(The E.D. White Historic Site is located on the west bank of Bayou Lafourche, 6.2 miles north of downtown Thibodaux at 2295 LA Hwy. 1. From Donaldsonville, it’s 27.5 miles south, down the bayou. All photographs and content ©William Guion, 2017. )
The E.D. White Historic Site is a historic jewel along Bayou Lafourche. It’s owned by the Louisiana State Museum system, and so a visit and tour can give you a better picture of what life along the bayou was like in the 1800s. There are eight oaks on the grounds that are registered with the Live Oak Society. The oldest, the E.D. White Oak, is more than 25 feet in girth. On the free guided tour, you’ll hear that the old oak is more than 400 years of age. It’s an impressive tree, as are all of the oaks on the grounds.
The Creole-style raised cottage was constructed from hand-hewn cypress around 1790 for a Creole settler and farmer, Guillaume Arcement. In 1829 Edward Douglas White Sr. bought the property and after his marriage in 1834 to Catherine Sidney Lee Ringgold, they remodeled the house to fit the Greek Revival style, popular at that time. E.D. White Sr. served as Judge of Lafourche Interior Territory and as the seventh governor of Louisiana.
The home is also where E.D. White’s son, Edward Douglass White Jr., was born and raised (he supposedly added another “s” to his middle name). E.D. White, Jr. served on the Louisiana Supreme Court, as a member of the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C., and as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for nearly three decades, 11 of those years as chief justice of our nation’s highest court. You can see a 360-degree photo view of the home and its interior on their website.
For several years the home was owned by the Thibodaux chapter of the Knights of Columbus, and in 1923 it was donated to the Louisiana State Parks and Recreation Commission. Today, the historic home and grounds are on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The house and grounds are open for free tours Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and closed Sundays, Mondays, and state holidays.
The Lafourche Live Oak Tour was created through the generous support of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. For more information on Lafourche Parish events and activities, visit their website at LACajunBayou.com.