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Destrehan Plantation’s 48th annual Fall Event entertains this weekend

BY BROOKE R. CANTRELLE

L’OBSERVATEUR

 

DESTREHAN — Destrehan Plantation will showcase more than 100 arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment, Cajun and Creole food, children’s activities, house tours and more this weekend at the 48th annual Fall Event.

The Fall Event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15 under the magnificent oak trees at 13034 River Road in Destrehan. Admission is $8 for adults and teens, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under.

The set-up of more than 100 arts and crafts vendors includes 30 vendors new to this year’s event. Craft vendors will let their talents shine as they sell handcrafted items ranging from exotic woodwork to leather goods, scented candles, handmade jewelry, Louisiana themed prints, canvas painting and houseware items.

The Destrehan Plantation Mule Barn offers its own array of distinctive pieces from antique dealers throughout Louisiana to capture the heart of any collector.

Music lovers will enjoy live entertainment from five bands. The lineup is as follows:

  • Saturday, Nov. 14: Kayla Woodson (10:30 a.m. to noon), Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition (12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 15: Reed Alleman (10:30 a.m. to noon), Kevin Gullage Band (12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.), Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

Cajun and Creole lovers will have access to a variety of Louisiana-inspired dishes from eight food vendors:

  • Fils Asian Kitchen – onion mum, shrimp wrapped in bacon, shrimp po-boys, chicken on a stick, seafood stuffed pistolettes, shrimp on a stick, pork & chicken kabob
  • Knights of Columbus – hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, French fries
  • Love at First Bite – fried eggplant w/crawfish sauce, crawfish pasta, crawfish fries, cochon de lait po-boy
  • Boy Scout Troop 233 – lemonade, frozen lemonade, coffee, hot Chocolate, beignets, ice coffee
  • Southern Traditions Streetside Cafe & Snoballs – biscuit w/sausage and gravy for breakfast, andouille nachos, crawfish nachos, pastalaya, sausage on a stick, strawberry/lemon shake ups
  • Jonathan Walker – shrimp & grits, seafood gumbo, red beans and rice w/smoked sausage, chicken and sausage jambalaya
  • Driskell’s Original BBQ – BBQ sandwiches, BBQ nachos, BBQ Frito pie, BBQ sauces and Spices
  • Portera’s Panetteria – Italian & traditional cookies, pies, fudge, brownies and cakes

Tracy Smith, Executive Director of Destrehan Plantation, said this year will feature expanded children’s arts and crafts activities including paper bag scarecrows, sunflowers, acorn necklaces, fall whirligigs, turkey bookmarks, stick family leaf mobile, leaf wreaths, fall greeting cards and Thanksgiving placemats.

Children’s games will include cornhole, kerplunk, ladder ball, checkers, jenga, riddle walk, color and hopscotch. Pony rides and a photo booth will be available to families for an additional cost.

Craft activities will be scheduled throughout the two-day event to allow for smaller groups and social distancing, according to Smith.

Face masks are required at the gate, in food lines, inside all buildings and at arts and crafts vendor booths.

“We’re encouraging social distancing, and we’re encouraging people to wear a mask when they can’t social distance, even when outside,” Smith said. “All vendors are required to wear a mask, and the food vendors will also have to wear gloves.”

Masks will also be required for house tours, which will be provided by historical interpreters throughout the day for an additional $8 per person. Folk-life demonstrations will give visitors a sense of how daily activities were performed the 1800s.

In addition to showcasing the talented people of the River Region, Smith said the annual Fall Event forwards the River Road Historical Society’s mission to preserve history and provide education on Destrehan Plantation.

“Most of the people that visit Destrehan Plantation on a daily basis are from out of town; most of them really from out of state,” Smith said.

“This event gives local people an opportunity to and see the plantation and see what we’re doing here. It is also our biggest fundraiser of the year. It’s very critical for us because we are a 501c3 nonprofit, and funding for a place such as ours which is very large, it requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep. These fundraisers help contribute directly to the costs of maintaining those buildings and grounds so that people can come and learn the history of Destrehan Plantation.”

Comprehensive house tours introduce visitors to the architecture and history of the plantation. The tour includes a look at historic documents and stories of the people who lived and worked on the grounds.

Smith said Destrehan Plantation has opened a new exhibit called the Rost Home Colony, which could eventually pave the way for more genealogical research.

At the end of the Civil War in 1865, the federal government established the Freedman’s Bureau to help the former enslaved transition to a life of freedom. In doing so, the agency established colonies around certain plantations to provide medical care, training facilities and access to housing.

” The Rost Home Colony, named after Pierre Rost who owned the plantation at the time, was one of the more successful of the colonies in Louisiana,” Smith said. ” That provided a place for over 2,000 formerly enslaved to go and to receive medical help, housing, job training, education, things of that nature. The Freedman’s Bureau kept very detailed records of the people who came there. We were able to transcribe all of those names and put them on large panels that are now on display in our schoolhouse.”

According to Smith, a lot of the descendants of people who were part of the Rost Home Colony still live and work in the area.

“This history is unique at Destrehan Plantation, but we will continue to expand on it in the hopes of adding a genealogy lab at some point where we can tap into databases and give people the opportunity to research even further their genealogy and their lineage,” Smith said.

Destrehan Plantation is located at 13034 River Road. For more information about the 2020 Fall Event, call 985-764-9315, email info@destrehanplantation.org or visit destrehanplantation.org.