Laura Plantation: Louisiana's Creole Heritage Site
One of the most intriguing tours along Louisiana’s River Road is offered by Laura: A Creole Plantation and focuses on the white and black Creole families that lived at this place in the nineteenth century. Built in 1805, this French-Creole style plantation displays some of the exceptional work of the West African slaves that once lived there. In addition to the “big house,” Laura has preserved several of the original slave cabins, once so common, but now incredibly rare. These serve as portals for understanding life in the “quarters.”
Laura is also where American scholar Alcée Fortier, the famed Louisiana historian and folklorist, first recorded the West African stories of Compair Lapin, known today as the Br’er Rabbit stories. First recorded in the 1870s, these stories are virtually indistinguishable from those told to this day in West Africa. The present owners have made good use of the historical record to recreate the sites, sounds, and smells of this lost rural world.
The Laura farmstead is surrounded by fields of sugarcane and boasts eleven historic buildings on the National Register, including the slave cabins where the Compair Lapin stories were recorded.
You can visit the Laura Plantation Store for gifts, books, and souvenirs on Louisiana and Creole culture, slavery, music, arts and crafts, and cuisine—including Laura’s Memories and the original Br’er Rabbit folktales.
Listen to Voices from the Trail with storyteller Louis Gossett, Jr.