Donation clears way for bed and breakfast at Destrehan Plantation
Destrehan Plantation plans to construct four small cabins and two large double Creole cottages to serve as a bed and breakfast. The expansion also includes an interactive education center with hands-on activities for students.
Executive Director Nancy Robert, who will announced the donation on Thursday, said the bed and breakfast will be a source of revenue that will allow the plantation to be more independent.
“It has always been a wish of mine because as a non-profit the income that we get from tours alone is not going to support all of our activities,” she said.
The project will include the construction of four small cabins and two large double Creole cottages, one of which will be a historic building that was donated to the plantation from the Nine Mile Point area in Jefferson Parish.
“The house deconstructed from Nine Mile Point will be a double bed and breakfast cottage and have a dual purpose as a bridal staging area for the many brides who have their weddings at Destrehan Plantation,” Robert said. “The first cottage will be followed by another double cottage and four single cottages.”
The rental units will be located adjacent to the plantation’s mule barn where weddings and other events are held nearly every weekend.
“We have so many weddings and we know that people want to stay here and we know that it will be rented to the people attending the weddings,” Robert said.
Construction on the project should begin early next year.
Another building dating back to the mid 1800s was donated to the plantation and will be turned into a new administrative center. The center will be reconstructed on the downriver area of the plantation house at the back of the Oak grove.A new maintenance facility is also planned for the site and the current maintenance facility will be turned into an interactive education center with hands-on activities for the many school groups that visit throughout the year.
The plantation will also begin using a new logo of an image of the plantation’s namesake, Jean Noel Destréhan, who once operated a large sugar cane operation on the site.
Robert added that new signage, parking areas, walkways and lighting are also part of the project.
One part of the expansion project has already been completed. Destrehan Plantation worked with the St. Charles Parish Economic Development & Tourism Department to install a St. Charles Parish welcome center into the gift shop.
“The welcome center is manned by RSVP volunteers on a daily basis. Visitors who stop into the center have access to brochures from all areas of the state,” Robert said. “ A listing of St. Charles Parish restaurants is also available for those visitors who wish information on food available for purchase around the parish.”
The expansion project has already received funding from Shell Motiva, Freeport McMoRan, British Petroleum and the AZBY Fund, a New Orleans-based foundation established by a descendent of the Destrehan family.
Robert said the most recent donation of $1.1 million from the AZBY Fund, will ensure that the plantation is able to expand and contribute to the economic development of St. Charles Parish.
“It will also assist Destrehan Plantation to continue to be a leader in historic preservation and educational programming in Louisiana," she said.
As part of the master plan, Dr. Ivan Miestchovich Jr., of the University of New Orleans Institute for Economic Development and Real Estate, worked up figures on the plantation’s economic impact to the area. Miestchovich found Destrehan Plantation currently generates $1.3 million in total economic impact and supports 16 jobs, but after the proposed expansion the total economic impact is expected to grow to $2.8 million and support 30 jobs.
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