The Whitney Plantation Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places since 1992.
The site includes original historic buildings and structures that were rebuilt to their original appearance.
The Big House
Raised French Creole style cottage was built of masonry and cypress in the late 18th century. It is one of the earliest and best preserved Creole plantation houses standing on River Road. Sometime prior to 1815, the Big House was expanded to its present configuration with seven rooms on each level, plus a full-length gallery across the front and an open loggia facing the rear. This is also one of the very few historic American houses known to have received decorative wall paintings on both its exterior and interior.
Pigeonniers are roosting houses for pigeons. They were constructed prior to 1820. The bottom was used for storage while the upper story was entered through a second story door via a ladder. One of the pigeonniers was destroyed by a hurricane in 1965 and was rebuilt in 2005.
The Oldest Kitchen in Louisiana
Like the Big House, the kitchen was built in the late 18th century and stands as the oldest detached kitchen in Louisiana. Pigeon holes were cut in either end of the gabled roof so that this loft could be used as an additional pigeonnier.
The French Creole Barn
This is the last surviving French Creole Barn in the United States. It is contemporary with the construction of the main house. French Creole barns are characterized by tall hip roofs supported by Norman roof trusses.
Robin’s Blacksmith Shop
Named after Robin, a blacksmith and a domestic on the plantation who served three generations of the Haydel family, the original building was destroyed by a hurricane in 1965 and rebuilt in 2005. The blacksmith shop is fully equipped with tools of the epoch.
The Slave Quarters
Before the Civil War, the Whitney Plantation counted 22 slave cabins on site. Most were were torn down in the 1970’s. Today seven cabins are standing on the site, two of them original, and the others were acquired from the Myrtle Grove Plantation in Terrebonne Parish.
The Antioch Baptist church
This church was donated to the Whitney Plantation by the Antioch congregation in Paulina, Louisiana. In 2001, it was moved to its current location where it was then restored.
The Wall of Honor
This memorial is dedicated all the people who were enslaved on Whitney Plantation. The names and the information related to them (origin, age, skills) were retrieved from original archives and engraved on granite slabs.
Allées Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
This memorial is dedicated to all the slaves who lived in Louisiana. It is named after Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, author of Africans in Colonial Louisiana (1992) and Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas (2005), in recognition of her contribution to the history of slavery in the Americas. All 107,000 names recorded by the author in the Louisiana Slave Database are engraved on 216 granites slabs and mounted on 18 walls, along with slavery related pictures and quotes.
The Field of Angels
The Field of Angels is a section of the slave memorial dedicated to 2,200 Louisiana slave children who died in St. John the Baptist Parish. These names are documented in the Sacramental Records of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Their names are engraved on granite slabs along with quotes describing their everyday life. A bronze sculpture depicting a black angel carrying a baby to Heaven is installed in the middle of the field. Rod Moorhead of Mississippi is the sculptor.
The Children of Whitney
Perhaps the most striking encounters on the plantation are the 40 statues of slave children by Ohio based artist Woodrow Nash. Their strikingly real appearance serves as a reminder to the visitor that it wasn't just adults that were effected by slavery.
Movable Objects of Interest
In addition to the historic buildings and artwork, the Whitney collection includes agriculture tools and house furniture of the epoch, in addition to the largest set of sugar kettles in the state of Louisiana. Most of the furniture in the Big House was purchased at auction houses in New Orleans and several pieces are featured in the Historic New Orleans Collection’s publication Furnishing Louisiana.
Ashley Rogers - Director of Operations
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Dr. Ibrahima Seck - Director of Research
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Whitney Plantation In The News
Wall Street Journal:
Whitney Plantation Museum to Focus on Slavery
Why America Needs A Slavery Museum
New York Times
Building the First Slavery Museum in America
New Museum Depicts 'The Life Of A Slave From Cradle To The Tomb'
The Australian: Life
Lest we forget: Louisiana's slavery museum
BBC World Service: Outlook
Audio interview with John Cummings
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