whitney plantation, take one


I was in New Orleans recently, on a week-long vacation and general detox from the world. While in town, we walked a lot, ate a lot, and took a lot of photos. Most of those photos are on film, and still need to be developed. But some of them were taken with a digital camera, and I thought I would share a few of those.


These come from the Whitney Plantation, an antebellum sugar cane plantation that has been converted to a museum and memorial, both devoted to slavery and the enslaved. Touring the Whitney is a harrowing experience; every aspect of the presentation is meant to emphasize the truth of the matter; that this was a place of harsh, brutal work and subjugation.

Emphasizing that are these figures of enslaved children, placed around the grounds. They are lifelike enough that, if you aren’t paying attention, it seems as if there are actually children. It’s startling, and effective. 

The end of the tour is marked by several memorials. One of those is a memorial to those killed in the 1811 German Coast Uprising, a revolt of enslaved people in what are now St. John the Baptist and St. Charles Parishes in New Orleans. It was the largest slave insurrection in U.S history, and ended when volunteer militia joined with regular soldiers to suppress the assault. Nearly 100 black people were killed in the reprisal. Of those, 18 were executed in trials following the revolt, their heads placed on pikes as a warning to other enslaved people. Those rebels for freedom have a place at the Whitney.


There is a lot to do in New Orleans. But if you find yourself there, and you have the time, I think you owe it yourself to visit the Whitney Plantation and experience what they’ve built there. It’s remarkable.