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Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana

The Nottouea Plantation is a Greek and Italian style mansion built by John Randolph in 1859. It is the largest surviving plantation house in the southern United States with an area of 4900 m².

Nottouay Plantation in Louisiana - home photo - American ButlerNottoway history

John Randolph was born in Virginia in 1813. At 7, he moved with his family to Mississippi when his father, Peter Randolph, Jr, was appointed federal judge. Randolph dedicated most of the strength of the cotton plantation. Believing that sugar production would be more profitable, he bought 6.7 km² of plantation and planted sugar cane there.

Within ten years, he increased his holdings to 28 km² and bought 176 slaves, making Randolph one of the largest slave owners in the south. In 1855, he acquired an additional 1.6 km² of highlands and 2.5 km² of swamps and the Mississippi River, where he sought to build a more prestigious house - the same Nottoway, named after the eponymous Virginia district.

Randolph equipped Henry Howard, who is considered one of the best architects of the 19th century in New Orleans. Many of the buildings, churches and houses he designed can still be found in the city.

Cypress logs for the house were cut and dried for six years and then cut into boards. The most remarkable feature of wood is not strength, but resistance to termites. The bricks were made slaves, and 40 carpenters, bricklayers and plumbers were hired by Howard himself, who lived in a tent at the construction site.

Construction of the house was completed in 1859, along with many other buildings: a school, a greenhouse, stables, barns and houses for slaves.

Nottoway Plantation, Baton Rouge, LA, USA - American Butler

How it all ended

Soon the civil war began. Randolph supported the military financially and sent his sons to fight for the Confederation. The war was getting closer to the plantation, the owner and his family fled to Texas. In the end, it was occupied by the Northerners, who looted property, and only the vineyard remained intact. After the abolition of slavery, John realized that the sugar business was not so profitable after the war, and by 1875 the plantation was reduced to 3 km². John Randolph died in 1883, leaving the plantation to his wife, who after 6 years sold it.

New owners tried to manage the estate as a sugar plantation, but to no avail. They sold most of the land, keeping the house and surrounding property.

Much later, businessman and philanthropist Paul Ramsay turned the plantation into an inn. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and became a popular tourist attraction in Louisiana.

Description of the sights

The main wish of the owner during the construction of the house is that everything is done conscientiously and no one would save on materials. As a result, a three-story wooden frame house came out, including a one-story brick base with stucco on a concrete foundation.

The main five-beam structure with a protruding portico emphasizes the height of the house. The galleries are decorated with custom-made ornamental iron railings covered with wooden handrails. Ladders were built on the left (for ladies) and on the right (for gentlemen). Separate staircases were such that men did not see women's ankles under their skirts when they were rising.

Photo of a veranda on Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana - American ButlerThe mansion has 64 rooms with 165 doors and 200 windows. The house enjoyed the novelties of the 19th century: a bathroom, flush toilets, hot and cold water supply, gas lighting throughout the house and a sophisticated system to call servants.

The basement of the first floor was transformed into a restaurant and a small museum about the Randolph family and the history of the plantation. Initially, the space occupied by the laundry, dairy, wine cellar and premises for servants.

The landscape plan originally included:

  • 120 fruit and citrus trees;
  • 12 magnolias, poplars and oaks;
  • 75 rose bushes;
  • 150 strawberry plants and many flower and vegetable gardens.

Today the house is located behind the river dam, and the territory includes a small garden and a fountain in the courtyard in front of the southern wing of the bedroom. Around the house are modern ancillary buildings and offices.

The owners expanded the property in 2008 by building a barn, a banquet hall and nine cottages modeled on the original slave houses. To the north of the house are reconstructed stables, now converted to a ballroom, and a small cemetery, where in 2003 family members were reburied.

Additional information
Address 31025 LA-1, White Castle, LA 70788
Phone +1-225-545-2730
Operation mode Tours daily: 9:00 - 16:00
Prices
  • Adults: $20
  • Children 6-12 years old: $6
  • Children under 5: free
Web site Visit website
Visit the Nottingay Plantation with a guided tour, and American Butler, a travel agency in the USA, will help you with this.
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