The Travel Brats are back at it again sharing the must see places around the world. Adventuring through Louisiana is a journey filled with charm, history, and beauty. Right outside of the infamous New Orleans borders is the historical hidden gem on the Mississippi, the Houmas House. Tune in to hear all about the Houmas House Home and Gardens and all the ins and outs of the property and its history.
Houmas House- A Historic Gem Hidden on the Mississippi
The first word that comes to mind when thinking about our stay at the Houmas House Home and Gardens is magical. From the elegant romantic suites to the grand dining room and the blooming gardens to the House itself, this property was something out of a fairytale, with a rich story behind it. Bout in 2003 by the owner, Kevin Kelly, Houmas House was turned into an oasis to escape the bustle of NOLA and take a trip back in time for a few days.
To add to the singular story of the house, years before the purchase, Mr. Kelly and a friend visited the Houmas House, which at that time was in disarray. They each tossed a coin into a fountain on the property made from a cane sugar drum and made a wish. Mr. Kelly wished for someone to come fix up the musty, damaged, and overgrown property. Years later, after much financial success, Kelly was looking for a plantation home to make his own but none were available at the time. Kelly gave up on his endeavor only for the Houmas House to go on the market shortly after. He seized the opportunity and began his journey to restore the Houmas House back to its historic glory. Although buying the property anonymously, he received a call from his friend congratulating him on his new purchase. Surprised, he inquired how his friend knew about the private transaction. At that point, his friend revealed his wish made years ago at the sugar drum fountain-that Kelly would be the one to purchase the Houmas House one day and restore it.
The Houmas House History
The House is spectacular from the inside out. Mr. Kelly has done a phenomenal job restoring the house to its original look, while also incorporating his own personal touches that add a tasteful elegance and intrigue to each room. From Winter to Summer, and Autumn to Spring, the Houmas House and Gardens are seasonally spectacular. Spring and Autumn are the favorite seasons to visit, however, visitors come from all over all year round to see this gorgeous home. With Mansion tours every 30 minutes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, gardens you can explore 24/7, four restaurants to dine in, and a museum rich with Louisiana history, you can keep occupied for hours. I recommend staying at least two full days to try the different restaurants, relax in the gardens and explore the museum.
Complete with swans, geese, butterflies, and even a peacock, the grounds surrounding the house are a true garden oasis. The extensive gardens are replete with blossoming flowers, trees, and plants of all kinds. From Japanese gardens to bushes shaped like dragonflies, lily ponds, and oak trees, the gardens are full of inspirational beauty. Some of my favorite additions to the gardens were the statues I saw such as a lion, a hanging cherub, and greek figures. The head gardener and his team have left no stone unturned, taking meticulous care of the current gardens while pursuing new visions for the grounds.
The three restaurants located at Houmas House are the Carriage House Restaurant, the Dixie Café, and Latil's Landing Restaurant. Be sure to order a drink at the Turtle Bar, housed in a building dating back to the 1700s, and ask about the Wine Cellars of the Houmas House. From the elegant ambiance of the Carriage House to the excellent southern breakfast buffet at Dixie Cafe, we enjoyed the seasonal menu and unique regional cocktails.
On the event side of things, the Houmas House is a spectacular wedding venue, with several picturesque locations on the property to pick from. A bride and groom can select any spot to wed, from in front of the house, to the amphitheater, or any spot in the gardens. There are special halls for the reception, special rooms for the bride and groom's parents, and Hollywood-like parlors for the bridesmaids to get ready in!
I was fascinated with the museum which tells the story of Louisiana exploring slavery, the Civil War, disease, industrial advances, and American patriotism. Walking through the museum takes you back in time and opens your eyes to the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of history, causing you to reflect on our country’s complex past. What impressed me the most is that Mr. Kelly has committed to upholding the true story of this historic home because he values the importance of history, and the multitude of lessons we learn from it. Despite pressure from opposers, he has committed to recounting the truth of the Houmas House and its neighboring plantation homes during the Civil War era.
With a rockstar staff, Houmas House was five stars when it came to customer service. From the young man who initially welcomed us and escorted us to our room, the tour guide for the house, the head landscaper of the gardens, as well as Mr. Kelly himself, every interaction with the warm and friendly Houmas House family made for a truly special stay.
For those who have avoided travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Houmas House proves a safe escape from your regular quarantine spot, because of its quaint and spaced-out property.