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Plantation Culture

The plantation culture that developed along the Cane River did so under the influence of the French, Spanish, and American governments. Natchitoches, the northernmost town along the Cane River in northwestern Louisiana, was the first European settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. It was founded by the French in 1714, four years before the founding of New Orleans. Along side the white Creole society, a wealthy and cultured colony of Creoles of color was founded by a family of freed slaves.

The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 helped to make large scale cotton production a profitable venture. Aresident of Cane River, Jean Pierrie Emmanual Prudhomme (1762-1845), is reported to have been the first person to plant cotton on a large scale west of the Mississippi River. Yucca House on Melrose Plantation is the original Colonial residence and one of the earliest plantation homes in the area. It dates from 1796, the same year that Louis Metoyer, the son of a freed African slave, obtained a grant for the land. The "big house" that stands today at Melrose is an early Louisiana type plantation home dating from 1833. It was begun by Louis Metoyer but completed by his son. Ownership of the plantation has changed several times over its more than 200 year history. Its last residential owners were the family of John Hampton Henrywho moved to the plantation with his wife Carmelite (Cammie) Garrett Henry in 1898.

The original large plantation home at Magnolia Plantation was built in the early 1830s and was burned during the Civil War. It was rebuilt by the family in 1896 utilizing the original brick foundation, walls, and pillars that had remained intact after the fire. Ownership of Magnolia Plantation has remained in the same familysince the original French land grant to Jean Baptiste LeComte II in 1753 and the subsequent Spanish grant in 1787 to his son Ambrose LeComte who founded the plantation. As was the case in the early years of Magnolia, many southern plantations existed without the large homes that are commonly associated with them. The establishment of plantation homes introduced domestic activities, including quiltmaking, to plantation life.

Plantation Culture | Plantation Quilts | On Quilting | Photos | Credits | Past Exhibitions



























Quilts of the Cane River Plantation

Exhibit Dates:
March 1 – May 29, 1998

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LSU Textile & Costume Museum
140 Human Ecology Building
Department of Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising
College of Agriculture
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Telephone: (225) 578-5992 and 578-2281
Fax (225) 578-2697
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