whitney plantation, new orleans tour, new orleans tours

Whitney Plantation, New Orleans & Why It’s a Must-Do

Please share if you enjoy this content!

Looking for the best plantation tour to do when you’re visiting New Orleans? Then, look no further than Whitney Plantation, New Orleans!

There are a number of options for New Orleans plantation tours. Visiting a plantation is a top day trip from the city and is considered by most a must-do when you visit.

However, most of the plantations in the area, and in the southern areas I’ve been to, show the glitz and gloss of the plantation life of the owners and the families that lived there, completely disregarding or significantly minimizing the negative aspect of plantation life: slavery.

If you are looking for the whole picture of life on a plantation, you won’t want to miss Whitney Plantation tours. Full disclosure: it’s not an easy tour as you learn the true story of plantation life and the African perspective.

However, it’s a tour you shouldn’t miss. Here’s why you should visit Whitney Plantation, New Orleans, and what you can expect.

whitney plantation big house, whitney plantation tour, whitney plantation tours, louisiana plantation tour, plantation la, slave plantations in louisiana, whitney plantation louisiana

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links at no extra cost to you. Please read the full disclosure for more information.

Whitney Plantation Visit Details

Whitney Plantation is located at 5099 Louisiana Highway 18, Edgard, LA 70049. The Visitor Center is open from 9:30 to 4:30, Wednesday through Monday. The grounds open for tours at ten, and the last tours are at 3. (People who arrive after three should expect an abbreviated visit.)

Touring the grounds requires a ticket, either a self-guided tour or a group tour. Anyone may visit the visitor center for no charge.

Whitney Plantation tickets are available online or in person:

There is a gift shop at the plantation with a treasure trove of items. There’s an extensive library of books, including the research director.

You’ll also find African handiwork like jewelry, scarves, and more. If you cannot visit, you can also access the gift shop online.

whitney plantation big house, whitney plantation tour, whitney plantation tours, louisiana plantation tour, plantation la, slave plantations in louisiana, whitney plantation louisiana

Why You Should Visit the Whitney Plantation

Learning about the past can help us all have a better future. Of course, we can’t change the past. But we can reflect on where we were and dedicate ourselves to improving.

That’s what a visit to Whitney Plantation is all about. You learn about the lives of those who lived on the plantation. Not just the family that owned it but all of those who lived there.

A visit will open your eyes to what life was like for the enslaved people at the plantation. You’ll learn stories that have been shared about those who once lived here. Some are beautiful, and others will break your heart.

It’s so important to open yourself to all of it and never forget the stories. Because what we learn from the past has a place in our present. And we can choose to do better.

I remember visiting some of the antebellum mansions in Natchez. During every tour, I asked about the enslaved people living there. In most cases, I was told that not much of their history is known. No, I can’t say I was surprised, but it was disappointing and disheartening.

You won’t find that here. You’ll learn the stories of the enslaved people passed down through the generations for a balanced story of the plantation.

A non-profit organization preserves the Whitney Plantation and its historic district called the Whitney Institute. Their mission is to educate people about the history and legacies of slavery in the southern US.

Visit to learn and never forget. Visit so we can all learn from the horrors and mistakes of the past and do better.

remembrance wall, memorial wall, memorial wall of enslaved people who lived at the louisiana plantation
Memorial wall listing all known enslaved people at the plantation

About the Whitney Plantation

The Whitney Plantation was a 1,800-acre property. It’s on the River Road along the Mississippi River near Wallace in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana.

It was initially called Habitation Haydel and was founded in 1752 by Ambroise Haydel, a German immigrant. The plantation originally grew indigo but shifted to sugar cane when it proved more profitable.

The Haydel family owned the property for nearly 100 years, until 1867. It was then sold to businessman Bradish Johnson, who renamed the property Whitney.

The Whitney Plantation Museum owns 200 acres of the original property. Prior owners sold off the rest. It was founded by a local trial attorney, John Cummings, and donated to the non-profit in 2019.

The museum opened in 2014, with funding from John Cummings and extensive research by Dr. Ibrahima Seck, a Senegalese scholar who specializes in the history of slavery.

 Today, Whitney Plantation shares the legacies of enslaved people in the US. They do this by educating the public about the history of slavery and the history of the plantation from written and oral histories.

slave quarters, whitney plantation big house, whitney plantation tour, whitney plantation tours, louisiana plantation tour, plantation la, slave plantations in louisiana, whitney plantation louisiana

History of Slavery in Louisiana and at the Plantation

There is an extensive exhibit in the visitor’s center that’s well worth spending some time seeing. In fact, the public is allowed to view the exhibit for no entrance fee, so I encourage anyone in the area to walk through it.

You’ll learn a lot, and it provides a great foundation for the tour. Once you spend time reading and absorbing the exhibit’s content, you’ll almost definitely want to tour the grounds to learn more.

If you’re not in the area, the museum has captured some of the information on its website. You can learn a lot from reviewing their pages on the history of slavery and the plantation.

You can learn more about the history of slavery in Louisiana. It provides a fascinating and poignant historical perspective of life around the plantation at the time.

window.fd(‘form’, { formId: ‘5f654c78bf43d8ae8bbfa457’, containerEl: ‘#fd-form-5f654c78bf43d8ae8bbfa457’ });

Whitney Plantation Tour

Two kinds of tours are offered at Whitney Plantation. First, you can take a self-guided tour of the grounds with a headset that provides information about the things you’re seeing and the history of the plantation.

You can also take group tours with a staff member. We chose this option, and it was a large group of people joined (around 50 or so).

It was a little bit challenging to keep everyone together, and there were delays as we were looking at the buildings. However, it was nice to be able to ask questions for more details.

The grounds have several structures you can visit, including the Big House, an original kitchen building, a privy, a saddle storage shed, a barn, slaves’ quarters, and more. You can also see some large bowls used for sugar cane processing.

Many structures are listed on the national register as they are special examples not seen elsewhere. There are also several memorial sites on the property dedicated to the 100,000+ enslaved people in Louisiana.

You’ll also see an old Baptist Church with life-sized sculptures of children born into slavery.

Tips for Whitney Plantation Tours and Visits

If you’re heading for a visit to the Whitney Plantation, Louisiana, here’s how you can make the most of it.

  1. Plan to spend at least two hours at the plantation to learn about the history, regardless of whether you do a self-guided or group-led tour.
  2. Spend at least an hour on the historical exhibit inside the visitor’s center. It provides great background information for the tour.
  3. Bring tissues. Learning the history of the plantation and slavery in the area is a difficult topic that may be triggering.
  4. Book tour reservations before visiting. Reservations aren’t required; however, they do often sell out.
  5. Tours are outside and operate during rain or shine. Bringing rain gear, sunscreen, and bug spray is a good idea.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on grassy areas and gravel pathways. There may be some uneven ground, and the structures on site are not accessible. (They have steps with no elevator/ramp for access).

Above all, when you visit the Whitney Plantation Museum, come open-minded. Be prepared to hear the stories you don’t usually hear when you visit a southern plantation.

How to Get to the Whitney Plantation

The Whitney Plantation is around an hour’s drive from New Orleans, depending on where in the city you’re staying. You can easily rent a car to pick up in the city to make your way there.

If you’d rather not deal with the driving, there are tours that will handle the transportation to Whitney Plantation for you. They pick you up in the city, take you to the plantation, and return to the city.

There are also combined plantation and swamp tours if you want to combine two fun activities together into one great day!

We rented a car and did a swamp tour and the Whitney Plantation in one day. It’s a great day, and I highly recommend it.

Why You Should Visit the Whitney Plantation, New Orleans

The Whitney Plantation is a one-of-a-kind plantation museum dedicated to telling the story of the enslaved people of Louisiana. Whitney Plantation tours pull back the curtain of slave plantations in Louisiana.

It shares a unique perspective of life in the South before the Civil War from an enslaved people’s perspective. It’s such an important aspect of our history that we should never forget.

You Might Also Like

Like it? Pin it!

Please share if you enjoy this content!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *