Donaldsonville is named after landowner William Donaldson. In 1806 Donaldson commissioned architect and planner Barthelemy Lafon to plan a new town. This served briefly as the Louisiana capital (18301831) after New Orleans was deemed "too noisy". Although Donaldsonville is a small town, it has Many historic sites. Its museum, the River Road African American Museum, has been included on the state's African American Heritage Trail. It also has parks, shopping centers, and Civil War grounds.