Where will the road take YOU?

Destination Diaries

 Great River Road

By Angela Ash

oak trees

New Orleans is by far one of the most beautiful and unusual cities in the world.  It is nearly impossible to bid farewell to, without brushing away a tear or two.  A weekend is not enough time to experience New Orleans.  A week is not enough.  A month is even pushing things.  However, remember that while New Orleans is a nearly mythical destination, it is just the open door to all that Louisiana has to offer. 

Just minutes from the crescent city, parallel to the mighty Mississippi River, is another world... a place of history and knowledge, mighty plantations, mansions, and heartbreaking slave cabins.  Tear yourself away from New Orleans for a day or two.  Don't worry... you won't be far away.

oak way

Traveling on down the Great River Road, it seems like you can “feel” Oak Alley Plantation before you even see it. It is just one of those places that, despite any information or other facts to invoke such a reaction, you “know” will be fantastic.

And Oak Alley does not disappoint. The first thing you will lay eyes on are the magnificent oak trees that line the path up to the front porch of the plantation. They literally take your breath away. 

If you think the grounds and gardens are amazing, wait until your tour guide, dressed completely in period costume, shows you the inside of the plantation, a beautiful 1800’s mansion.

Make sure you set aside plenty of time to visit Oak Alley Plantation, as that this is not a visit you will want to rush. The Oak Alley Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, and once you dine here, you will not be able to get near Oak Alley without stopping in for a bite!

oak chicken

The daily specials are tantalizing, as well as creatively inspired.  It definitely calls for a repeat visit, just to see what new items will tempt even the most discernible diner.

oak sausage

The red beans and rice with smoked sausage is absolutely delicious, but has stiff competition from the po boys.  As I eyed the dishes delivered to other tables, and smelled the delicious aromas from the kitchen, I began to wonder if I could possibly fit in dessert. 

I somehow found the strength.

oak dessert

I am still having dreams about the chocolate pecan pie.  However, the praline cheesecake also deserves an honorable mention.  I swear, I would hop in my car and drive 500 miles just to eat dessert. 

But that would be a shame, right?  I dare not go so far and not have a steaming bowl of gumbo!  And yum... what about the catfish?  I can see this may turn into an obsession. 

You may view the breakfast menu and the lunch menu, and visit online for more information.

Oak Alley Plantation is such a magical place!  Many movies and television series were even filmed here. For you Days Of Our Lives fans, this is the location where Bo and Hope were married in 1984. And for the Bette Davis followers, this is the film site for “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”. And yes, you are right. This is the home of the melancholy vampire, Louis, in “Interview With A Vampire”. Even Ghost Hunters filmed a segment here, sending in their paranormal investigators to see if the place really is haunted!  But come see for yourself!

Oak Alley Plantation

3645 Highway 18

Vacherie, Louisiana




laura house 


Just a few more minutes away is lovely Laura Plantation. This place is a wonderful history lesson in Creole life. Surrounded by fields of sugar cane, you will experience a guided tour into the 200 year old sugar plantation homestead. Through live accounts and props, you will experience what it would have been like to actually live and work at the Laura Plantation.

However, I believe that the crown jewel is a guided tour inside one of the slave cabins, built in 1840, where the ancient tales of Compair Lapin, better known in English and through Disney’s “Song of the South”, as "Br'er Rabbit” (think Splash Mountain), were invented. On the grounds are 12 buildings on the National Register, including animal barns, the overseers' cottages, and other buildings of significant historical interest.

laura slave

With a wonderful gift shop to explore, do not leave without your copy of Memories Of The Old Plantation Home.  Written by the plantation's namesake, Laura Locoul Gore, this adds so much insight!  I literally could not put it down!

laura herbs

Laura Plantation

2247 Highway 18
Vacherie, Louisiana



The Great River Road area also offers several other plantations to explore.

St. Joseph Plantation

Nottoway Plantation

Destrehan Plantation

Houmas House Plantation