I’ve never had a strong desire to do a plantation tour because I didn’t want to deal with the one-sided presentation of history–most of the tour being about the “big house” and the European descended people who inhabited it– and the cursory mention of the enslaved people and how some times their description was even changed to “servants.”
However, there is a plantation tour to the Destrehan plantation that is very different and refreshing. A tour of this plantation hosted by a descendent of the owners and who is part of the long history of the Creole culture of Louisiana, was a welcome addition to the understanding of the interconnectedness of the various ethnicities in Louisiana…those of European, African and Native American descent that created the rich and interesting Creole culture. The tour is conducted by Ms. Dianne “Gumbo Marie” Honore.
What’s really interesting is that Gumbo Marie is a family historian and has conducted extensive research on her family which is tied to the Destrehan plantation. She dresses in period costume, as do the other tour guides, and gives a balanced description of the grounds and the people who lived there interspersing true stories of the people and her ancestors. A really fun and engaging experience is when she takes participants into one of the houses on the grounds and talks about the contribution of African cultures to the food, music and the voo doo religion of Louisiana with tour-goers participating in making music and gris gris bags.
The 2 ½ hour tour was over before we knew it because it was so interesting. More information about Gumbo Marie’s Destrehan plantation tour can be found on her Facebook page, “Unheard Voices of Louisiana” and http://unheardvoicesoflouisiana.com. This tour is well worth it.