Don't Miss in Oak Alley
Slave Cabins: Don't miss the slave cabins, which you visit at your own pace. They provide a glimpse of what life was like for slaves on the plantation.
Tip: Buy timed tour tickets as soon as you arrive; there often is a wait for the tours, which are guided and might include as many as 45 people. The best photographic view of the house and oak trees is from the levee across the road from Oak Alley.
Laura Plantation: About 4 miles west of Oak Alley on LA-18 (River Road, 225-265-7690, lauraplantation.com), Laura Plantation is consistently voted a favorite on tourist polls. A simple Creole plantation house, it's not furnished grandly like some others, but its tour is personal and based on a diary written by Laura Locoul, who lived there. Tours include the grounds and a visit to a slave cabin. Tours in French are conducted at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:20 p.m.; others are all in English.
Whitney Plantation: About 9 miles west of Oak Alley on LA-18 (River Road, 225-265-3300, whitneyplantation.com) in Wallace is Whitney Plantation. Opened in the fall of 2014, Whitney is the only plantation open to the public that is dedicated to explaining the plantation existence from the point of view of the slaves who lived there. Visiting Whitney can be a powerful experience, with the names of slaves who lived in the parish inscribed on tablets that are on display. You'll hear stories of children who died and see cells that were used for punishment as well as the big house, where the owners lived. The Whitney is an hour from New Orleans.
Seafood: B&C Seafood Market and Restaurant, 2155 LA-18 (River Road, 225-265-8356), in Vacherie, is 4 miles from Oak Alley and a down-home spot for gumbo, seafood, po' boy sandwiches, local fare and authentic ambiance. Nothing fancy, but popular. Open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed Sundays.