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Also known as The Sugar Palace, Houmas House has reclaimed its position as Crown Jewel of Louisiana's River Road through the vision and determination of Kevin Kelly, who fulfilled a lifelong dream by acquiring the property in the Spring of 2003. Today, the mansion reflects the best parts of each period in its rich history alongside the big bend in the Mississippi River.
The first owners of the plantation were the indigenous Houmas Indians, who were given a land grant to occupy the fertile plain between the Mississippi and Lake Maurepas.
The Houmas sold the land to Maurice Conway and Alexander Latil in the mid 1700's.
The original French Provincial house that Latil erected on the property is situated directly behind the Mansion, adjoined by a carriageway to the grand home described during its antebellum heyday as "The Sugar Palace." The original home was later used as living quarters for the staff.
The Gardens of Houmas House Plantation have been developed as a lush 38-acre panorama of indigenous Louisiana plant life and stunning exotics designed to beckon visitors to extend their stay. Like the statues of the four seasons patiently await the arrival of each solstice and equinox along the River Road, the Gardens are planned to reflect the unique beauty of each part of the year. Many sitting areas have been provided around the property to invite guests to sit and experience the year-round grandeur of the ancient oak alley, the fragrance of spring and summer blooms and the sights and sounds of bird life, wildlife and plantation life of long ago.
From Acadiana's epoch of Evangeline to the myriad tales of haunted habitats in New Orleans' French Quarter, South Louisiana has a rich heritage - and active interest - in the plausibility of wandering souls from beyond the grave. In these parts, ghost stories abound, mostly the sort told around campfires to adolescent audiences for pure entertainment. But actual sightings by reasonable, mature adults evoke a different reaction. Ghost hunter Fiona Broome describes two very vivid ghosts at Houmas House Plantation. To read more about the Ghosts at Houmas House, click here.
Latil's is located in the French House, built in the 1770's by Alexander Latil, and now the rear wing of the Houmas House Mansion. Dinner reservations are required and can be made by calling (225) 473-9380 or (888) 323-8314. Private Dining Rooms are available as well. Click Here to preview the dinner menu. Each evening Chef Jeremy Langlois creates a seven course menu of the moment, from inspiration and the markets offerings. Click Here to view a typical menu. Make sure you leave room for what some consider the most important part of a meal, dessert! Click Here to view the dessert menu.
Wednesday - Saturday: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday: 2 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Cafe' Burnside is a place where one can take a break from their hectic day and enjoy a casual lunch. The menu is diverse and ranges from a grand healthy salad, to a fried oyster po-boy, to a filet mignon, done just perfect! Click Here to view the delicious menu.
Sunday - Saturday: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Visitors to Houmas House are considered guests, not tourists, and the experience is like visiting a friend's home. Specially trained tour guides are always more than happy to answer questions or engage requests for more information.
Monday - Tuesday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wednesday - Sunday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Mansion & Gardens Tour -$20.00
Gardens and Grounds Only - $10.00
Upon its completion in 1840, Houmas House was the Crown Jewel of Louisiana's River Road. The first owners of the Houmas plantation were the indigenous Houmas Indians, who were given a land grant to occupy the fertile plain between the Mississippi and Lake Maurepas to the north. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the plantation was established and producing sugar.
In 1810, Revolutionary War hero Gen. Wade Hampton of Virginia purchased the property and shortly thereafter began construction on the Mansion. However, it was not until 1825 when Hampton's daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Col. John Preston, took over the property that the grand house truly began to take shape. Construction on the Mansion was completed in 1828.
Irishman John Burnside bought the plantation in 1857 for $1 million. A businessman and a character, Burnside increased production of sugar until Houmas House was the largest producer in the country, actively working the crop on 98,000 acres.
In 1927, the Mississippi came out of its banks in the epic "great flood." While Houmas House was spared, the surrounding areas were inundated. The ensuing economic havoc was but a prelude to the devastation of the Great Depression just two years later. Houmas House Plantation withered away. The Mansion closed and fell into disrepair, a condition in which it remained until 1940 when Dr. George B. Crozat purchased it.