The Oak Alley Plantation is located in the New Orleans area, in Vacherie, Louisiana. It is considered one of the most photographed plantation estates in Louisiana and is a listed National Historic Landmark. It gets its name from the quarter mile avenue lined with oak trees which leads from the Mississippi River up to the main house. The plantation was established in 1839 to grow sugar cane and it covers 25 acres. Visitors can use an interactive map to take a self-guided tour of the grounds.
The house is built in the Greek-Revival style with an impressive colonnade of 28 free-standing Doric columns on all four sides of the building. Inside there are hardwood floors, dazzling chandeliers, high ceilings, beautiful architectural features and historic furniture. The "Big House" can be seen with a costumed guide who will take you through the elegant antebellum (antebellum: existing before or during a war) mansion and tell you about the history and different tales about the house (including the ghosts in the house).
On the plantation grounds is a restaurant housed within a 19th century cottage, where they serve Cajun and Creole cuisine. The plantation is an event venue, a restaurant, there are bed and breakfast cottages and of course it is a regular stop for sightseeing tourists. Visitors can enjoy walking through the green rolling grounds or along the levee where they have views of the Mississippi River. One of the plantation's most famed slaves, Antoine, grafted several tree seeds and produced a tree which produced a thin shelled pecan nut or "paper shell" pecan, now called the centennial Variety.
There is an exhibition called Slavery at Oak Alley which is displayed in the reconstructed slave quarters. The plantation was once "home" to about 200 slaves, and the exhibit highlights their lives on the plantation in the 1800s. Visit the plantation blacksmith shop which served as the original forge. There is a Civil War Interpretive Exhibit where you can see a furnished commanding officer's tent with costumed actors who act as guides. You can also see the historic weapons and learn how the war affected the plantation and the area.
Oak Alley Plantation Photo: Prayitno
An annual Spring and Fall Arts and Crafts Festival are held on the grounds of the Oak Alley Plantation in mid-March and late October. On the first Saturday in December there is an annual Christmas Bonfire Party.
The Oak Alley Plantation is open to the public from November to February from 9am to 4:30pm and until 5pm on weekends. From March to October it is open until 5pm daily. Admission to the grounds and the Big House is $20 for adults, $7.5 for 13-18 year olds and $4.5 for children 6-12 years old.