San Francisco Plantation-Quintessential Steamboat Gothic

Louisiana Plantation Tours

Heritage Tours began in 1992 specializing in touring the fantastic antebellum plantation homes of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, the area stretching from Natchez to south of New Orleans. In this field we are proud to claim that we are well known specialists, and over the years we have introduced thousands of people to the amazing history and architecture of these priceless dwellings.

Our tours of the plantations are designed to fit the level of familiarity of the group with the subject. For first time visitors to the plantations, we will design an itinerary to introduce them to the three major styles of architecture of the 1780-1865 era. For those returning to the area, we will create a plan that will show them in more detail the designs of the homes and the lifestyles of the planters who built them and the slaves and workers who made the plantations so successful.

In all cases, we will customize your plantation tours to the number of homes and depth of information about their architecture and background to suit your group.

Plantation Tours may be combined with sightseeing in New Orleans.

Due to its concentration of homes, the St. Francisville area north of Baton Rouge is a plantation tour in itself, but it too may be combined with visits to homes between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, or with New Orleans itself.

And don’t forget that upriver, Natchez, Mississippi, offers a collection unequaled in the South of gorgeous homes of the pre-Civil War period in a town setting. A visit to Natchez is time travel to the age of Scarlett O’Hara.

The Founder and Managing Director of Heritage Tours, Byron Cain, has lectured since 1985 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on the subject of plantation history and lore, and has spoken on the subject to numerous other groups and colleges. This expertise will be shared with you on our Heritage Tours Plantation Adventures.

These are not just house tours! We will regale your travelers with the absorbing, memorable and spellbinding tales of the people who built and inhabited these impressive mansions. Often times they were as eccentric and strange as one can imagine, leaving us with stories of unusual and sometimes bizarre behavior.

Following are samples of one day tours that cover the three styles of antebellum plantation architecture, raised cottage, Greek revival, and Romantic reactions.

One Day Plantation Tour Sampler

This is a one day plantation excursion outside of New Orleans on the Great Mississippi River Road.

We will depart the city at 8:30 a.m. to visit three striking plantations, each very different from the other, each representing one of the three styles of plantation architecture in the South prior to The War (the Civil War of course).

First will be Laura Plantation, a most colorful and insightful place to learn how the Creole class lived on the plantations. This tour is one of the more unusual and eye-opening along the River Road.

Then we travel further upriver to legendary Oak Alley, with its 300 yard long alley way of gigantic live oaks, one of the most dazzling sites in the world. We will have a tour of the grand mansion home (resplendent with period furniture) and lunch (included).

In the afternoon we will tour San Francisco Plantation, the best example of the last period of early Victorian design prior to the War. You are back in the city in time to enjoy dinner at one of New Orleans’ world class restaurants.


Elegant Greek Revival Style of the 1830's

Multi-Day Plantation Tour Sampler

For those wanting more plantations to see in a one-day format, including dinner, we offer:

We will depart New Orleans at 8:30 am to visit five striking plantations, each very different from the other. In addition to the three listed above, we will tour

St. Joseph - which has opened up for view for the first time in its almost 200 year history. We will be escorted around by members of the owning family. St. Joseph is the birthplace of renowned 19th century architect Henry Hobson Richardson, popularizer of the Romanesque Revival of design.

The Hermitage where late afternoon will find us guests of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Judice at their private home which is in the midst of renovation. This hard hat tour will show you what all is involved in the maintenance and restoration of these grand plantation mansions.

Dinner will likely be a memorable experience of a lifetime, at the recently redone Houmas House Plantation. This icon of the River Road has been renovated to its original color scheme, which was discovered after many decades of being lost. The grounds and furnishings have been upgraded to a new level of grandeur. We will dine at the peak of antebellum elegance at Houmas House in a private setting with a mouthwatering gourmet meal from Chef Jeremy Langlois.

And of course, for those wanting to visit even more of these grand palaces, the tour of St. Francisville may be added on, or additional mansions of the Plantation Parade between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, in a multi-day itinerary.

Please Note

Our Town and Country tour offers a combination of plantation lore in both New Orleans and the River Road, for an understanding of the planters’ lives in urban and rural settings.