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Oakland Plantation (Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana) facts for kids

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Oakland Plantation
Oakland Plantation from the highway IMG 3480.JPG
Oakland Plantation House
Nearest city Natchitoches, Louisiana
Area 42 acres (17 ha)
Built 1818
Architectural style French Colonial Creole
NRHP reference No. 79001073
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 29, 1979
Designated NHLD January 3, 2001

Oakland Plantation, originally known as the Jean Pierre Emmanuel Prud'homme Plantation, and also known as Bermuda, is a historic plantation in unincorporated Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Founded as a forced-labor farm worked by enslaved Black people for White owners, it is one of the nation's best and most intact examples of a French Creole cotton plantation complex It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001, and is now owned by the National Park Service as part of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park.

Geography

The plantation is situated on a bend of the Cane River Lake, with access by Louisiana Highway 119 in the Bermuda community near the parish seat of Natchitoches.

The Oakland Plantation grounds and structures are within the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, in the NPS Cane River National Heritage Area. It is a National Historic Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also designated as a destination on the state's Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

Oakland Plantation is associated with Atahoe Plantation, developed by one of the Prud'homme family, and Isle Brevelle. It is located near the also significant Magnolia Plantation, which is another National Historic Landmark within the park, and Melrose Plantation.

History

19th century

The original owners, Jean-Pierre Emanuel Prud'homme and his wife Marie Catherine (Lambre) Prud'homme, completed building the Oakland Plantation house in 1821. The family tradition claims that Oakland was one of the first plantations in the area to grow cotton on a large scale, which was cultivated and harvested by enslaved African Americans. They also raised and used farm animals, which were served by extant buildings, such as the dipping vat, the turkey shed, the mule barn, two pigeonniers, and several chicken coops.

The Prud'hommes also owned and operated a general store on the plantation, which also housed the Bermuda U.S. Post Office for many years. The plantation flourished in the 19th century.

20th century

Descendant J. Alphonse Prud'homme won the gold medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis for growing the highest-grade cotton in the South.

The Cane River Creole National Historical Park was authorized by Congress in 1994, with support by US Senator J. Bennett Johnston (R-LA). In 1997, the National Park Service acquired the main buildings and surrounding land of Oakland Plantation for the park. The NPS has reached advanced stages in the preservation and conservation of the many outbuildings, and of the plantation house. They have completed furnishing interiors with furniture, paintings, and textiles as it was in the 1860s at the end of the antebellum plantation era.

The park's program includes interpretation of emancipation and the history of freedmen and Creoles of color, and their descendants, who lived and worked on Oakland Plantation for nearly 100 years after the American Civil War. They were all integral to the region's community life. The community has strongly associated the plantation with the Prud'homme family, many of whose descendants still reside in the area today.

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