A cluster of plantation homes all within a half-hour drive, a lovely, walkable historic district, renowned antiques shopping, and a wealth of comfortable B&Bs draw visitors and locals from New Orleans to overnight stays in St. Francisville. The town is just a two-hour drive from New Orleans, so it's also possible to make this a day trip.
St. Francisville's historic district, particularly along Royal
Street, is dotted with markers identifying basic histories of various structures, most of them dating to the late 18th or early 19th century. The region's Anglo-Protestant edge, in contrast to the staunchly French-Catholic tenor of the River Road plantations, is evident in the prominent Grace Episcopal Church, on a hill in the center of town and surrounded by a peaceful, Spanish moss–shaded cemetery. A smaller (and older) Catholic cemetery is directly across a small fence from the Episcopal complex.
Hemmed in as it is by endless industrial plants, Baton Rouge may not look like much from the road. Yet government-history enthusiasts will want...