St. Emma Plantation, located about four miles south of Donaldsonville
and just west of the Bayou Lafourche, is a fine example of a
large mid-19th-century Greek Revival plantation house. Built
in 1847, St. Emma was owned from 1854 to 1869 by Charles A.
Kock, one of the leading sugar planters and large slaveholders
Kock also owned the nearby Belle Alliance plantation,
and between the two there lived 300 slaves. Born in Breman,
Germany, in 1812, Charles A. Kock had become one of the largest
sugar producers in Louisiana. St. Emma and the nearby plantation
of Palo Alto figured in a Civil War battle, known as the "Battle
of Koch's Plantation," in the fall of 1862. Confederate
troops quartered in the sugarhouses of the two plantations skirmished
with Union forces marching south from Donaldsonville to Thibodaux.
The advancing Union army lost 465 men.
St. Emma Plantation House stands five bays wide and three rooms
deep, all around a central hall, following a standard raised
plantation house plan, though St. Emma is somewhat larger than
Both the front and rear facades have five-bay
galleries which are formed of brick posts on the lower story
and paneled wooden pillars on the upper story. There are no
interior stairs and both staircases are set within the galleries.
The house has a brick lower story and a circular sawn frame
Although the upper story is the main floor, there
are rooms on the ground floor as well, which appear to be original
to the house. The exterior doors have three ventricle panels
rather than the usual two. They are encompassed within ear-molded
frames with pediment-shaped tops, and the sidelights are separated
from the doors by full pilasters rather than molded stripes.
Today, St. Emma plantation is furnished with a superb collection
of Empire-period furniture.
St. Emma Plantation House is located at 1283 South Hwy. 1,
four miles south of Donaldsonville and is open by appointment
only. Call the Ascension Parish Tourist Commission at 225-657-6550.