Most Louisiana plantation tours focus on the day-to-day lives of the land owners, leaving out much information about the slaves, Germans and Native Americans that made up the area’s culture. But Destrehan Plantation and the River Road Historical Society want to shine a light on these groups through a new tour entitled "Unheard Voices of the German Coast."
"We know when our visitors come, they want more information," said Nancy Robert, executive director of Destrehan Plantation. "This is part of history that is seldom heard and we definitely want to talk about not so much the plantation owners, but the others that were on our site during that time – all of our nationalities that made up the German Coast at that time."
Included in the new tour will be historical perspectives on free Creoles of color, enslaved Africans, German-Acadians and Native Americans. Themes will include the struggles of the early Germans, the Colonial Era on the coast, African and Cajun Cuisine, the grief and pain of enslavement, music and entertainment, religion among the enslaved, paths to freedom, Plaçage, Maroon slaves, Creole labor systems and the 1811 Slave Revolt.
"Instead of hearing about life as it was for the planter’s family, the tour talks about the unheard voices that went into making our local history and culture," Robert said.
The tour was written by plantation staff members Dianne Honoré and Ronnie Schumann.
Unlike the regular tour of the plantation, the new tour will rely on more subtle visual clues, audience participation and a great focus on the emotions experienced by historical residents who were forced to live in the shadow of the planter class.
The tour will begin next week in honor of Black History Month. Starting on Feb. 23, the tour will be available each Thursday and Saturday, or any day for groups of 10 or more with a reservation. The tour will be 90 minutes long. The regular tour of the plantation will continue to be available every day of the week between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., except on major holidays.
Destrehan Plantation is located at 9236 River Road in Destrehan. For more information on the plantation, visit www.destrehanplantation.org.