The Laurel Valley Plantation Photographs of Philip M. Denman

Showcasing the nearly 40-year photographic coverage of Laurel Valley Plantation in Thibodaux, Louisiana by Philip Marin Denman. The journey began in 1978 documenting the more than 100 buildings dating from the 1830s—ca. 1900. For three consecutive summers, Denman photographed the plantation, showing the slow decay. He returned in 2005 to record the condition of the plantation 27 years later, and again in 2017 to photograph the 55 or so remaining structures.

The striking b/w images are enhanced by a small number of color prints from Denman’s 2005 visit to Laurel Valley, which help bring to life the unpainted rough wood buildings and rusted roofs against the bright blue Louisiana sky.

The exhibit includes Denman’s capture of life in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the late-1960s to early-1970s, and his images of the remains of Seven Oaks Plantation in Westwego, Louisiana.

Thanks to Germaine Butler of the St. Tammany Parish Library, Artistic Framing Plus, AI Glass, Robert Moldaner, and Althea Topek for creating the digital version of the exhibit. Special thanks to John H. Stubbs, Director of the Master of Preservation Studies Program/Christovich Professor of Preservation Practice, Tulane School of Architecture, for writing the exhibit foreword.

Generous support provided by the SEAA Gifts Fund and the Marjorie Peirce Geiser and John Geiser, Jr. Fund of the Southeastern Architectural Archive.

Credits

Exhibit curated by Kevin Williams. Digital exhibit created by Althea Topek.