An appearance in Interview with the Vampire, not to mention its proximity to New Orleans (perhaps 30 min. away), has made Destrehan Manor a popular plantation jaunt. It's also the oldest intact plantation home in the lower Mississippi Valley open to the public. It was built in 1787 by a free person of color for a wealthy Frenchman and was modified between 1830 and 1840 from its already dated French colonial style to Greek Revival. Its warmly colored, graceful lines should please nearly everyone's aesthetic sensibilities. In addition to playing the role of Louis's ancestral home in Interview, it also supplied some later interiors.
The tour, led by costumed guides who stay in character (it's better than it sounds), is worth taking. The house stayed in the original family's possession until 1910 (some female descendants are still on the board that oversees the place), so a fair amount is documented, and some of the furnishings (including a table used by Lafayette) are original. One of the rooms has been left deliberately unrenovated, and its messy deconstructed state shows you the humble rawness under the usual public grandeur.
Also of important note, this is perhaps the only plantation that is truly accessible for those with disabilities; there is an elevator to take wheelchairs up to the second floor (where the true living spaces are located).
- © Frommer's 2013
Ask a local about Destrehan Plantation
Ask Great River Road Locals about Destrehan Plantation
- Highly Recommended 2010