Views of the False River, historic homes and Creole plantations abound as you approach the city of New Roads. Route 1 (also called False River Drive) is part of the state’s Scenic Byways. Here are 10 reasons to visit.
Once you get to New Roads, the visual charm continues, new discoveries await and are excuses enough for pulling the car over and taking a stroll around.
“Le Poste de Pointe de Coupée” was founded in the 1720s by the French and soon attracted Creoles from the French West Indies, as well as other ethnic groups throughout the years. From the late 18th century plantations, Victorian follies, early 20th-century bungalows to a 1960s era hotel, the architecture reflects this changing influence. There’s even a “Garden District” in town with late 19th-century Queen Ann style homes, Creole cottages and bungalows. Completed in 1907, the Gothic-style Mary’s of False River Church has particularly beautiful stained glass windows.
In 1822, “le Chemin Neuf" (the New Road) was created as a shortcut from False River to the Mississippi River. Once part of the river’s main channel, it is actually a 22-mile long oxbow lake. Today, False River is a popular spot for fishermen, and there are weekly fishing tournaments. In the mood for bass, catfish or bream tonight? Bait a hook, and you can cast your line from the public dock or launch your boat on the river. Please note that there are no boat rentals in New Roads so bring your own.
Located in Pointe Coupee Parish, southwest of the Mississippi border and formed along the banks of the False River originally made New Roads attractive to businesses that focused on agriculture: sugar cane, cotton and pecans, among others. It was named the parish seat for Point Coupee Parish in 1894, and it remains so today. New Roads Main Street is also part of the state’s Main Street Communities program and New Road’s restored buildings reflect this care.
For a small town, there are a number of dining options offering Creole and Southern cuisine, including Satterfield's Restaurant or Morel’s-- which actually started out as a bait shop—and Ma Mamma’s Kitchen. Etouffée, gumbo, seafood and steaks are just a few of the choices. You won’t leave New Roads hungry. And for those in the mood for a table with a view, both Satterfield’s and Morel's Restaurant Courtyard Inn & Antiques restaurants have “window” seats, with views on to the beautiful False River.
Spending the night in one of the New Road’s bed and breakfasts—particularly those that are historic homes make it easy to find a good night’s rest. Mon Reve Bed and Breakfast, a French Creole home built in the 1820s is one option. There are a number to choose from—1960s modern, Victorian. What’s your style? Morel's Courtyard Inn, located on the riverfront, makes it convenient for anglers and outdoorsmen.
The town’s vintage feel will put anyone in the mood to go antiquing. The fun thing is that the stores don’t focus on any one style; you can find a garden urn and fine china all in the same place. One of these establishments, Fleur de Lis Antiques, is an antique mall with collectibles from a variety of vendors. If you need something more up to date, A Finer Pointe can supply men and women with a chic ensemble and Nelda’s Place has gifts and home accessories, both frivolous and practical.
When was the last time you were on a ferry? Thought so. This free-of-charge ferry runs every quarter and three-quarter on the hour, and it is a direct link from the outskirts of New Roads to downtown St. Francisville. Crossing this portion of the Mississippi River, with no buildings along the shore, and nothing but a panorama of earth and sky can feel like a trip back in time. Could these be the same views that Mark Twain saw on his journeys? They just might be.
New Roads is situated in such a way that other towns in the region are easily accessible. Butler Greenwood, The Myrtles Plantation and more will fill your day with fascinating history in St. Francisville. Livonia, home of the famed Joe's Dreyfus Store Restaurant is nearby. Other plantations such as Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site and Audubon State Historic Site & Oakley House are also within reach. It was at Oakley House where John James Audubon was a tutor to the homeowner’s daughter, while he did a portion of his “Birds of America” studies. Baton Rouge, the state capitol, is just under an hour away.
Louisiana knows how to throw a party. And New Roads is no exception, as it celebrates the second oldest Mardi Gras in Louisiana after New Orleans. The day is celebrated with parades and revelry. But there are festivals and special events in the area taking place all the time: the Battle of Port Hudson Reenactment and the Audubon Pilgrimage are held in March; hold on to your hat for the Angola Prison Rodeo in April and October, and join in the conviviality for the Pecan Ridge Spring Bluegrass Festival in May or the Highland Games of Louisiana later in the fall.