Fill your gas tank and set up your navigation – we have many places to visit on this leg of the Southern Reflection adventure! We’re going to be traveling to six iconic locations in the deep south! We put together this list of different sites; each holds stories from centuries ago and sheds light on Southern U.S. history.

For your convenience, we’ve also included recommendations for you when you’re visiting; site tour options, events, things to do nearby, and local eateries to make your trip all the more delightful.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

Conde-Charlotte Museum

Mobile, Alabama

The first location on our list is in Mobile— Alabama’s first city. Mobile was founded in 1702 by French Canadian brothers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, and Sieur de Bienville, as the capital of colonial French Louisiana. Later on, on December 14, 1819, Alabama was established as a state. The state was named after the indigenous Alabama tribe that inhabited western Alabama and eastern Mississippi until the early nineteenth century.

This port city is home to “America’s Amazon,” which is one of the biggest wetland ecosystems in the world! If you go down by the banks of the Mobile River you may spot some of the wildlife. You can also find the Conde-Charlotte Museum nearby. This stucco-over-brick building has truly seen it all. It was built by Jonathan Kirkbride in 1850 as a home and later took on other purposes such as an officers’ club. This was also the site of Mobile’s first jail, which dates back to the early 1820s. It’s now essentially a time capsule full of artifacts representing the many eras in Mobile and United States history. One notable piece on display is the Chaudron silver service, which was made by skilled Frenchman Simon Chaudron. Chaudron was a silversmith and goldsmith, poet, and orator who was previously a prominent citizen of Philadelphia, known for his oration upon George Washington’s death. But after facing setbacks, he and his family fled Philadelphia and moved to Demopolis, Alabama. After experiencing hardships like failed cash crops, the family migrated to Mobile. Here, Chaudron found success as the owner of a watch repair establishment and a wine import business. He entertained famous guests such as the Marquis de Lafayette!

As you walk up to the Conde-Charlotte Museum, you’ll see five flags waving over the front portico, including the U.S., French, British, Spanish, and Confederate banners. This is to reflect Mobile’s time under European sovereigns, its entry into U.S. territory, and its role as a Confederate city under siege by Union forces. A tour guide will lead you through the various rooms of the building which each represent a period. You’ll see an 1800s-era British Commandant’s Room, Confederate parlors, and even a 1700s French sitting room. Head up to the second level, and you’ll get a peek at the original wooden floor from the building’s days as the city jail.

A docent can share even more riveting insights about the museum and Mobile’s elaborate history! Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Other attractions at Conde-Charlotte Museum:

Take an hour-and-half-long tour of its exhibits:

Things to Do Nearby:

Places to Eat:

Oaks House Museum

Jackson, Mississippi

Next, we’ll make our way to Jackson, Mississippi, which is situated along the famous Pearl River. This city was founded in 1821 as the state capital. It was named after General Andrew Jackson, to commemorate his valor in the bloody Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.

Drive roughly a mile out from the heart of the city and you’ll eventually come across a four-acre plot of land. On this plot is the Oaks House Museum, nestled among tall fruit trees, brush, and a gorgeous late Victorian garden. This is a modest Greek Revival-style cottage that was built around 1853 and has since seen many changes. Community figurehead James H. Boyd and his wife Eliza Ellis Boyd raised six children in this home. Mr. Boyd served as mayor four times, and also took on many other roles such as a justice of the peace, school trustee, militia officer, and merchant.

You’ll have the unique opportunity to see where three generations of this important family lived. The home very well could’ve been lost in the raging war or due to Mr. Boyd’s unfortunate financial troubles, but it’s stood strong all these years. The house was owned by Mrs. Boyd in her name, and the property was never used for any sort of business endeavors. The Boyds likely spent time here doing typical family activities and occasionally entertaining guests. The house is decorated and furnished with original pieces from the family like the flip-and-turn-top card table.

After exploring the inside of the house, get some fresh air strolling through the garden out front! The home is adorned with camellias, roses, a kitchen garden full of herbs, and many other plants common to the mid-1800s. The assortment planted was chosen to accurately depict the gardens that once grew on the property in decades past. A docent can tell you the significance of different additions inside and outside The Oaks House Museum.

Other attractions at The Oaks House Museum:

Take a tour of its exhibits:

Things to Do Nearby:

Places to Eat:

Kent Plantation House

Alexandria, Louisiana

Now, we’ll venture down to Louisiana which is where the four remaining historic sites are located. To start, we’ll go to Alexandria. This city was founded in 1805, and it has always been a vibrant place. Being right at the center of the state, it became a hub for transportation, trading, and farming. Today, it’s still an exciting city to visit, with all its natural beauty and rich culture and history. There’s so much for visitors to discover here, such as the Kent Plantation House. 

This is a Creole plantation house that pre-dates the Louisiana Purchase. It was built around 1796, which makes it one of the oldest standing structures in the entire state of Louisiana. What’s truly amazing is that when you go onto this property, you’ll be stepping onto the 1785 land grant from the King of Spain.

The Kent House was built using natural elements like deer hair and Cyprus, by a French man named Pierre Baillio II. It is a prime example of French Colonial Architecture and showcases how both a well-to-do family and enslaved people lived at the time. Your tour guide will share details about the artifacts on display in the house and the outbuildings. They can also show you how food was prepared in the open hearth kitchen!

Other Kent Plantation House attractions:

Take a 2 hour-long tour of its exhibits:

Things to Do Nearby:

Places to Eat:

Hermann-Grima House

New Orleans, Louisiana

It’s time to head over to NOLA! New Orleans has been an attractive city since the early 19th century. It saw an influx of new residents after the Louisiana Purchase and decades to come. It was named the wealthiest city in the U.S. in the 1830s, which caused many individuals to settle here seeking prosperity. One of those people was Samuel Hermann, who sought great wealth. The commodities broker found his luck, with his wondrous home to tell the story. He built the Hermann-Grima House, our next location, in 1831.

This is a magnificent restored French Quarter home that’s a testament to the upper-class’ way of life in the era. You’ll be greeted by the great Federalist architectural façade and you’ll be met with an exquisite interior, decorated with family portraits and only the finest furnishings the families once owned. From 1844 to 1921, the estate was owned by the Grima family. Felix Grima was another extremely wealthy man, who worked as a notary, lawyer, and judge. You can see Felix’s original book collection on display.

The property also includes urban slave quarters, where enslaved persons would cook meals for the families and tend to the household chores. They lived on the second and third floors of the house, and worked on the first floor in the designated rooms. Your tour guide can tell you about how the enslaved individuals living their used the tools in these rooms to perform daily tasks.

Other attractions at Hermann-Grima House:

Take a tour of its exhibits:

Things to Do Nearby:

Places to Eat:

Oakley Plantation

St. Francisville, Louisiana

Trail back up north in the state to St. Francisville. Here you’ll find a serene 100-acre forest where birds sing in the shady trees. This breathtaking forest has inspired people for years, including the famous ornithologist and artist John James Audubon. In the Summer of 1821, Audubon resided in the home that overlooks the woods, known as the Oakley Plantation. He had been asked to teach the homeowners’ daughter, Eliza Pirrie, how to draw while he stayed. Mr. Audubon also worked on many of the bird paintings seen in The Birds of America during his residency here.

Oakley Plantation was home to the Pirrie family, as well as enslaved persons. Walking through the property, you can see the stark contrast between how wealthy families and enslaved people lived; the colonial-style home stands overlooking the two slave cabins below. The detached plantation kitchen contains a weaving room and an ironing/washroom which give insight into the living and working conditions of enslaved individuals.

If you have time, you should definitely walk along the trails to ponder and reflect on the history of this house. Also, try to see if you can spot any of the beautiful birds that live here.

Other attractions at Oakley Plantation:

Take a tour of its exhibits:

Things to Do Nearby:

Places to Eat:

Spring Street Historical Museum

Shreveport, Louisiana

Last stop, Shreveport! We’ll be visiting what some have called a portal to the wild west. The town of Shreveport was the place to be for those seeking a new life in America. It would only be right for us to see a place that eloquently tells the story of Shreveport’s history. So make your way to the Spring Street Historical Museum.

This carefully-preserved building has stood for many lifetimes, and served the community in a multitude of ways. It was built around 1866 and it has housed many businesses, including a bar called Fort Knox, two banks, and more. The building became the Banking House of E. & B. Jacobs in 1877. But when Edward Jacobs received the first banking act charter in the city nine years later, he renamed it First National Bank. The bank vault remains to this day, as do other objects and pieces to tell Shreveport’s interesting story. For instance, you can find the 1854 wedding slipper of Isabel Butler, a great-granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington, on display.

The First National Bank eventually merged with the statewide Premier Bank, which later merged with Bank One and then Chase Bank. The building then served as a residence in the late 1800s and early 1900s until it was donated to the Shreveport Committee of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the State of Louisiana.

The building retains the original intricate ironwork on the gallery – a match for the complex history of this local gem. You’ll see other examples of fine architecture in the Museum. There’s also a chance you may experience the hauntings of the Queen of the Night. Ask your tour guide to tell you about her legendary tale.

Other Spring Street Historical Museum attractions:

Take a tour of its exhibits:

Things to Do Nearby:

Places to Eat:

Continue Your Journey South

Aren’t these Deep South sites something? You can learn so much just about our country’s past by visiting these sites. It’s like traveling through time with the help of incredible docents!

If you’re fixin’ to see more, we’ve got you covered! Continue your journey South by checking out the next batch of sites Explore the Coastal South.