Northup Trail

Length: 83 miles

Time to Allow: 2 Days

List View / Map View

Red River Landing
101 Murray St., Alexandria
Restored Epps House
Lamourie Lane
8832 S 71 S., Alexandria
Historic Cheneyville / Trinity Episcopal Church
1077 Bayou Rd, Cheneyville
Live Oak Plantation
11896 US 71 S
Bayou Boeuf
2274 Hwy 71, Bunkie
First Bowie Knife
801 Hwy 1177, Bunkie
Sue Eakin / Bunkie Record
110 NW Hwy 71, Bunkie
276 Oil Field Rd, Bunkie
Fogleman Cemetery
Edwin Epps Plantation Site
Carl Hunt Rd, Bunkie
Hillcrest Plantation
20336 J.B. Road, Bunkie
Lone Pine Plantation
399 Hwy 361, Evergreen
Dr. Jules C. DesFosse' Home
1805 L'Eglise Street, Mansura
St. Paul Cemetery
197 Hwy 107, Mansura
Edwards Plantation
408 S. Main, Marksville
Waddill Law Office Site
243 N Main, Marksville
Marksville Post Office Site
105 N. Main, Marksville
Avoyelles Parish Courthouse
312 N. Main, Marksville
Judge Cushman Office
428 N. Washington, Marksville
Ludger Barbin Landing
Hypolite Bordelon House


Northup Trail

A victim of kidnapping, Solomon Northup spent twelve years in Rapides and Avoyelles Parishes, Louisiana enslaved on plantations. His abductors lured him from his home in Glen Falls, New York with the promise of work playing his violin in a traveling circus. They then drugged him and sold him at a Washington, D.C. slave auction to traders in New Orleans who sold him to a plantation owner in central Louisiana.

While building a house for his third master, Edwin Epps, Northup met Samuel Bass, a Canadian carpenter. Bass mailed a letter for Northup that alerted his friends and family of his whereabouts. Unlike most of the thousands of other free blacks that suffered the fate of kidnapping, Northup regained his freedom in a Marksville courthouse using the 1840 New York anti-kidnapping law, one of a larger group of statutes known as personal liberty laws.

Once back in New York, Northup worked with ghost writer David Wilson to publish his story, and Twelve Years a Slave, 1841-1853 became a widely read slave narrative found in newspapers' best seller's lists. In time, Northup faded into obscurity, but in 1968 Dr. Sue Eakin and Dr. Joseph Logsdon resurrected the narrative adding footnotes documenting Northup's life in the northernmost corner of Acadiana. Following the edited version, Eakin published The Solomon Northup Trail through Central Louisiana guide in 1985.

This trail included sites remembered by Northup in his narrative and substantiated by Eakin's research. Of the numerous people and places mentioned by Northup, Acadiana Historical highlights those places at which he labored for a significant amount of time or figured otherwise prominently in his published account. Because the people of south Rapides Parish were so intertwined with those of northern Avoyelles, sites outside of Acadiana are included. Northup named and described many of the enslaved he lived among as did conveyance records in the Avoyelles Courthouse, however, tracing the trail, little evidence of their arduous and impressive existence along the bayous is found. With new research and Acadiana Historical, Solomon Northup and his fellow slaves are remembered.

Download the PDF to have a map, all the points of interest and itinerary ideas for the Northup Trail Byway.

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Image and Video

  • Gateway Cabin
    Epps House: Solomon Northup's Gateway to Freedom Museum, LSUA: The landscaping of the museum highlights southern plants such as live oaks and a gravel pathway that would have been typical of of the period during which the house was built. Image courtesy of Meredith Melancon, December 2013.
  • William Price Ford
    William Prince Ford: Date and location are unknown. Image courtesy of Sue Eakin Papers, Central Louisiana Collections, James C. Bolton Library, LSUA.
  • Woodworth Fish
    Woodworth Fish Hatcherie: The present site of the Woodworth Fish Hatcherie, operated by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, was the location on Indian Creek that William Prince Ford and his partner, William Ramsey, owned forty acres and a ran a small lumber mill. Image courtesy of Meredith Melancon, December 2013.
  • Waverly Plantation
    Waverly Plantation, ca. 1940s: Waverly Plantation house can be seen in the background. The dog trot that ran through the center of the home is visible. It is unclear what year the home was built, but Ralph Smith Smith and his family fled to the home during the Union occupation of Alexandria. The home was torn down in 1946 and a new home constructed using the wood from the former was built in 1948 by Frank and Daisy Linzay. The home is now privately owned by their daughter-in-law, Juliette DeWitt Linzay. Image courtesy of Juliette DeWitt Linzay.