Located about an hour north of Baton Rouge and an hour south of Natchez, St. Francisville is known for its antebellum homes, and for bed and breakfasts set in historic homes. There are fewer than 1,800 residents in St. Francisville, but it has an atypical sophistication for such a small Southern town.
It's the second-oldest town in Louisiana (after Natchitoches), tracing its history back to a 1730s church and burial ground named after St. Francis. But its settlement really began with land grants from the King of Spain to Anglo-Americans after the American Revolution, and a street plan made in 1807. Locals say St. Francisville, set on a narrow bluff 115 feet above the Mississippi River, is "2 miles long and 2 yards wide."
Visitors today will find several indoor antiques malls, boutiques, a bookstore, and a small museum and shop run by the West Feliciana Historic Society. There is an exhibit about John James Audubon, who lived here and painted many of his Birds of America series in the area, where he also worked as a tutor. Among items for sale around the holidays were angel ornaments made from balls of cotton, which is grown in mid-Louisiana.