If you want to get a feel for real southern life a century or two ago, then the New Orleans area has a good collection of plantations for you to choose from. Being on a bit of a time constraint I chose the one closest to New Orleans – the Destrehan Plantation, though not as grand as some of the others – I’ve been told this one has its own unique charm.
Providing a set for some famous movies you might have seen – "Interview with the Vampire : The Vampire Chronicles", the main house has a European feel to it and the grounds follow all what you’d expect from a wealthy French plantation during that period of time.
The New Orleans Plantation Country website lays it out for you:
With one of the most interesting tours in all of New Orleans Plantation Country, no trip to this area would be complete without a visit to Destrehan Plantation. Established in 1787, Destrehan Plantation remains the oldest documented plantation home in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Here, visitors can gaze upon an original document signed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Dated 1804, the “Jefferson Document” assigned a handful of men, including the plantation’s first owner — Jean Noel Destrehan — to the Orleans Territorial Council, a body formed after the Louisiana Purchase to help ease the cultural transition of the Orleans Territory into an American representative democracy.
Destrehan Plantation history is associated with many other notable people and events. This is where the trial took place for the famous 1811 Slave Revolt. [...]
Witness costumed guides interpreting the fascinating legacy of the Destrehan family and the unique architectural features of the home. The plantation offers period craft demonstrations daily, including open hearth cooking, bousillage construction, indigo dyeing, sugar cane processing, weaving, carpentry of the 1780s, and African-American herbal remedies. [...]
So, welcome to the plantation…
The plantation offers guided tours of the main-house with costumed guides every half an hour.
Alas, no photos allowed in the house, so you’re left to admire the house from the outside. The tour includes an 8 minute movie that gives the background of the house and owning landlords.
Aside from the main house you there are a few other cabins you can venture into and have a look like slave cabins. At the kitchen, there was a demonstration of old southern cooking techniques by one of the staff.
Really takes you back in time. Wish I had more time to see some of the other plantations in the area. Be sure to see atleast one of the bigger ones when you’re visiting New Orleans.