One facet of Louisiana that makes it such an appealing visitor destination is its deep and colorful history. European explorers found their way to the region and inhabited the area very early relative to settlement of much of the rest of the continent. As a result, some communities in Louisiana are among the oldest in the United States. Before those explorers arrived, of course, people we now know as Native Americans populated the region. Reaching still farther back in time, ancient peoples left their mark on the area thousands of years ago. The state of Louisiana offers many ways to explore the region’s rich history, in hundreds of museums, historic structures, landmarks, artifacts and works of art. The careful preservation and restoration of these sites and artifacts has created many rare opportunities for visitors to experience Louisiana’s history and gain insights into the diverse cultures that continue to influence the state today.
The Mississippi River runs alongside Plaquemine, the parish seat of Iberville Parish. The city is rich in small-town charm, with old plantation homes that recall its founding in 1775. Plaquemine (whose name is a Native American word for "persimmon") is a former logging town that gained notoriety for an engineering marvel known as the Plaquemine Lock. The lock system allowed for transport of boats between the Mississippi River and the wild inland waterways of the Atchafalaya Basin, and it was designed by the same man who later became chief engineer for the Panama Canal.
Learn more about the city's importance to the state's rivers and bayous at Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site, and make sure you see other nearby attractions such as the Iberville Museum (housed in the former 1849 parish courthouse), the historic homes of Turnerville, Nottoway Plantation and Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park. Cyclists should take advantage of the 22-mile-long Plaquemine to Grosse Tete biking trail.