Laura Plantation, Vacherie, LA



United States

Laura Plantation

Sited 54 miles above New Orleans on the Mississippi River, the DuParc Plantation was established in 1805 by Guillaume DuParc, a French veteran of the American Revolution. For nearly 100 years the DuParc family maintained the Creole plantation with slave and wage labor, exporting indigo, rice, pecans, and sugar cane and keeping a self-sufficient farm with orchards and a potager garden, a sugar mill, dairy, blacksmith shop, smokehouses, barns, overseer cottages, and 64 slave cabins with gardens.

The family home, the Maison Principale, was surrounded by a tall, white picket fence and generous yard. Family gatherings took place in an open courtyard and a lush parterre garden with manicured walkways and beds of European and Asian perennials shaded by palmettos and oaks. The property was approached along a gravel road oriented perpendicular to the river and lined with a pecan allée and orchard.

In 1891 Laura Plantation was sold to Florian Waguespack, who continued sugarcane production and general farming operations. A century later, although sugarcane farming continued, the Maison and gardens were in disrepair. In 1993 the Laura Plantation Company, LLC, acquired the Maison and fourteen acres and renovated it, including the re-establishment of the French parterre garden, a pecan orchard, walkways, roads, fences, and gates, a potager planted adjacent to the original kitchen, and vegetable plots replanted near the slave cabins. Laura Plantation was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

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