Winter Quarters State Historic Site
Winter Quarters State Historic Site stands today as a rare survivor of the ravages of the Civil War. The large, airy structure is the only one of its kind along the banks of scenic Lake St. Joseph to remain as a reflection of Louisiana's Antebellum cotton plantation.
In 1805, Job Routh built a winter hunting lodge on a Spanish land grant located on the Mississippi River flood plain in what would become Tensas Parish. During the early 1830s, Routh's heirs added several more rooms and a gallery. Dr. Haller Nutt and his wife Julia (granddaughter of Job Routh) bought the property in 1850 and began the final phase of construction, which gives Winter Quarters Planatation is distinctive look. Surviving documents show that the plantation grew to over 2,000 acres, housed more than 300 slaves and included an extraordinary scope of operations including several cotton gins, a sawmill, barns, machine ships, a hospital, a smokehouse, boat docks, a milk house and various other supporting operations.
Dr. Nutt owned over 22 estates in his lifetime, including Winter Quarters Plantation and the famous Longwood Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi. His research led him to develop new methods of growing cotton, a new strain of cotton called "Egypto-Mexican" cotton, and a new design for a cotton press. He wrote many historically significant papers on cotton production and plantation life. A reprint of one of his writings, The Book of Receipts, Prescriptions, Useful Rules, etc., For Plantation and Other Purposes, is on site for visitors to read.
During the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant's powerful army marched south through Tensas Parish. The Union soldiers enthusiastically carried out General William Tecumseh Sherman's orders to destroy everything not needed by the Union troops. Fifteen plantation homes lined the banks of Lake St. Joseph before the Union troops came to Tensas Parish. After they left, Winter Quarters was the only plantation left standing. The Nutt family was in Natchez at the time; however, the overseer at Winter Quarters obtained letters of protection from two advance officers of this army, General McPherson and General Smith.
Today, Winter Quarters houses the mementos of an era long gone. In addition to period furnishings, copies of diaries and other personal records provide an invaluable link to the Antebellum period. Also included are displays dedicated to Dr. Nutt's contributions in the fields of medicine and agriculture. One of the most significant items of furniture on display at Winter Quarters is a rare and perfectly preserved billiard table made circa 1845 by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company.
In 1978, Winter Quarters State Historic Site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lake Bruin State Park (East of US 165 near St.Joseph) - This delightful state park features a magnificent cypress grove along the shore of the 3,500-acre Lake Bruin. Fifty improved campsites located on the water's edge, three large fishing piers, a boat launch and rental boats are popular features. A swimming beach, covered picnic pavilion,picnic facilities and playground appeal to every age.
Historic St. Joseph, La. - Take the walking tour of St. Joseph to see a number of Victorian homes and buildings. The downtown area is home of a variety of antique shops, gift shops, the interesting St. Joseph Museum, library and restaurants.
Town of Newellton - The town of Newellton is located in the midst of Tensas Indian Mounds. It is also home of Lake St. Joseph and Yucatan Lake, that is well known for its good fishing and duck hunting. For more information, call the Newellton Chamber of Commerce at 318-467-5050.
Tensas National Wildlife Refuge (Off I-20 via US 65 [Tallulah Exit]or off I-20 via LA577 [Waverly Exit]) - This refuge encompasses 57,000 acres of bottomland forest. Hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, canoeing, interpreted trails, a boardwalk and educational programs abound. A Visitor Center contains brochures, exhibits, species lists and regulations.
Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area (Access by road off LA 4 and 128 in Tensas parish,14 miles northwest of St. Joseph) - With over 8,955 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, this wildlife area provides numerous outdoor opportunities including hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.
Poverty Point Reservoir State Park (3 miles north of Delhi/I-20 on LA 17) – A marina and beach area, along with a fully-stocked man-made lake, makes this an ideal spot for a variety of watersport activities. The site also offers 4 lodges for overnight visitors.
Poverty Point State Historic Site (East of Monroe and north of I-20 on LA 577 northeast of Epps) - The site is considered one of the most significant archaeological finds in the country. It has a complex of Native American ceremonial mounds built between 1700 and 700 B.C. A museum and guided tours interpret a culture that once flourished on the site.