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.

Historic Treasures Beyond the Big Columns

Thinking of the antebellum plantations in Louisiana, the first images that come to mind are the mansions themselves. These typically huge, ornate and architecturally complex homes served as the living quarters and business hubs for extremely wealthy sugar and cotton planters. Envision the homes’ massive columns, exquisite landscaping and formal gardens, centuries-old live oak trees and tranquil settings on the Mississippi River and other major waterways. Any Louisiana traveler packing a camera is likely to capture one or more snapshots of the majestic manors’ facades.