Slavery in Louisiana – a Visit to Whitney Plantation – Episode #54

Salve Cabin at Whitney Plantation
Slave Cabin, Whitney Plantation December 2017
Slave Cabin at Whitney Plantation
Slave Cabin, Whitney Plantation. December 2017

Slavery in Louisiana – a Visit to Whitney Plantation

In today’s episode, we learn about slavery in Louisiana. We visit Whitney Plantation, located in Wallace, LA 40 miles West of New Orleans. The Whitney is the only plantation whose primary focus is on the slaves who worked, lived, and died along this stretch of the Mississippi River.

My guest today is Joy Banner, Director of Marketing at Whitney. Joy is also a native of the nearby community and is a descendant of the slaves at Whitney.

On today’s show, you’ll learn…

  • About the people who were kidnapped, sold into slavery, and came to work at the Whitney and other plantations along River Road.
  • You’ll meet some of the slaves and hear their surprising connections to modern day New Orleanians.
  • You’ll gain insight into the conditions they endured, and what plantation life was like for the enslaved.
  • Most plantations along River Road were sugar plantations, so you’ll also learn about the process of making granulated sugar on a plantation.

“We ask African Americans to get over it, but we don’t really understand what the it is.”  – John Cummings, owner of Whitney Plantation

Time Stamps

5:30      Meet our guest, Joy Banner
6:45      Where is Whitney Plantation located?
10:00    Mission of Whitney Plantation
12:00    Slaves as chattel
19:15     Habitation Haydel and the origin of Whitney Plantation
22:30    Wall of Honor
26:00   Reality of slavery
36:00   Process of making granulated sugar on a plantation
44:00   Fantasy of plantation life
46:00   The story of Anna and her descendants
50:15    Life after Emancipation


Whitney Plantation – located in Wallace, LA 40 miles West of New Orleans. For more information about Whitney Plantation, visit their website.

Thank You

Thanks to Joy Banner for welcoming my wife and I to Whitney Plantation. Joy took us around the grounds on a day when they were closed, patiently answered all of our questions, then made time two days later for the interview.

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  1. I visited the Whitney in October of 2016. Even though it was October, it was 90 degrees and very, very humid. The idea of cutting cane in that weather, or boiling sugar in that weather, was eye-opening. Maybe I missed it, but I wish someone had mentioned the statues of former child slaves at the plantation, representing the adults who were emancipated as children and gave their testimony to the Federal Writer’s Project. More on those remarkable statues can be found here:

  2. Excellent podcast. I hope to visit the plantation to pay my respects to the memory of the enslaved slaves.

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