NEW ORLEANS -- Tourists from all over journey 40 miles upriver from New Orleans to visit the San Francisco Plantation.
The mansion that was built in 1855 has been restored with antique furnishings to reflect the pre-Civil War era. There are lessons about history, including the roles of African Americans here.
"1830 and 1850, there were more slaves owned by people of color in the state of Louisiana than were owned by white people," said tour leader Catherine Stephens. "It was what people did."
Climb several sets of stairs through the attic to the top of the house, which is known as the Widow's Walk.
"They used to come watch the boats come in," said maintenance manager Danny Duhe. "Remember, we had paddlewheelers and all too."
Maintenance Manager Danny Duhe is now replacing rotted wood in the Widow's Walk railings, a $50,000 job. But there are cracks and water stains in the walls of the house. Paint is peeling in many places, even from the priceless antique murals on the walls and ceilings.
"Every day, you know you worry about the um, it's just so much maintenance that your day is filled with maintenance," worried General Manager Kim Fontenot.
This is Danny's next project. Parts of the original cypress wood flooring on the front gallery need to be replaced. Some areas sag deeply if stepped on.
"This is where all the water comes," said Danny. "This is where it all runs off."
Fontenot, who said they have "not nearly enough" to even start on the project, said the project will cost over $200,000.
So how are they going to pay for all the work? Well, you can help. See those tents back there? They're being set up for Frisco Festival, San Francisco PLantation's biggest fundraiser of the year, on March 10 and 11, and they promise you'll have a great time.
"You can come out with your family, and you can go to all the crafters," said Aspen Steib of festival sponsor Marathon Oil. "There's about a hundred and something crafters. Also they have a full bar, so if you're into that, you can go and do that kind of stuff. Then there's also the kids play area."
For more information call San Francisco Plantation toll free at 1-888-322-1756, or visit their website at sanfranciscoplantation.org.