Cedar Grove Plantation was built in 1790 just before the Louisiana Purchase. On the outskirts of New Orleans, it quickly became one of the largest producers of sugar cane and rice. The Drouet Family was the original builders and owners of Cedar Grove. It was named after the bundle of cedar trees that were gathered in the front yard. Today, only one of the original trees remain at the plantation. In the 1800’s Edouard Drouet allowed the railroad a right of way through the property. Then, for one dollar, he sold the railroad the rights to build a train station on his property. The station, called Waggaman, no longer stands. It was named after the United States Senator George Waggaman. With no levy protecting it, Cedar Grove was moved off of the river four times. The last time it was moved, the bottom floor was taken off. It then went from being a grand plantation to a farm house. The plantation remained in the family until 1948 at which time it was sold to a private owner.
In the early 1950’s, a madam named Norma Wallace was pushed out of downtown New Orleans. She “set up shop” in Waggaman at Cedar Grove Plantation. In 1963, she went to jail for her “dating services”. In 1964, she wanted to become an ”honest” woman. Therefore, she opened a steak house at the plantation. Feeling that the name Cedar Grove was boring, she named it Tchoupitoulas Plantation Restaurant. She actually “stole” this name from the plantation across the river now called Colonial Country Club. Today, both names Cedar Grove and Tchoupitoulas are used to represent all of the plantation’s 225 years of history.
In the early 1970’s the house was sold as a restaurant to the Gennero Family. It maintained the fame brought by its original owner. The restaurant was very high end and had many famous patrons. The best stories of this era, however, came from the people in the surrounding areas of New Orleans. When an important event was planned that needed a very special venue, Tchoupitoulas Restaurant housed in Cedar Grove, was the place to go. Engagements, anniversaries, weddings, and parties were celebrated in this grand building. In 1993, the family wanted to move on to other ventures. So, the restaurant was closed.
In 1996, the house was bought on auction by a doctor and her husband. They were thrilled to be the owners of the oldest building in Jefferson Parish. Their intention was to restore the house so that they could live in it. However, after a few years, they realized that a plantation in Alabama was more to their liking. So, once again, the house sat empty waiting for a new family
In August of 2006, Joey and Jill Mercer purchased the plantation. They brought 25 years of experience in wedding and events. Their intention was to host small events. The renovations, however, were intense. From the plumbing to the roof, they encountered every 200 year old problem that one could imagine. In time, they realized that the beloved CGT Plantation was meant to be shared with groups of all sizes. So, after researching historical homes, they added a ballroom, buffet room, and chapel.
Today, the plantation hosts weddings, parties, and special events. The families that have events here are making history that will be read about many years from now.
The plantation encourages its families to: “Become part of our family history as we become part of yours!”