Thursday, March 25, 2010

Houmas House Plantation

The Houmas House Plantation is one of my favorite plantations in southern Louisiana. All of you know how much I adore plantations and truly love the history they behold. Each plantation home has it's own characteristics that make it unique from the other. Nothing is more fabulous than to visit these Southern jewels. The craftmenship and the antiques! Why, my heart literally leaps from enthusiasm as I admire every small little detail. And if you can't seem to appreciate the history, antiques, or craftsmenship...well, perhaps a good haunting will strike your fancy. Of course being in Louisiana you couldn't have an old house without a good ghost story. Am I right?

So, before I begin the tour of this amazing historical home I want to share a little history. The property where this beautiful plantation sits was purchased in 1810 by General Wade Hampton. The name comes from the Houmas Indians that use to live on that land. General Hampton was a war hero during the Revoluntionary War. He began construction of the house but records show that the house wasn't completed until 1828. Sometime between 1810-1825 Hampton's daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Colonal John Preston, had taken ownership of the house.

The Houmas House sat on 300,000 acres. What does one do with so much property? You plant sugar cane. Did you know that Louisiana is one of the largest states in production of sugar cane? The state has over 7 sugar refineries plus nearly two dozen other sugar-related facilities. That's why Louisiana people are so sweet, ha, ha...

Right before the Houmas House was completed, an Irish man, John Burnside, purchased the home for $1 million dollars. Now we are talking about 1827. That's a lot of money for that time. He built up the sugar production until it was the largest sugar producer in the country (20 million pounds a day). During the Civil War the Union troops were going to burn it down. Remember, sugar was used to preserve foods (such as fruits). Mr. Burnside saved his sugar plantation by declaring immunity as a subject under the British Crown. If he hadn't, well, we would not be able to enjoy the history of the Houmas House today.

During the Great Depression, the Houmas Plantation nearly withered away. The sugar plantation closed, as most businesses crumbled in our country at that time. But Houmas still stood her ground waiting for a revival. And in 1940, Houmas was purchased by Dr. George Crozart. He bought it as a summer home away from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans. He spent a small fortune renovating it with Greek Revival style upgrades. Crown molding and ceiling medallions were place all through the house. I love Dr. Croszart's interior style. The house turned out to be gorgeous. So beautiful that many famous movie's and TV shows that were filmed there, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, starring Bette Davis. Longstreet TV series, Moon to the Wolf, Mandingo, A Closer Walk, Big Bob Johnson and his Fantastic Speed Circus, A Woman Called Moses, All My Children, Fletch Lives, Snow Wonder, K'ville, and Top Chef.

Now about that ghost. Story has it that a ghost of a young girl (age 7 to 10 years old) runs through the house. She has dark eyes, dark hair, and dark blue dress on. She has been seen more than once by employees & men working on the house. Nobody knows who the little girl is but they suspect she might be the daughter of Col. John Preston. His daughter died shortly after the family left for South Carolina. But around 1900, Col. William Porcher Miles, lost a daughter about 7 years of age from illness. She died at the Houmas House. Nobody knows for sure because the Great Flood of 1927 wiped out the levee's and washed away the graveyard. It remains a mystery.


Trish said...

What a fabulous plantation! I haven't been to Houma's House yet..although it is on my list! Love the creepy ghost story too ;) You never know, right?

Oh how I adored your engagement story in Paris, that was the sweetest thing ever. No wonder Paris has so many fabulous memories for you!

Speaking of plantations, Matt and I got engaged at Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, LA on the river. Have you been to that one? I should totally do a post on that :)

Your comments make my day! XOXOXO

Bella Michelle said...

You will love the book: Great House of the South (just heard about it in my Garden & Gun email) is a link to some of the photos:

midnight macaroons said...

Thanks Bella Michelle. I love Garden and Gun. It's my FAVORITE magazine!!! I can't wait to get my hands on that book.

Simply Me said...

new follower

Miss Janice said...

You know I just love Southern plantations and this one is awesome! Great story:)

Jill said...

Wow~ that is a gorgeous house! I can't imagine someone wanting to burn it. Thank goodness they didn't. I think ghost stories are so interesting & scary. :)

midnight macaroons said...

I love the Nottoway Plantation!!! Wow, what incredibly romantic destination to get engaged. Did y'all have dinner at the Mansion Restaurant? I love their Pecan Catfish. The food in Louisiana is sooo good. I gained nearly 20 lbs after I moved to New Orleans. I lost a lot of it when I lived in Austin but now I'm in Houston. Houston has all that fatty BBQ that I love. It's a never ending battle, LOL.