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.
Often, when people picture Louisiana, they imagine a long row of oak trees leading to a magnificent plantation house, which is to say that, when they picture Louisiana, they’re picturing Vacherie. It is here that you’ll find that most iconic of all American plantation houses, Oak Alley. With its majestic stand of 300-year-old oaks and its grand, antebellum Greek revival home, it’s easy to understand why Oak Alley so amplifies the reputation of tiny Vacherie. But it doesn’t stop there. Vacherie is home to Laura Plantation, a gorgeous setting where you can learn about Creole culture and slave life. There’s also the 1,000-acre St. Joseph Plantation and Evergreen with its 37 historic buildings, including 22 slave cabins. Either upriver or down, the plantations along Great River Road offers the traveler an unforgettable opportunity to take a step back in time and touch the past at these and other historic locations.