St. Joseph Plantation - A Louisiana Sugar Cane Family
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In more ways than one, the past is present at St. Joseph Plantation. Not only is the property still a working sugarcane plantation, but it’s owned and operated by the descendants of Joseph Waguespack, who purchased the home in 1877.
Originally built in 1830, this 12,000-square-foot antebellum plantation was constructed in a Raised Creole style that predates some of the nearby plantations which are Greek Revival style. St. Joseph Plantation was once owned by the daughter of a wealthy businessman named Gabriel Valcour Aime. Reputedly the richest man in the South – and known as the “Louis XIV of Louisiana” -- Aime gave his daughter the funds to purchase the 1,000 acre St. Joseph Plantation as a wedding gift.
Decades later, the property was sold in a sheriff’s sale following the Civil War. Waguespack’s purchase of the plantation in 1877 began a timeline of family ownership that has continued unbroken to this day. His descendants have traveled from all over the country to lovingly restore St. Joseph Plantation and its outbuildings. The extended families have kept both St. Joseph and its sister plantation, Felicité, thriving since the 19th century. Today, most of the guides giving St. Joseph Plantation tours are family members, who are proud to share this grand and priceless piece of their heritage. Here, visitors can explore the antique furniture-filled rooms of the main house, the original slave cabins and other dependencies on the grounds. There are interesting exhibits that include tokens used to pay freed slaves who labored here after the Civil War, old farm equipment, and a short film on the sugar cane process. And not surprisingly, with its deep history and idyllic beauty, St. Joseph Plantation has become a popular backdrop for weddings and other special events.
Perhaps the property’s most famous son is H.H. Richardson. Born at what is now St. Joseph Plantation in 1838, he went on to become one of America’s most important architects of the 19th century. Find out more about him, and the many other interesting people who called St. Joseph Plantation “Home” on your next visit here, to New Orleans Plantation Country.
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