacksmith shop which houses the plantation’s original forge
- Stroll the magnificent alley of 300-year-old live oak trees leading a quarter mile to the Mississippi River
- Dine on Cajun/Creole Cuisine in the restaurant or enjoy a quick snack or ice cream in the Plantation Café
- Discover keepsakes and unique gifts in the Gift Shop
- Stay the night in one of the overnight cottages located on the grounds of the plantation
Once the tour was complete, we decided to try a virgin mint julep drink. Mint juleps are an edible icon of the South. They’re really tasty and refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
We strolled through the grounds and found ourselves viewing the slave quarters. There are written stories and snippets into the lives of the slaves that lived on the plantation on display around the slave quarters.
We spent about 2-3 hours just walking around and admiring the lush gardens, reading about the heart-wrenching history and admiring all the greenery!
Movies and music videos filmed at this plantation include but are not limited to the following:
- Interview with the vampire
- Beyoncé’s “Déjà Vu” Music Video and “B’Day” CD insert photos
- Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte
There are several plantations worth visiting In Louisiana . This one is definitely in my top 3!
As they say in the South, “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy!”
Photos : self taken with iphone 6s