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.
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!
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.
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!