Woodland Plantation was built in the 1830s by
one of America's first chief river pilots, Captain William Johnson.
Captain Johnson and his partner, George Bradish, were sea captains/pirates
from Nova Scotia who had come down to the Deep Delta in the late
1700s and worked for river pilot Juan Ronquillo. In 1793, just before
the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Captains Johnson and Bradish built
a grand home, Magnolia Plantation, 4 miles south of where Woodland
now stands. Both families lived at Magnolia for 40 or so years until
William sold his shares of Magnolia and built Woodland.
Captain Johnson and his 4 sons built a thriving
sugar cane plantation with one of the most modern mills of its time.
William was also in partnership with the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte.
Lafitte would pirate ships off shore then bring the slaves up Grand
Bayou, which was a short cut to the Gulf of Mexico from Woodland,
and hold then at 4 large two-story brick slave quarters. These buildings
were built at the same time as Magnolia but on the site where Woodland
would eventually be built. From there Captains Johnson and Bradish
would pick up the slaves and trade them up and down the river.
These quarters were knocked down in the early
1960s by hurricane Betsy. Spirits
Hall, moved to Woodland in 1998, now sits on the site that had
seen all of this pain and suffering. We felt that this had a healing
effect on the property. Bradish Johnson, the third son who eventually
owned Woodland, died in 1897 and his heirs sold the property to
the Wilkinsons, who owned it until 1997. The Creppels, Claire, Jacques
and son Foster, bought it at a public auction in a terrible state
of disrepair. It was completely renovated in 1997-1998 and opened
in 1999 as a beautifully restored nine room country inn.