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New Orleans


Louisiana

Destrehan Plantation

In 1787, Robin deLogny entered into a contract with Charles, a free mulatto, to build a French Colonial style plantation house. It took three years to build the house, everything being hewn and sanded by hand. deLogny only lived in the house for 2 years before his death in 1792. In 1810, Robin's daughter Celeste and husband Jean Noel d'Estrehan purchased the plantation, adding twin wings to accommodate 14 children. Jean Noel died in 1823, his wife died a year later. Daughters of the d'Estrehan family lived in the house through the following years. In 1840, owner Louise and husband Judge Pierre Rost remodeled the house to Greek Revival.

In 1861, while the Rost family was in Europe, the Union Army seized the house and established the Rost Home Colony. Operating under control of the Freedman's Bureau, newly freed slaves learned trades.

After the Civil War ended, the house was returned to Rost, who lived there until his death in 1868. His widow Louise died in 1877, son Emile purchased the property. In 1910, family ownership ended when it was sold to the Destrehan Planting and Manufacturing Company. Through the years, ownership changed many times.

For over 12 years the house sat abandoned. Vandals broke in and stole everything of value. Because of legends of hidden treasurer, interior walls were ripped out. The house was in jeopardy of being totally destroyed. Local citizens formed the River Road Historical Society to save the house. In 1971, the house and 4 acres of ground were deeded to the Society. Since that time the house has been completely restored and filled with a fine collection of early to mid-19th century furnishings and decorative arts, including Louisiana armoires, tables, desks, and items once belonging to Destrehan family members.

The house museum open for tours daily, features docents dressed in historically accurate period costumes. Demonstrations of period crafts such as candle making, dyeing with indigo, calligraphy and early construction techniques give the visitors a glimpse of the talents needed in the daily workings of a plantation.

The Destrehan Plantation Store offers visitors a variety of reproduction period antiques and collectibles. The annual Fall Festival, held the second full weekend in November is the primary fund raising event of the Society. Revenue from the event, now in its 30th year, has funded restoration and the expansion of the interpretative site. Future plans for the site include acquisitions of slave quarters and other out buildings. The River Road Historical Society continues to strive for its mission: the preservation and interpretation of Destrehan Plantation and other historical sites along the River Road in Louisiana for present and future generations.

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Document Information
Source: New Orleans CVB, Destrehan Plantation
Last modified: 20040920
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