• Ellen Byron

An Artist's Plantation Tour

As I was working on book two in my Cajun Country Mystery series (book one being my first novel, Plantation Shudders), I came across more wonderful renderings of Louisiana's historic plantations by multi-talented artist, Gaynell Bourgeois Moore. And I thought, why not turn them into a mini-tour? So buckle up your virtual seat belt, because we're going on a blog road trip!


We'll begin at Houmas House, where Gaynell once worked as a tour guide.

Since I've posted her portrait of Houmas House before, I've led with her lovely painting of the plantation's garconniere. If you want to learn more about this particular plantation, check out my interview with owner Kevin Kelly, posted on July 10, 2015.

Now let's head up the road to my beloved Ashland-Belle Helene...

Descendants spent decades fighting over the fate of this iconic plantation. They finally sold it to the Shell Oil Company, which has promised to restore and maintain the home. It's not open to the public, but there's a wonderful view of it from the road. I had its image in mind when I created Crozat Plantation B&B in Plantation Shudders. Read more about this plantation in my March 18th and August 7th blog posts.


Laura Plantation is not only the oldest in St. James Parish, it's also known as Waguespack Plantation - as in my friend, Charlotte Waguespack! Her family goes back generations in Louisiana. I remember her gracious and dapper dad, Felix Poche Waguespack. Poche and Waguespack are two names you'll often hear in Plantation Country.

While Laura Plantation still stands and is open for tours, other homes have not been so fortunate. Gaynell paid homage to Belle Grove, a spectacular home that was abandoned in 1927 and burned to the ground in 1952. A big architectural loss...

TIME FOR A SIDETRIP! Let's visit Madewood Plantation, owned by the Marshall family since 1964 and operated as a luxurious B&B. My husband Jer and I spent one glorious night there. Cocktails and appetizers, plus an believeable Creole dinner and breakfast. Treat yourself to a visit there someday.

NOW, LET'S HEAD NORTH TO ST. FRANCISVILLE, where there are a variety of fascinating plantation homes...

First up is the iconic Rosedown, with its world-famous gardens...

Next up is The Cottage Plantation, now operating as a B&B...

And finally, we visit The Myrtles, which dates back to 1796, and proudly bills itself as "One of America's Most Haunted Homes." Soooo Louisiana!

There are many other fascinating plantations in the state. Evergreeen, with its large collection of out-buildings, can claim status as the most complete plantation in the state. Then there's Whitney, which has been restored as a tribute to the slave experience.Today I only shared the paintings that I have in my possession. I invite you to explore the others on your own - or with my help. I'm available for any plantation advice that I'm able to offer.

Hope you've enjoyed our virtual tour! If you'd like a chance to win one of Gaynell's lovely prints, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. I'll pick the winning number through random.org on Friday, August 21.


© proudly created by Catherine Respess of Red Mare Enterprises

Photography by Jamie Johnson

Thank you to USB Memory Direct
for supplying me with my awesome new custom usb flash drives.

Check out more about them on my blog post.