Suzanne Turner Associates

Magnolia Plantation

A property of the National Park Service

Suzanne Turner and Ian Firth were contracted to produce a cultural landscape report for the landscape of Magnolia Plantation, in Derry near Natchitoches, LA. The plantation house itself remains in private ownership but the park service acquired most of the surrounding landscape because of the significance of the rare brick quarters cabins, used by workers who lived and worked on the land for 100 year after the Civil War, as well as the exceptional amount of surviving farming technology and other outbuildings, totaling twenty-one. Part of the Cane river Creole National Historical Park, Magnolia is also a destination on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. Magnolia also served as the center of a community of creoles of color and blacks who lived and worked on the land as tenant farmers and laborers until the intensive mechanization of cotton farming in the mid-20th century.  Research for the property was interesting because much of the documentation is still housed in the family home, requiring that records be examined in the kitchen and dining room of the plantation house. Extensive interviews with family members were also conducted to augment information in the archival record.  Photography and early home movies taken by a family member provided important glimpses into the after-work-hours recreation of the family and tenants alike.