Audubon State Historic Site
Highway 965, St. Francisville, LA 70775
Directions: From Baton Rouge, it is just 30 minutes away. Follow
US 61 north to LA 965, then turn right and follow the signs.
WELCOME to Audubon State Historic Site
This lush natural setting, with a variety of birds singing
throughout the 100-acre forest, still inspires visitors. In these
peaceful environs, it is easy to imagine the artist filling his
sketch pad with notes and drawings for his famous series of bird
Audubon came upriver from New Orleans to do more than paint
pictures. He had been hired to teach drawing to Miss Eliza Pirrie,
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Pirrie, owners of Oakley.
His teacher-artist arrangement was short-lived due to a
misunderstanding with Mrs. Pirrie. Only four months after his
arrival, Audubon returned to New Orleans.
Although there is no record of his success in teaching Miss
Pirrie to draw, in his personal endeavors he completed or began 32
bird paintings while at Oakley.
The tall, airy house where John James Audubon stayed is a
splendid example of colonial architecture adapted to its climate.
Built circa 1806, Oakley predates the relatively heavy details of
classic revival in Southern plantation homes and claims distinction
for its beautiful simplicity.
The rooms of Oakley have been restored in the style of the late
Federal Period (1790-1830), reflecting their appearance when Audubon
A West Indies influence can be seen in the jalousied galleries
which allow cool breezes to drift through the rooms while keeping
out rain and the glare of the sun.
Adam mantels, delicate decoration of the exterior gallery stairs
and a simple cornice frieze are Oakley's only ornaments. Simple and
dignified by its unusual height, the building seems a suitable part
of its beautiful forest setting.
In 1973, Oakley House was placed on the National Register of
Historic Places, an honorary designation for significant historic
The large, detached plantation kitchen, typical of the period,
was reconstructed on the old foundations, around the original
chimney. The kitchen building also contains a weaving room and an
Two slave cabins, located a short distance from the rear of the
house, give a glimpse into the laborers' way of life on the
plantation. These cabins provide the backdrop for programs
highlighting the impact of African Americans in developing early
Restored formal and kitchen gardens adjacent to the house
demonstrate the early Louisiana plantation owners' tendency to
re-create formal beauty in their wilderness environment.
- Trails at Audubon State Historic Site
- Cardinal Trail -- 1/2 mile
- Mason Trail -- 1/4 mile
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