Haunted Louisiana: Houmas House

I’m so proud to be from, and live in Louisiana. Some things I love about my state is the preservation of history and the gentility of the South. One place that is preserving the history of my state is Houmas House. It is a River Road Plantation that was purchased a few years ago by Kevin Kelly, a true southern gentleman. He took this old grande damme and gave her a facelift and love and turned her back into the great beauty she once was.

Houmas House is the site of numerous films including Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, Fletch Lives, and television shows like All My Children and K’Ville. It is also reportedly haunted by a few ghosts of days gone by.

I like to start each visit to Houmas House with a stop at the Turtle Bar for either a mimosa or a mint julep. The Turtle Bar is located in a garconniere, which in Antebellum days housed the single males of the household. It was a place for cards and raucousness, so it is fitting that this historical building is now a cozy place to sip libations.

Garconierre Tavern at Houmas House Plantation in Darrow, LA

Garconierre Tavern at Houmas House Plantation in Darrow, LA

Resident chef, Jeremy Langlois, creates Nouveaux Creole dishes that are “to die for”. On my last visit, Chef Jeremy prepared a multi-course meal consisting of Bisque of Curried Pumpkin, Crawfish, and Corn, a Cosmopolitan Sorbet, a Community Coffee marinated rack of lamb served on top of potatoes, and dessert of Apple Gallette topped with Vanilla Ice Cream. Mmmm!

Bisque of Curried Pumpkin, Crawfish and Corn

Bisque of Curried Pumpkin, Crawfish and Corn

Rack of Lamb in topped with a Community Coffee based sauce served with Lobster Risotto

Rack of Lamb in topped with a Community Coffee based sauce served with Lobster Risotto

An after lunch stroll through the gardens and walkways is a nice prelude to the tour of the house itself. I could imagine myself living in grandeur once upon a time. It’s a good thing I keep my bookshelves stocked with romance novels. I can see Houmas House as the setting for a few of them.

Did I mention that Houmas House is haunted? Mr. Kelly’s canine companion noticed that there were other guests at our meal during my visit. Guests have also glimpsed a tall black man at the front gates, waiting to open them for visitors, but he disappeards when someone walks too close to the area. Another ghostly inhabitant is the young daughter of a former owner who suffered an illness and died in the home. She can be seen frequenting the attic staircase.

Front Gate of Houmas House Plantation where the ghost of a slave man waits to open the grounds for visitors.

Front Gate of Houmas House Plantation where the ghost of a slave man waits to open the grounds for visitors.

The attic stairwell at Houmas House is frequented by a former resident, a young girl who died during an illness.

The attic stairwell at Houmas House is frequented by a former resident, a young girl who died during an illness. (edited image)

Disclaimer for the sake of transparency: I will show up to Houmas House and eat Jeremy Langlois’ cooking anytime, be it a hosted meal or paid out of my pocket. Biased over a good meal? Heck yeah!

Comments

  1. says

    HI MHA – I’ll just bet that if you email or call and ask for the recipe, you just might get it, or at least the marinade part of it!

    Keith and Barbara – More hauntings on the way!

    Heather – This was the first time I’ve experienced coffee being used in a culinary dish, at least the first time that it has stuck in my memory. It was delicious and didn’t tasted of coffee at all. It just enhanced the flavor of the meat.

  2. says

    My husband and I toured Houmas House on 11/22/09 and while in the bedroom in which Bette Davis stayed I took a picture of the fireplace and the mirror that hangs above it. Later on I zoomed in on it as I thought a face was partially manifesting on the upper portion of the mirror. I determined this to be a stain and as I was disappointedly zooming back out I noticed the reflection of the back of a man’s head, neck, and shoulder in the lower left-hand corner of the mirror. There was no such man in our tour group of 4 and our guide was not dressed in that manner. The man in the mirror is in what appears to be stately period dress. Our guide had a straw hat on and vest. The man in the mirror has no hat and appears to be wearing a shirt with a white collar and a black suit!

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