San Francisco Plantation is known as the most opulent plantation on the Mississippi River. Full of rich furnishings and elaborate architecture, it’s a hard title to argue with. The plantation was originally owned by a free man of color, Elisée Rillieux, a visionary and a speculator who purchased the land just 40 miles downriver from New Orleans in 1827 (the same year as our first Mardi Gras!). In addition to purchasing large tracts of land, Rillieux also bought slaves to establish a sugar plantation and increase the profitability of his purchase. Once the plantation was established, just three years later, he sold the land for the vast sum of $100,000 to Edmond Bozonier Marmillion and his partner Eugène Lartigue. It was Marmillion who went on to built the extravagent big house that now represents the plantation. The house was to be the prestigious inheritance of Marmillion’s two sons, and took nearly three years to complete. Artists were hired to create the hand painted ceilings, painted door panels, faux marbling, and faux wood grain throughout. The home became so well known that it even inspired novelist Francis Parkinson Keyes to pen the story Steamboat Gothic featuring the family she imagined lived in the grand home. The rich beauty of the home has been well preserved, and now stands as a completely unique antebellum home, representing one man’s vision and love for his family.
Opulence on the Mississippi River
Jun 7, 2013 | History