Stately plantations once spread from the banks of the mighty, muddy Mississippi out from New Orleans. These River Road grand dames have become the stuff of legend, Greek Revival mansions nestled among live oaks with shaggy arms hanging gray Spanish moss. You can wander along the road today to tour these architectural wonders and contemplate the Creole culture that sprang from the people who lived and worked on them.
One mansion, far from most tourists’ radar, still stands along the river about 40 minutes south of New Orleans. The 1830 Woodland Plantation has survived almost two centuries of devastating hurricanes and still welcomes guests with gracious living in Louisiana’s Deep Delta. At one time, more than 60 plantations stood along the river between the Crescent City and the Gulf of Mexico.
If the Woodland looks familiar to you, that’s not surprising. An 1871 lithograph of the main house was licensed by Southern Comfort whiskey to use as its label after Prohibition ended. (View large "Southern Comfort" label).
Today, you can lodge here amid burnished antiques in historic rooms (rates from $125). The adjacent Spirit Hall, a restored 1883 Catholic chapel transplanted here, hosts elegant dinners of fresh fish and oysters, steak and game – all with traditional Creole and Cajun flavors.
This part of Louisiana offers some of the best fishing in the state. Many guests come to explore the low-lying waters between the levees and the Gulf. Others come for the excellent birding and nature tours. All find comfort in this hospitable style of Southern living.
Looking for More?
Here’s a selection of other River Road plantation homes, listed south to north above New Orleans. All welcome exploration, some serve memorable Southern meals and some welcome overnight guests.