Side Trips from New Orleans Sights

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Destrehan Plantation

Destrehan Plantation Review

The oldest plantation left intact in the lower Mississippi Valley, this simple West Indies–style house, built in 1787 by a free man of color, is typical of the homes built by the earliest planters in the region. The plantation is notable for the hand-hewn cypress timbers that were used in its construction and for the insulation in its walls, made of bousillage, a mixture of horsehair, Spanish moss, and mud. Demonstrations of crafts such as indigo dying, candle making, or open-hearth cooking bring the period to life, and an annual fall festival with music, crafts, and food is held during the second weekend in November. A costumed guide leads you on a 45-minute tour through the house, which is furnished with period antiques. You are free to explore the grounds, where there are several smaller structures and massive oak trees borne down by their weighty old branches.

Updated: 05-07-2013

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