The estate that sugar built
Southdown Plantation was more than a grand mansion. With its own railroad system, refinery, sugar house, and company store, it was once a small town in itself--an enterprise that formed the root of Houma's sugar industry.
W.J.Minor built the first sugar mill here in 1846, one of 86 mills that operated in Terrebonne Parish during the industry's boom years.
1 - Molasses Tanks
Molasses, a by product of sugar refining, was used to make rum.
2 - Company Store
Plantation managers paid workers in scrip or tokens redeemable at the company store.
3 - Overseer's House
4 - Workers Cabins
Before and after the Civil War, Southdown laborers lived on site.
5 - Railroad Bridge to Mill
The plantation owned 16 locomotives. with 26 miles of track. Tracks cross the bayou here.
6 - Storage Warehouse
7 - Little Bayou Black
Southdown owned 26 barges, towed by steamboats, which picked up cane grown along the bayous.
8 - Sugarcane Fields
The plantation once incorporated 8.000 acres of cane fields.
9 - Mill and Refinery
10 - Mill Yard Crane Hoist
11 - Pecan Grove
Pecan trees provided shade, but also nuts for making Louisiana's famous sweet confection - pralines.
12 - Main House
Using bricks fired here, W.J. Minor built the first floor of the Greek-Revival mansion about 1858-1859.
View of the mansion's dining room today. In 1893, Henry Minor built the mansion's second floor and added the stained glass panels featuring sugarcane leaves.
During WWII managers hired women to keep the refinery running. Sugarcane operations ended here in 1975.
In the early 1900s workers could redeem these Southdown tokens for milk at the company store. Labor laws prevent this type of payment today.
Erected by Houma Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Discover Houma.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Architecture • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1846.
Location. 29° 35.375′ N, 90° 44.427′ W. Marker is in Houma, Louisiana, in Terrebonne Parish. Marker
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Southdown High School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fifth Districts High School (approx. 1.1 miles away); Saint Francis de Sales Church (approx. 1.1 miles away); YRF-4C Phantom II (approx. 1.2 miles away); Terrebonne Parish Courthouse Square Oaks (approx. 1.2 miles away); 1834-1934 (approx. 1.2 miles away); When Oysters Were King (approx. 1.4 miles away); A History of Terrebonne Parish (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Houma.
More about this marker. Located on the grounds of the Southdown Plantation site, now home of The Terrebonne Museum
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 21, 2019, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 208 times since then and 101 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 25, 2019, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana.