Destrehan, the oldest plantation home remaining in the lower Mississippi Valley, was originally established for indigo production. Antoine Robert Robin DeLongy commissioned the original French Colonial–style mansion in 1787, which uses bousillage (mud- and straw-filled) walls supported by cypress timbers. The house features a distinctive African-style hipped roof, no doubt the inspiration of the plantation’s builder, who was partially of African descent. Viewing the historical-documents room that contains original Louisiana Purchase–era artifacts is a highlight.
When DeLongy’s daughter, Celeste, married Jean Noel Destrehan, they added the present Greek-revival facade. Destrehan was part of a tribunal, held on the property, that tried and convicted slaves involved in a revolt just upriver in 1811. Costumed docents lead tours through the graceful home where the pirate Jean Lafitte was once a guest. Possible demonstrations include making bousillage, cooking in a hearth and learning African American herbal remedies.