Donaldsonville-Historic Portal to the Past

Serving as state capital of Louisiana from 1830-1831, Donaldsonville's historic district has what has been described as the finest collection of buildings from the antebellum era, of any of the Louisiana river towns above New Orleans.

Donaldsonville's Historic Portal to the Past

Join us on a journey through time to a place that was once a magnet for Indians, explorers, planters, merchants, and pirates. Enjoy learning about the history of Donaldsonville at your own pace by visiting seven self-guided portals in the historic district. A portal map will guide you to each numbered portal location. The route is approximately 2.5 miles and is perfect for walking,  biking or by car. As you find your way through this charming city explore many treasures along the way like The River Road African American Museum, folk artist Alvin Batiste, Ascension Catholic Church, The Mississippi Riverwalk, and much more.

An immense collection of diverse histories

The city of Donaldsonville is an immense collection of diverse histories deserving recognition, celebration, and protection. Located on Railroad Ave. The River Road African American Museum does just that. The River Road African American Museum collects, preserves and exhibits art, artifacts and buildings as it is related to the history and culture of African Americans in the rural communities along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge & New Orleans. More than just a slavery museum it is an institution that tells the stories of freedom, resilience and reconciliation. Alvin Batiste, a self-taught primitive artist and Louisiana’s premier folk artist is a Donaldsonville native who has gained international recognition through his artistic depictions of life along the Mississippi.  “Alvin Batiste has infectiously managed to capture the hearts and imaginations of people from every demographic, he is a visionary and a storyteller.” You can see Alvin at work and purchase his art at Framer Dave's Frame shop, located on Mississippi St in the heart of the historic district of Donaldsonville.

A Gateway to Plantation Country

Today Donaldsonville is known as the “Gateway to Cajun and Plantation Country” because of its rich heritage and the numerous plantations along the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche. Plantation homes such as Palo Alto Plantation  adorn the landscape of this historic area making a simple drive feel like a travel back in time. Palo Alto Plantation is a Louisiana historical landmark rich in history and architectural beauty. In 1977, the home was listed on the US Department of Interior National Register of Historic Places. This beautifully preserved old plantation home is south of Donaldsonville and is set on the bank of Bayou Lafourche.