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These "Gone With the Wind" era houses lined River Road on the eve of the Civil War, but many more have been lost over the years than have survived.

Evergreen Plantation House
Photograph from the National Historic Landmarks collection

Evergreen is only one of eight major Greek Revival style plantation houses remaining on the historic River Road. These "Gone With the Wind" era houses lined River Road on the eve of the Civil War, but many more have been lost over the years than have survived.

Characteristic of these homes, Evergreen's original French Creole farmhouse was completely remodeled in 1832 by Pierre C. Becnel. As a result of this expansion, the "big house" features stuccoed-brick Doric columns that extend from the ground to the roof on the wide double galleries, and boasts two remarkable fanlight doorways at the head and foot of the winding double stairway servicing the galleries.

Evergreen is significant not only because of the existence of its main building along River Road, but also because of the remains of the plantation complex.

With two pigeonniers (structures used by upper-class French for housing pigeons), two garconieries (dwellings for a family's young boys), a privy, a kitchen, a guesthouse, an overseer's house, and a double row of 22 slave cabins, Evergreen is unique.

It is one of only a handful of plantations that evoke what major plantations resembled in the antebellum period of America's history. Usually only the main house of the planter's family have endured the ravages of time.

The standard row of slave quarters, lost throughout the South, can still be seen at Evergreen

Photograph from the National Historic Landmarks

Surving the Test of Time

Over the decades, the most serious change to Evergreen as a plantation complex has been the extensive fabric replacement evident in the slave quarters

Some noteworthy original features, such as chimneys, shutters, and doors remain, but nearly 150 years of patching, repairs, and reconstruction have caused alterations. It is surprising that these quarters, retaining their original appearance and double row configuration, have survived at all.

There is very little documentation on these buildings, although it is clear that they are indeed antebellum. The 1860 census lists Lezin Becnel and his brother, the then owners of the plantation, as having 103 slaves in 48 dwellings.

The only known historic map of the plantation is the Mississippi River Commission map of 1876, which shows 22 cabins in the same configuration and location.

Evergreen Plantation, a National Historic Landmark, is located on State Hwy. 18, in Wallace.

The house is open to the public, but only by arranging a tour with either the New Orleans Tours company (504-592-0560) or Airboat Adventures (504-382-8767). Both tour companies charge a fee.

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