Bocage Plantation is a historic plantation in Darrow, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, about 25 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. The plantation house was constructed in 1837 in Greek Revival style with Creole influences, especially in the floorplan. Established in 1801, the plantation was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 20, 1991.
|Location||On River Road, about 100 yards (91 m) north of intersection with St. Elmo Street|
|Nearest city||Darrow, Louisiana|
|Area||3.5 acres (1.4 ha)[a]|
|Architect||Attributed to James H. Dakin|
|Architectural style||Greek Revival, French Creole|
|NRHP reference #||91000705|
|Added to NRHP||June 20, 1991|
Bocage Plantation was established in January 1801, 5 years after Étienne de Boré proved that sugarcane cultivation could be profitable in southern Louisiana and 2 years before the Louisiana Purchase. It was a wedding gift from St. James Parish planter Marius Pons Bringier to his eldest daughter, 14-year-old Francoise "Fanny" Bringier, on the occasion of her marriage to 34-year-old Parisian bon vivant Christophe Colomb.
The original house, built in 1801 and destroyed by fire in or before 1837, was a "raised Creole house—brick on the first floor supporting a heavy-timber frame above". At first, it was thought that this house was at the same site as, and the basis for, the current house, until, "during the process [of the 2008 restoration], the bases of four symmetrically placed chimneys[,] surrounded by charred remains and fragments of brick and broken glass [glass dating to 1800], were discovered buried about 40 feet behind the [current] house."
Although sources vary as to the certainty of it, the design of the current, 1837, house has been attributed to James H. Dakin, who came to Louisiana in 1835, was employed by the Bringier family, and was skilled in Greek Revival architecture. Distinctive features of the façade include the massive entablature, with pediment design on the parapet and denticulated cornice, supported across the entire front by square, giant order columns forming a double gallery. The front staircase is not original; it was added during the 2008 restoration based on the oldest know picture/watercolor painting of Bocage done at the beginning of the 20th century over 100 years prior to the new staircase being added. The upper gallery was used to film a scene in the movie "Twelve Years a Slave". The upper gallery opens into a large double parlor on the premier étage, where rooms open into each other, without halls, in the Creole style, with a cabinet-loggia at the rear. Giant twelve-feet-tall sliding doors separate the upper parlors when closed. The roof once served as a rainwater catch basin, with the fresh water shunted through pipes to a cistern on each side, in back of the house.
After many years of neglect, the house was salvaged and restored in 1941 by Drs. E. G. Kohlsdorf and Anita Crozat (Mrs. Kohlsdorf). An auction in 2007 sold various furnishings from the house and grounds. In 2008 the house— was further restored using up to date engineering principles and all known history by its new owner, Dr. Marion Rundell—became a B&B which also offered public tours. The plantation was is severe disrepair in 2007 and the 2008 restoration was done to save the mansion from complete ruin.
Bocage Plantation is located on Louisiana Highway 942, along the River Road, in Darrow, Ascension Parish, on the east bank of the Mississippi River, but on a meander that puts it north and west of the river. The plantation is across the river from the parish seat of Donaldsonville, and about 25 miles southeast of Baton Rouge.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- National Register Staff (March 1991). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Bocage". National Park Service. Retrieved March 19, 2018. With nine photos from 1991
- Phillips, Ulrich Bonnell (2007) . Life and Labor in the Old South. Southern classics series. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 119–120. ISBN 9781570036781. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
- "Bocage Plantation—History". Bocage Plantation Website. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- "Bocage Plantation". Explore the Culture and History of Southeastern Louisiana. National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. National Park Service. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Seebold, Herman de Bachellé (2004) . "Chapter XV. The Bringier Dynasty". Old Louisiana Plantation Homes And Family Trees. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company. p. 131. ISBN 978-1589802636. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Lukens, Reed (March 20, 2014). Bocage Plantation, a wonderful place (Video). YouTube. Reading from Ghosts along the Mississippi and hearing further history from innkeeper, while showing interior, for 10 or so minutes from 1:45. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- Sexton, Richard (October 28, 1999). Vestiges of Grandeur: Plantations of Louisiana's River Road. Chronicle Books LLC. p. 78. ISBN 9780811818179. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Kostof, Spiro (1985). A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals. New York: Oxford University Press. Glossary. ISBN 0-19-503472-4.
- Laughlin, Clarence John (1948). Ghosts along the Mississippi: an essay in the poetic interpretation of Louisiana's plantation architecture. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Plate 54.
- "Bocage plantation home in Burnside Louisiana". The Louisiana Digital Library. State Library of Louisiana. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- Boelhower, William, ed. (2013). New Orleans in the Atlantic World: Between Land and Sea. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis. p. 41. ISBN 1317988442. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- Lukens, Reed (March 20, 2014). Bocage Plantation, a wonderful place (Video). YouTube. Tour of grounds, including back of house, from 12:05. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- "Bocage Plantation, December 2007—Auction Information". Neal Auction Company Archived Auctions. Neal Auction Company. Retrieved April 16, 2014. Browse by lot number to view details of house furnishings at the 2007 auction
- Tortorich, Michael (December 31, 2008). "Bocage is back: Historic River Road plantation restoration completed". Gonzales Weekly Citizen. Gonzales, LA. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- "30°07'25.0"N 90°57'19.0"W" (Map). Google Maps. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- Scott, Mike (September 25, 2013). "Following in the real footsteps of '12 Years a Slave' figure Solomon Northup: Mike's Movie Mailbag". The Times-Picayune.
- Campbell, Cynthia V. (May 18, 2010). Insider's Guide to Baton Rouge. Globe Pequot. pp. 101–102. ISBN 9780762763368. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- Martin, Gay N. (April 18, 2009). Louisiana Off the Beaten Path, 9th: A Guide to Unique Places (9th ed.). Globe Pequot. p. 119. ISBN 9780762756278. Retrieved April 16, 2014.