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. In the slave census of 1850, William Johnson’s son George Washington Johnson – who inherited the plantation after his father’s death in 1849 – owned a total of 181 enslaved people. Their labor was the foundation of the immense wealth sugar planter families, like the Johnson’s, acquired.
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 enslaved people and trade them up and down the river– taking part in the domestic slave trade, that was flourishing during the early to mid-19th century.
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. 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.
The Old Cabin ❘ Before & After
Magnolia Store ❘ Before & After
Just 40 minutes south of New Orleans, Woodland Plantation and Spirits Hall offers outstanding service and cuisine in a unique setting rich in history, culture and natural beauty.
21997 Highway 23
West Point a La Hache, LA 70083
Toll Free: 800.231.1514
Innkeeper/Owner: Foster Creppel