Cane River Creole National Historical Park at Oakland Plantation – Bermuda, Louisiana

Both Oakland and Magnolia Plantations owe their physical integrity to the families that kept them intact for seven and eight generations.

Descendents of the plantations’ owners and descendents of the plantations’ laborers remained on the land through periods of prosperity and depression, war and peace, and dramatic changes in governments, agriculture, technology, and labor systems.

The French Prud’homme family began farming the land at Oakland in 1785. Magnolia traces its mid-18th century origin to the French LeComte family, and also to the German Hertzog family.

The skills and strengths of enslaved African-Americans are evident in the buildings they constructed on both Oakland and Magnolia Plantations. Descendents of many enslaved residents remained on the land as tenant farmers and sharecroppers. The vibrant African American communities in the Natchitoches region today trace two hundred years of cultural history to this fertile land surrounding the Cane River.

Cane River Creole National Historical Park consists of Oakland Plantation and the outbuildings of Magnolia Plantation. Grounds of both sites are open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. daily, and self-guiding maps are available on-site.

The French Prud’homme family began farming the land at Oakland in 1785. Magnolia traces its mid-18th century origin to the French LeComte family, and also to the German Hertzog family.

The skills and strengths of enslaved African-Americans are evident in the buildings they constructed on both Oakland and Magnolia Plantations. Descendents of many enslaved residents remained on the land as tenant farmers and sharecroppers. The vibrant African American communities in the Natchitoches region today trace two hundred years of cultural history to this fertile land surrounding the Cane River.

A guided tour of Oakland Plantation is conducted by a ranger every day at 1:00 p.m. Formal tours of the Magnolia grounds are given only on weekends, at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  The main house at Magnolia is privately owned and not open to the public.

There are Slave/Tenant Quarters and ruins at Oakland Plantation which are the remains of a larger community, which extended for a quarter-mile southward along the river.  Following the Civil War, sharecropper and tenant farmer families continues to live in these quarters as late at the 1970′s.

The plantation store opened on Oakland Plantation after the Civil War, sharecroppers and tenant farmers continued buying supplies for family and farming at the Prud’homme Store until 1983. For 50 years a Prud’homme family member served as postmaster at the Bermuda Post Office located inside.

Because of the integrity of the resources at Oakland and Magnolia Plantations, both sites have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. In 1994, Cane River Creole National Historical Park was established, insuring that the resources will remain protected and accessible to the public.

Cane River Creole National Historical Park consists of Oakland Plantation and the outbuildings of Magnolia Plantation. Grounds of both sites are open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. daily, and self-guiding maps are available on-site. A guided tour of the Oakland Plantation main house is conducted by a ranger every day at 1:00 p.m. Guided tours of the Magnolia grounds are given only on weekends, at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Depending on staff levels, more tours may be available. Please call us at 318 356-8441 to check on tour times for any given day.

The Cane River runs alongside the plantations.  This river has been a source for transportation, sustenance, and entertainment for many generations.

While you are at the plantations you will be amazed at the massive pecan and live oak trees and the lacey lengths of green-gray Spanish moss that decorate them.  A stroll along the riverbanks will be something that will stay in your memory for years to come.  The beauty, history and peaceful flow of the water make for a beautiful place to think about the past and the future.

You are entering Creole land.  Just so you know, the term Creole means many things to many people. Creole, used in its original sense, is derived from the Portugese crioulo, meaning “native to this place”.

In 18th century Louisiana, Creole referred to locally born Spaniards, French and enslaved people. After the Louisiana Purchase, Creole was used to differentiate between those native to Louisiana and those who were Anglo-American. Consequently, French-speaking white residents of Louisiana were also considered Creole. Today, the term Creole commonly refers to a mixture of predominantly French, African and Spanish traits with traces of American Indian culture. It is the intense pride in and attachment to one’s ancestry and culture that is key to understanding what it means to be Creole. This manifests itself in architecture, religious practices, foodways, and language.

Location: Cane River Creole National Historical Park
400 Rapides Drive
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Phone: Oakland Plantation
(318) 356-8441

Admission: FREE

Speak Your Mind

*