Revisit historical sites in Ascension

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
St. Emma Plantation

If you're a history buff, Ascension Parish has no shortage of historical sites to visit. According to the National Register of Historical Places database, the Parish has 20 landmarks, ranging from churches to plantations to schools. Over the next two weeks, we will explore each of these sites. Whether your looking for something to do for the day, or wanting to take a historical tour of the parish, Ascension has much history to offer.

  • Evan Hall Slave Cabins: La. 405, three miles west of Donaldsonville in McCall. Built in 1840, the remaining structure includes a single cabin and double cabin.

  • Landry Tomb:Located in the cemetery of the Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church in Donaldsonville. The family tomb was built in 1845 by James Dankin and has 24 vaults, one of which is U.S. Representative Joseph Landry who died in 1814 and was relocated in 1845.

  • Tezcuco:La. 44, Burnside, one mile north of the Sunshine Bridge. The Greek Revival architectural style plantation was built in 1855, but burned down in 2002. All that is left is a few columns.

  • Robert Penn Warren House:16381 Old Jefferson Highway, Prairieville. The Colonial Revival architectural style home was built in 1941 as the private residence of author Robert Penn Warren.

  • The Hermitage:La. 942, one mile south of Marchandville and 1.75 miles east of Darrow. The Greek Revival mansion was built in 1812 as a wedding gift for Marius Pons Bringier's son Michel Dourdou. It is said Andrew Jackson and his wife visited the house in the 1820's.

  • Palo Alto Plantation:33534 La. 944, Donaldsonville. The Greek Revival plantation was built in 1850 and is a one-and-a-half story building on more than 6,000 acres.

  • Fort Butler:Mississippi River levee in Donaldsonville. A Civil War site, it was built to guard the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche. It is now used for an annual re-enactment and open to guided tours by appointment.

  • St. Emma:1283 S. La. 1, Donaldsonville. Built in 1847, the plantation was originally owned by Charles A. Kock, one of the biggest sugar planters in the state. It is opened by appointment only.

  • St. Joseph's School:La. 75 and 44 in Burnside. It is now the Cabin Restaurant. The school was established in 1867 by the Roman Catholic Church to provide elementary school to newly freed slaves. It was originally located in Convent, though was relocated to Ascension in 1985.

  • Ashland:La. 75 two miles south of Geismar. Also known as the Belle Helene or Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation. Built in 1841, the antebellum Greek Revival architectural style building served as a former sugar plantation. It is owned by Shell Chemical Company.