The River Parish Tourist Commission has begun a new push to get people to visit the river parishes. The theme? “New Orleans Plantation Country.”
According to the Commission, “New Orleans Plantation Country is a strip of land, about 120-miles long, along the Mississippi River known as the River Parishes and located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.”
According to a report by WWLTV, the Commission spent around $50,000 on a study regarding their tourism brand that asked outright what people thought when they heard “New Orleans Plantation Country.” Unsurprisingly, many of the responses were negative, saying that the use of the name “New Orleans” was misleading.
Others pointed out that the phrase, when paired with idyllic aerial photos of lush greenery beside a placid-looking river, seems to be glorifying the plantation days. “Racism, slavery, brutality, people trying to cover up the fact that this happened and glorify it as some sort of good ol’ times on the plantation drinking sweet iced tea and singing happy songs when in reality it’s all actual crap and the place is horrid,” said one responder.
On the Commission’s website, a highlighted itinerary invites visitors to discover the “history of the enslaved.”
“One cannot step foot into New Orleans Plantation Country without experiencing the impact of the African Culture,” the website states. “First brought to Louisiana through forced labor, the success of the region and its plantations were based largely on the intelligence and skill of the Africans.”
The itinerary encourages visitors to begin their trip at Destrehan’s Donut Land, visit the Destrehan Plantation, stop for lunch at B&C Seafood, then head to Oak Valley Plantation before stopping for dinner at Nobile’s Restaurant on Day One. Days two and three continue to mix visits with historical sites and local businesses. Whitney Plantation is highlighted as “the only Plantation museum in Louisiana with a focus on slavery,” along with St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Cemetery and the Our Lady of Grace sanctuary at Historic Riverlands, followed by a Cajun Pride Swamp Tour and visit to Frenier’s Landing.
“It was decided to expand the narrative of the brand and diversify the messaging to the visitor of what our region offered,” River Parish Tourist Commission Executive Director Buddy Boe said in a statement to WWL. “Early 2018, our commission approved the brand messaging and marketing plan that was enacted throughout the year and to the present.”
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.