Skip to main content

Philip M. Denman Photograph Collection

Identifier: SEAA-017

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of photographic series taken by Philip M. Denman, dating from 1969-2017. Supplementary information (1978-2017) includes biographical and historical documentation relevant to the photographer and the sites he photographed.

One group pertains to the historic plantations Laurel Valley and Seven Oaks. The majority document Laurel Valley Plantation, located along Bayou Lafourche in Thibodaux, Louisiana. These photographs show the complex as it existed between 1978 and 1980. A smaller body of photographs record extant plantation structures as of 2005, and a group from 2017 show the plantation at its most recent. A smaller set of images chronicle Seven Oaks/Zeringue Plantation, located in Westwego, Louisiana, before its 1977 demolition. For both plantations, Denman also gathered historical information regarding building typologies and land ownership.

A second series highlights New Orleans, Louisiana. Dating from 1969-1973, these photographs record historic landmarks, such as St. Louis Cathedral, the Beauregard-Keyes House, and Canal Street. Additional photographs reveal French Market produce, nocturnal activities on Bourbon Street, and local life. Some of these images were reprinted for a 2011 New Orleans Photo Alliance exhibit held at 2600 Gravier Street.


  • 1969-2017


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is the physical property of Tulane University Special Collections. Copyright belongs to the creators or their legal heirs and assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or owner’s heir for permission to publish where Tulane University Special Collections does not hold the copyright. For further information, please contact Research Services at

Biographical / Historical

Photographer Philip Marin Denman was born in New Orleans. He established a friendship with Clarence John Laughlin (1905-1985) following his graduation from Southeastern Louisiana College (B.A. 1969). This led to his participation in various Laughlin projects and his inclusion in the 1989 New Orleans Museum of Art exhibition, Exchanges in Imagination. In 1978, Denman began photographing Laurel Valley Sugar Plantation, located along Bayou Lafourche in Thibodaux, Louisiana. For three consecutive summers, he took photographs of the extant plantation structures. Nicholls State University professor Paul Leslie provided a map and historical narratives regarding the complex. In 2005, Denman returned to Laurel Valley Plantation to photograph extant structures, and in 2017, he returned again to document the state of preservation and photographed the remaining family cottages and slave shotgun houses. Most remained, but were in decay.


2.58 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into two series: Series 1: Laurel Valley Plantation Photographs; Series 2: Seven Oaks Plantation and Louisiana Photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Records were given by Philip Denman in 2016. Additional prints were given in 2017, along with original negatives and scans.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US