NAME: Longwood
COUNTY: East Baton Rouge Parish (not County)
CLIMATE: Mild, moderately wet winters; moderately hot, humid summers with almost daily afternoon convective showers.
COMMENTS: Current residents: Less than 10. Classic, old southern antebellum plantation home originally built in 1795, one of the oldest in the South. Longwood home and plantation buildings located along the Mississippi River levee at jct. of River Rd. (La. SR 327, in part) and Gardere Lane (La. Spur 327) just off Nicholson Drive (La. SR 30), ca. 8 miles south of downtown Baton Rouge, or ca. 5 miles south of LSU. Former plantation lands extended much farther east and north, but much has been sold and subdivided in recent years. Plantation home and other more modern homes are currently occupied by members of the Gianelloni family, descendents of Sabin Gianelloni who purchased the property in 1903. The mansion is barely visible from River Road and Gardere Lane behind high, thick hedges. A beautiful oak-shaded drive leads t the house, and a narrow, gravel road (Longwood Lane) leads between River Rd. and Nicholson Dr. This lane affords the visitor views of Longwood mansion as well as remnants of plantation village, including old slave cabins, store, barns and other buildings. This is private property and it is thus advisible to seek permission from the owners before exploring.
REMAINS: Longwood Plantation home (1795 + later additions), slave cabins, plantation store, barns, other buildings.
Formerly a Spanish land grant from King Carlos IV in 1770 to colonials Zacaria Norden and Juan Fitzpatrick, during the period that the British controlled the former Spanish West Florida, including Baton Rouge (1763-1814). Sold in 1794 to Madame Marianne Decoux who began building the original home in 1795, as well as a sugar house, hospital, corn mill, blacksmith shop, cabins and apartments. Like most large plantations, Longwood supported a plantation village or town of perhaps 50 to 100 people. Chief crops were sugar, later cotton, corn, and vegetables for plantation consumption. Crops were loaded onto river flatboats and later steamboats at the plantation dock on the Big River right in front of the plantation. It is said that during the ownership of Mme. Decoux, the property was first referred to the property as the "Decoux Plantation," the later "Long Bois" (French for "Longwood"). In 1827 the property was sold to the Rouzan family and the name "Longwood" was recorded on the deed. It was apparently during this period that "a building of 5 apartments" was somehow incorporated into the structure of the main Longwood house. In 1889 the property was purchased by Auguste Lefebre, who deeded title in ca. 1897 to his son-in-law, Sabin Gianelloni, an Italian immigrant from Corsica who worked his way up from clerking in a livery stable in the west bank town of Plaquemine. Gianelloni eventually bought the livery stable, then Longwood Plantation, then later (1903) he also bought the adjacent Burtville Plantation, another ghost town, (q.v.), just downriver. The Longwood mansion and other plantation buildings were moved back twice from the river, once in 1900 for levee construction, and again in 1928 when the US Army Corps of Engineers moved the levee back to within what was deemed to be "an unbearably close distance of 200 feet from the doorstep." The structures were jacked up, set onto cypress logs and rolled back from the river by mule teams. Submitted by: David B. Crider