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New Roads is located in one of the oldest settlement areas in Louisiana. The town is named after a “new road” the Spanish built in 1776 between the Mississippi and the False River, northwest from Baton Rouge. But it was not founded until 1822, when a free woman of color, Catherine Depau subdivided a portion of her plantation there. Known as the “Little Carnival Capital” of Louisiana, New Roads followed New Orleans’ example by staging Mardi Gras celebrations as early as 1881. The event continues to this day, drawing thousands of visitors. A Louisiana Main Street community, New Roads is also home to several plantation estates, particularly along the False River. The river itself is actually a 15-mile oxbow lake. It was once part of the Mississippi River before it changed course and is now the scene of breathtaking natural beauty and a great spot for fishing, boating and water-skiing.