Louisiana plantation culture first came into being along the state's
rivers and bayous in the 18th century. Planters initially used the
fertile soil for indigo and tobacco, but these crops were soon replaced
by cotton in north Louisiana and sugar cane in the more tropical
southern part of the state.
and cotton made the great mansions possible, but the designs of
the homes came from as many directions as did the planters themselves.
The first house type was the Creole Raised Cottage, whose core design
came from the West Indies. Its great umbrella-like hipped roof came
from Canada and its wide galleries and turned colonettes (slender
wooden columns) were developed in Louisiana.
earliest furnishings of the homes were made of oak or cypress by
slaves on the plantations. Later, in prosperous years, European
craftsmen came to Louisiana. European furnishings and art were imported
through New Orleans and other ports. The plantation mansions of
Louisiana still bear signs of efforts to make life in the new world
as genteel and pleasant as possible. Many are surrounded by extensive
formal gardens, and the approaches to some of the homes are lined
with avenues of live oaks that are now huge in their old age.