The Man, The House, The Legacy
An exciting new book on Destrehan Plantation and its namesake is scheduled for release this month at the Destrehan Plantation Fall Festival held on the manor’s grounds on Nov. 8 and 9.
Illustrated with stunning photographs by Richard Sexton, the 144-page book “Destrehan: The Man, The House, The Legacy” is the portrait of a place of unusual beauty that is forever woven into the fabric of St. Charles Parish’s history.
“The incomparable setting emerges page by page, together with the chronicle of the family that brought prominence to Destrehan plantation,” said Nancy Robert, the manor’s executive director.
“Other books have been written about plantations with Destrehan named in the text, but this is the first fine arts book depicting images of the plantation along with the history of the Destrehan family.”
For over two centuries, the name Destrehan has been intricately linked with the history of our parish. The book depicts a story that takes place during Louisiana’s history from a French colony to an American state.
The man for which the plantation is named for, Jean Baptiste Destrehan, arrived from France in the early 1700s and achieved prominence as treasurer of the Louisiana colony.
In the next generation, Destrehan’s youngest son, Jean Noel, took up residence in the beautiful house that parish residents know today as Destrehan Plantation.
According to the building contract, the house was built by Charles, a free man of color, for Jean Noel’s father-in-law, Robert Antoine Robin de Logny in 1787.
In 1793, Jean Noel Destrehan and his wife, Marie Celeste Robin de Logny, moved into the house after the death of Marie Celeste’s father. And there began the family’s long association with Destrehan Plantation.
By the time of the Louisiana Purchase, Destrehan was one of the largest sugar-producing plantations on the German coast, as the area was known, and Jean Noel has become a leading citizen of the region.
The plantation house that Charles built, distinguished by a double-pitched, hipped roof and French Creole details, was remodeled in the 1840s in the popular Greek Revival style.
The book was published by the River Road Historical Society and received major funding from the Azby Foundation, a New Orleans Family Foundation that includes descendants of the Destrehan Family.
The book also contains essays by plantation preservation architect for Destrehan, Eugene D. Cizek, and John H. Lawrence, the director of museum programs at The Historical New Orleans Collection.
Lawrence has written and lectured widely about aspects of contemporary and historic photography. Cizek holds the Richard Koch Chair of Architecture and Latin American Studies at the Tulane University School of Architecture in New Orleans where he is also the director of preservation studies.
“Destrehan is one of the few examples of colonial Louisiana house that has changed substantially and yet remained a functioning house for the past empires of indigo and sugar,” said Robert.
“And finally after neglect and vandalism, the historic property, now restored, is in the capable hands of the River Road Historical Society.”
To purchase the book “Destrehan: The Man, The House, The Legacy” visit the Destrehan Plantation Fall Festival Nov. 8 and 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 985-764-9315. The book cost is $39.95.