During my recent trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, I wanted to get off Bourbon street and get a feel for the entire area. Ive always been one to explore the history of place, especially the African diaspora and its effect on the culture. In searching for things to do and people to see, I happened on the idea of a plantation tour. I let the thought roll around a bit because I wasn’t sure if it was something I really wanted to do. After a little research, I settled on a Whitney Plantation tour. The Whitney Plantation is more than your average plantation tour. It is the first slavery museum, and you learn about the slaves that were on that plantation as well as how life was like for slaves in general. During my search I saw a negative review saying that the tour didn’t spend much time on the plantation and mostly talked about the slaves. I’m assuming she meant the “Big House” didnt get as much attention, but either way her negative review sealed the deal for my making an appearance. To be honest, i’m not trying to spend all my time learning how well “massa” was living it up on the backs of my ancestors. I do enjoy history though, so a true glimpse into life at that time for others is still worthwhile…. since im in the neighborhood.
The Whitney Plantation is located about 45 minutes outside on New Orleans in Wallace, Louisiana. Upon entry to the museum, they personalize your experience by giving you a lanyard with a name and a picture of a sculpture of a child on the front. The back contains their name, age, and a snippet of their interview about life as a slave. The interviews were a result of an active African American unit in the Federal Writers Project from the 1930s. It was one of the agencies President Roosevelt put together to employ those out of work due to The Great Depression. The majority of the people interviewed were children and teenagers during their time as slaves as it was several decades post emancipation. In addition to the lanyard, the sculptures entitled The Children of Whitney by Woodrow Nash, can be seen throughout the plantation.
What are your thoughts on plantation tours? Would you visit a slavery museum?
Thank you for sharing this post, Bri. I didn’t know about the Whitney Plantation when I went to New Orleans the first time, but I hop I’ll get back there soon.
Im glad I could give you some new ideas!
I went on the Whitney Plantation tour in 2018 and I enjoyed it very much. I did like the fact that the tour was more about the life of the slaves vs how the owners lived. It was informative.
My husband and I just came back from New Orleans and we did the Whitney and Oak Alley plantation tours. We both agreed we loved the Whitney tour much more. The Whitney tour did cover a lot about the slaves and not too much on the big house. Whitney tour truly gave the slaves the love and respect they deserve. We felt the other tour was really about the master and his life. We thought it was dry and did not do much for educating people on the true meaning behind these homes. Great write up you did! And I agree I do not want to hear about the “massa”.
Thanks, Im glad you enjoyed it!