A magnet for Indians, explorers, planters, merchants and pirates
Imagine the landscape in front of you in the late 1600s: the wild wetlands of the fierce Chitimaches Indians. Sieur de la Salle sailed his ship past here in 1682, claiming all he surveyed for France. But in 1806, Englishman William Donaldson purchased this land and planted a seed of civilization in the wilderness.
Maps of the Mississippi River in the mid-1800s show plantations lining the shores, but only one established town between New Orleans and Baton Rouge--Donaldsonville. Men and women up and down the river journeyed to town to buy, sell, trade, worship, conduct government affairs, attack enemies or hide from authorities. Fascinating remnants of Donaldsonville's storied past await you on the streets below!
Lafon 1806 Plan
William Donaldson hired New Orleans architect Bartholomew Lafon to design this town plan in 1806. In the more than 200 years since, the street grid has changed very little! But Lafon did change, giving up his design work to become a smuggler and pirate.
Donaldsonville today, still nestled between the great river levee and Bayou Lafourche, features the finest collection of historic structures in any
Photo Captions/points of interest on map
1)Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church 2) Cemetery
The Catholic parish originated in 1772, with worship in a simple wood building. Construction began on today's cathedral-like church in 1875. The picturesque cemetery behind the church featurs the graves of notable planters, community leaders and soldiers.
3) River Road African American Museum
The museum calls attention to Louisiana's African American history along the Mississippi River. Museum staff tell their compelling stories through artifacts, photographs, artwork, and historic structures in the neighborhood.
4) Bittersweet Plantation
This antebellum house with dramatic connections to the Civil War is now owned by world-renowned Louisiana chef John Folse.
5) Crescent Park 6) Lemann Building
The elegant plaza in front of you recalls the early days when the river and bayous were the only highways. Residents and travelers filled the marketplace at Crescent Park and found many treasures and necessities at one of Louisiana's first department stores, now the Lemann Building.
7) Louisiana Square 8) Courthouse
Originally the Place de la Louisiane, this beautifully landscaped park marks the traditional seat of parish government but was also Capital of Louisiana
Birthplace of Francis T. Nicholls, Governor of Louisiana for two terms.
Erected by Ascension Parish Tourism Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Exploration • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 30° 6.448′ N, 90° 59.271′ W. Marker is in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in Ascension Parish. Marker can be reached from Mississippi Street (State Highway 18) near Crescent Park Circle, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Donaldsonville LA 70346, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mississippi River (a few steps from this marker); Dedicated to the Memory Of (within shouting distance of this marker); Crescent Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bayou Lafourche (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Butler (approx. 0.2 miles away); Walter Lemann, Sr. Pumping Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Donaldsonville (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Butler UDC Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Donaldsonville.
More about this marker. Marker is on the levee at the Crescent Park.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 25, 2020, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 262 times since then and 64 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 25, 2020, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana.