Before John James Audubon became associated with the environmental organization, zoo, park and aquarium that bears his name, he was a wildlife painter with a keen eye for detail. Audubon’s ties to Louisiana date back to 1821, when he was hired to teach painting to the teenage daughter of St. Francisville plantation owners. He spent four months teaching and painting at the house known today as Oakley Plantation, creating 32 of the paintings that were eventually published in his bestselling Birds of America. The Audubon State Historic site commemorates the history of the home, and in particular, Audubon’s stay there.
Oakley Plantation was built between 1799 and 1806, in a colonial architectural style that is simple but sophisticated. Its high ceilings spanning three stories, spacious verandas and entrances to landscaped grounds give visitors a glimpse into the setting that inspired Audubon.
Take a guided tour of the home’s 17 rooms, reconstructed kitchen, barn, gardens and slave quarters, all restored to the time period coinciding with Audubon’s residency. After your tour, stop in the gift shop for a souvenir, or listen to the same sounds of nature Audubon himself heard from the vantage point of one of Oakley’s picnic areas.
Entrance fee for house tour: $8 per adult (18-62); $6 per senior citizen (62 and older); $4 per student (ages 6 to 17); free to children 5 and under.
For admission to the grounds only: $4 per person (ages 6 and older); free to children 5 and under.