(The Clotilda Plantation Oaks are located at 5753 LA-308, Matthews, LA. They are approximately 5.5 miles south of the Raceland intersection of Hwy. 182 and Hwy. 308.)
There are 10 live oaks on the property of Clotilda Plantation that have been registered with the Live Oak Society. The trees range in size 10 feet 4 inches in girth to more than 20 feet. If you turn off of Hwy. 308 onto Barker Road, you can view the oaks and the plantation home more easily, without creating a traffic hazard. Remember, this is private property and not open for tours.
The oaks were probably planted sometime around 1874 when the property was purchased by Francis Gilbert Barker, a commission merchant and sugar planter from New Orleans. Francis Gilbert in partnership with a Mr. Leblanc purchased Clotilda and Ravenswood Plantations in 1874 from John Lyall to grow sugarcane. Francis and his wife Antoinette never lived at Clotilda and in 1902 Francis died, closely followed by his wife in 1905.
Their son, Frank Leon Barker, was a prominent commission merchant and sugar planter living in New Orleans. Around 1907, Frank built the Clotilda plantation home on the site of a previous home that burned. He originally intended the home for him and his sister Melodia. However, Melodia preferred life in New Orleans. Then in 1912, Frank met and married Florence Vizard of Mobile, Alabama, and they moved to Clotilda in 1925. The Frank and Florence Barker Oak, the largest oak on the property, located near the front right corner of the home, is named after them.
At Clotilda, Frank expanded the family sugarcane operations to include a partnership in both Laurel Valley and Melodia Plantations, closer to Thibodaux. He and his wife lived the rest of their lives at the Clotilda home and the plantation today is owned by their descendants.
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.