Whitney Plantation, St John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana
Built in the late eighteenth-century by German immigrants, the Haydel Plantation was elaborately painted to resemble a great house of Europe. Later referred to as Whitney Plantation, the paintings are perhaps the earliest examples of exterior decorations in America. The current owners of Whitney carefully restored the buildings to their former aspect, after years of abandon, and opened the plantation to the public to promote a better understanding of history and of slavery. The paintings on the front and back loggias of the house and the main salon have been attributed to Domenico Canova, who was New Orleans’ leading muralist from the 1830’s to mid-century. These colorful murals were occluded by layers of varnish and also suffered from abrasion and losses due to usage, but were otherwise in good condition.