This post is a review of San Francisco Plantation with info on tickets, tours and an online review analysis. Known for its distinctive variation in architecture, San Francisco Plantation is a spectacle on the Great River Road. Spectators have described it as a giant layered cake or a Mississippi riverboat from a distance. The land was first owned by a free man of color before being sold off to multiple buyers throughout history. Today San Francisco Plantation is a National Historic Landmark frozen in its golden days and serves as a museum and event facility.
How to Get Here
For those unable to provide your own transportation, there are several tour companies/charters that provide roundtrip services for the San Francisco Plantation tour.
Tickets & Reviews
The San Francisco Plantation is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Mardi Gras Day and Easter Sunday. Tours of the house run daily every 20 minutes.
Gates open: 9:00am
First tour: 9:40am
Last tour: 4:40pm (April-Oct) and 4:00pm (Nov-March)
Tickets can be purchased upon arrival to the plantation, in advance on their website, or you can visit as part of the NOLA Power Pass.
- $17 – Adults
- $10 – Students
- $16 – AAA & Military
Children 6 and under are free. There is also a coupon available through New Orleans Plantation Country. This is a $3 discount on adult tickets (limited to 2).
NOLA Power Pass
REVIEWS FOR SAN FRANCISCO PLANTATION
The San Francisco Plantation holds a 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor and 3 ½ stars on Yelp. Couples seem to be the dominant types taking this tour with families following close behind. Many reviews compliment the home on being uniquely different than any of the other plantations in the surrounding area. There are plenty of artifacts within the house (no pictures allowed) that users seem very impressed with. The staff, for the most part, receives excellent reviews for their friendliness and knowledge about the house and the families who once inhabited it. However, there have been a number of reviews that suggest the tour felt rushed. Other complaints center on the house being surrounded by an energy factory. As a result of the raised levee following the Great Flood in 1927, the house itself was spared, but the surrounding area sacrificed. Obviously, there isn’t much that can be done about this. Overall users recommend the plantation for travelers looking for a distinctively different mansion to explore.
Tours from New Orleans
Half-Day Eastbank Plantation Tour
This combo tour of both San Francisco and Houmas Plantation provides pick-up services to hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and private residences in New Orleans that are close to St. Charles Ave. or close to the French Quarter. The drive is narrated and features history facts about all things Antebellum South. San Francisco Plantation is first up where participants will have a guided tour of the 1856 gothic steamboat style mansion. Here, you’ll explore original slave cabins and an old, one-room schoolhouse while learning about the generations of Creole owners and their families. After your visit, the bus will take you upriver to the “Sugar Palace”, Houmas Plantation where you can enjoy a Mint Julep before exploring the Greek-revival mansion.
Price: $110/per person
Reservations: REQUIRED. More info and to book.
Plantation Highlights & History
The Mansion - Tour guides dressed in authentic period costumes will lead you through all 14 rooms of the distinctive plantation home. You’ll witness the period antiques and view the custom painted ceilings and artwork from the homes original days.
Slave Cabin and Schoolhouse - Visit a slave cabin and one-room schoolhouse from the plantations active days.
Blacksmith - The tour is said to have blacksmithing demonstration amongst others.
Plantation Grounds - Walk under centuries old oak tress, and enjoy the beautiful azaleas and other foliage.
Plantation Store - Buy unique memorabilia from the Plantation Store, which features many different classic pieces from the South.
Annual Frisco Fest - The annual Frisco Fest features over 100 artist and crafters on the plantation site. There are many activities including rock climbing, pony rides, bungee trampolines and many more. The festival also features live music, art exhibits and creole inspired food venders.
SHORT HISTORY OF SAN FRANCISCO PLANTATION
The first known owner of the land the San Francisco Plantation would eventually occupy was a free man of color, Elisée Rillieux. The year was 1827 and New Orleans was celebrating their first ever Mardi Gras. Rillieux bought the land with hopes of establishing a sugar plantation which he would eventually execute. Only three years later, he sold for a staggering $100,000, profiting an estimated $50,000.
The new owner, Edmond Bozonier Marmillion, who endured a long history of financial misfortunes, immediately began work establishing sugarcane production. Over the next 20 years Edmond purchased additional land and continued to expand his sugarcane business which would ultimately become a success. In 1843 tragedy struck, Edmonds wife Antoinette died of tuberculosis. Soon after he would lose 6 of his 8 children to the devastating disease.
In 1853, Edmond hired several well-experienced workers and slaves to begin work on what would become the plantation home that still stands on the plot today. Less than a year before the house was completed, Edmond Bozonier Marmillion passed away. What he left behind would become widely known as a must-see spectacle in Louisiana.
The mansion was like none other. The exterior design featured vivid colors and an ornate porch supported by columns with iron Corinthian capitals. The interior was created just as lavish; faux marbling, faux wood graining and hand-painted ceilings featuring the work of Domonique Canova. The site would ultimately inspire novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes to write, “Steamboat Gothic”, a tale about the family she’d imagined lived there.
Following the death of his father, Edmond’s eldest son, Valsin Bozonier Marmillion inherited the property and along with his wife and three daughters moved into the mansion. The name “San Francisco” is thought to be derived from a comment Valsin made, “sans fruscins” or “without a penny in my pocket” after inheriting the estate. It would later be changed to St. Frusquin before eventually becoming San Francisco under new owner, Achille D. Bougère.
By 1975 both Valsin and his brother passed away and the mansion was sold off to Achille D. Bougère, who acquired the property for a mere 50,000. He died only 3 years after the purchase leaving the estate to his wife and children. Over the next decade the plantation would see multiple owners before being acquired by the Ory family who transformed the plantation into the “San Francisco Planting and Manufacturing Company.
The Great Flood of 1927, followed soon after by the Great Depression had devastating effects on the property. Due to the raised levee that was built as a future preventative measure, San Francisco Plantation lost its front yard and gardens. By the early 1950’s, the San Francisco Plantation Foundation was created through which the property underwent a massive restoration. Today the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and commands hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.