Exposing the Real Story of Slavery: Whitney Plantation

Located 46 miles west of New Orleans, Whitney Plantation is a museum and historic district that is devoted to sharing the un-sugarcoated story of slavery.

The Plantation Jail The plantation jail was located near the slave cabins to serve as a reminder of one of the punishments for disobedience.Offenses could be anything an overseer or master considered out of bounds.

Robin’s Blacksmith Shop

Named after an enslaved blacksmith who served three generations of the Haydels, the plantation’s blacksmith shop was rebuilt in 2005 after the original was destroyed by a hurricane in 1965.

The Carriage House Like the blacksmith shop, the carriage house was reconstructed years after the original was destroyed.

The Kitchen The Kitchen at Whitney Plantation is believed to be the oldest detached kitchen in Louisiana. An annex of the Big House, it is where enslaved Creoles would have mixed Creole, Native American and European recipes and foodways to make famed dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, smothered okra and crawfish étouffé.

The Big House

Constructed by the Hayden family prior to 1815, the Big House is said to be one the finest surviving examples of Spanish Creole architecture and one of the earliest raised Creole cottages in Louisiana. In addition, it is one of the very few historic American houses known to have received decorative wall paintings on both its exterior and its interior.

The Welcome Center

Home to at least twelve historic structures, Whitney Plantation provides a unique perspective on the evolution of the Louisiana working plantation. A visit to Whitney Plantation ends with the Welcome Center. Here visitors are exposed to a museum and exhibits sharing the general history of slavery in Louisiana and the United States.

Whitney Plantation is located at 5099 Louisiana Hwy 18 on the west bank of the Mississippi River. For more information visit: https://www.whitneyplantation.com/whitney-plantation-tour/

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com